We really had it all today--a 75 mile ride that took us over the Wasatch Mountains (to an altitude of 7447 feet) then down through beautiful Price Canyon, into the wide valley that separates the Wasatch mountains from the more eastern branch of the Rockies through which we'll travel this coming week.
Leaving Provo, we started a gentle climb until we reached the valley through which we would ascend (more steeply as we progressed) for the next 35 miles or so. The headwinds were unbeleivable. I had some problems with my rear tire (we ultimately changed the inner tube, which seemed to help), and after my riding friends had waited for me several times, I asked them to go ahead. After Gerard, our mechanic, worked on the bike I started after the other riders. Fortunately, Andy and Michelle (our ride leaders) rode by at this point, and I was able to tuck in behind Andy as we road into the strong headwinds. I stayed as close to his wheel as I could, and was breathing very hard just to keep up with him (he was probably doing 30% more work than I was!).
It took alot of energy to deal with my mechanical problem, than catch the group, even with Andy's help. I felt tired most of the day, but don't worry--past experience has shown that when I'm tired, it's best to slow down and take it relatively easy. By doing so, I actually felt better as the long day progressed. And I owe a special "Thank you" to Andrew and Tim, who road with me during the long climb over the mountain.
The descent through the canyon was fantastic, with gorgeous (yes, I chose that word with "gorge" in mind!) views, as seen above. Rock formations of all shapes and sizes surrounded us. The area through which we passed was the "haunting ground" of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. We even saw a photo of the Kid, pictured with the grandfather of the proprietor of a roadside "country store"!
Tomorrow, should be a gentler ride, before we start ascending into Colorado. A group of 17 of us (chosen by lottery) will be going to Arches National Park tomorrow afternoon. Folks who didn't get chosen will be able to visit another national park in Colorado. More about "Arches" after we visit tomorrow.
After dinner about a dozen riders got a ride to the local Walmart in Price, Utah, where we're staying. It was funny seeing people looking for "saddle creams", pain relievers, suntan lotion and other rider necessities. And we all have the funniest tan lines!