Clark, my room-mate, was up at 5am and out of the room half an hour later. I managed to mutter something resembling a goodbye and then resumed the comfortable fetal position and dreamed some more. I woke at 9:30 and had a shower before dragging my stuff to the common area.
After the last minute decision to switch routes, I now had to cobble together some sort of action plan. Having read this cyclists website I figured it was more than possible to go a more direct route, albeit through a hotter part of the desert. This next stint will require early mornings to avoid the worst of the heat.
As I dragged my bike from the back of the hostel I noticed something that has been all too familiar recently. Another puncture. Arse, tits and drat. I repaired the puncture outside whilst sipping on some suds left over from the night before. I couldn’t for the life of me find the offending object. I flicked at what I thought was a tiny stone, but it didn’t budge. Utilising the Swiss Army Knife I tweezed out a thorn, goddamnit. It was obviously just long enough to pierce the inner tube, but at least it’s out now.
I left at 12 and had a couple of possible destinations in mind. Either Elberta 60 miles south or Eureka, 10 miles west. The first port of call was something to eat and I opted for the chicken which was on the menu. 10 Chicken McNuggets – I didn’t trust any of the Mexican restaurants in the vicinity.
The first section of the ride was on the Jordan River Trail and I followed it better than expected for the first 5 miles. All of the rivers I have encountered since the Mississippi have been close to bursting their banks or in some places already overflowing. I was now subject to this force of nature as my path was blocked by over a foot of water. This meant I couldn’t walk my bike through it either as my bags would get wet.
Fortunately a couple of other riders came up behind me and told me how to detour around it. I had to go up to the main road – Redwood Rd – and come back down onto the trail. Looking at my directions I could see that I was going to end on this road anyway so I cut out 5 miles of trails and took up the road with the rest of the cars. If one place of the trail was flooded it was more than likely that other places were to so it just wasn’t worth bothering with.
Not long after I joined the road I got passed by a female road racer. I caught up with her at the lights and asked her how far she was going. 25 miles in my direction. Sweet, I’ve not ridden with another cyclist for a while so I was happy! Jenny kicked my butt for that 25 miles. I’m pretty sure she had slowed down a little for me, but the pace was a little quicker than my usual saunter. I was actually glad of it because we made good time. Jenny went back around Utah Lake and I nipped to use the WiFi to check on my route and to fill my water bottles.
I’m really glad I chose this route because out of the city, the scenery is even more stunning. Snow topped mountains to the left, melted snow topped mountains to the right and a bright blue lake in the middle. Definitely up there with one of the most scenic rides I’ve done.
The next 5 miles felt like I was in a race. There were a bunch of teenagers strung out over a mile all on bikes, being lead by what seemed to be a competant bike rider. Since my muscles were rested slightly after my break I made mince meat of the tail enders. It took slightly longer to catch the rest of the pack but I outmanoeuvered them, caught them napping and passed them one of the bends on the windy road.
They were soon out of my rear view and I got back to concentrating on the last 30 miles or so of todays ride. The air was still, the road was predominantly flat and I enjoyed watching the mile markers going down quicker than usual. I was averaging 16mph and soon approached the minute town of Elberta.
It was 19:30 and I decided to have a quick scout out for any possible camping options. If I couldn’t find any I’d churn another 10 miles out and head west. To my surprise I found a state park which had a shelter, water, electricity and WiFi from somewhere – albeit intermittent. It wasn’t long before the screaming kids vacated and I was able to pitch my tent and do some blogging. Hoping to be up at 4am in the morning so was in bed for 22:00. Here’s hoping my new morning ritual kicks in.