100-Mile Road Ride!

Mike Snelson has been organizing road rides twice a month since March, with anywhere from 2 to 12 participating each time. On Saturday, September 18, 2021, our road ride series culminated with a 100-mile ride. (Strava links here and here.) There were only just the two of us, but it was a blast. Here is my report that I shared on Facebook:

Today I rode farther on my bike than I’ve ever ridden before: 100 miles. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for several years and training for (kind of) the past several months. It’s definitely not something you can just get off your couch and do–it took time and dedication and it took some encouraging friends to get it done.

There were just two of us on the ride today, Michael Snelson and I, with Mike’s sweet wife driving support for us. We started out in a light drizzle that quickly cleared up and made good time down through Mapleton, Spanish Fork, Woodland Hills, Elk Ridge, and Payson. I was feeling strong on the climbs and was quite optimistic as we headed toward Santaquin. Then it started raining. We rode through it for a bit but it kept coming, forcing us under a gas station awning for shelter for a few minutes. It lightened and we continued on to Rowley’s Red Barn on the south side of town, about 36 miles into our ride. By the time we got there it was raining hard again and we took shelter inside to warm up a bit (unfortunately their hot chocolate machine was off). When we went back outside it was still raining hard and was windy, so we decided to drive to our designated brunch stop in Mona. But after only 4-5 miles driving the rain stopped, so we got out, started a new Strava trip, and biked into Mona.

I had never been to Gaydean’s Sweet Art Bakery, and my goodness was that a treat. Downhome cooking for reasonable prices–a giant cinnamon roll and a mango smoothie filled me up with energy for the remaining 57 miles or so. We tore around Mona Reservoir with a nice tailwind and down Goshen Canyon. No one hit us on the dangerous Hwy-6, so that was a blessing. Then it was around West Mountain, which was a really nice part of the ride–perfect temperatures, hardly any wind, hardly any cars, beautiful views.

Mike looks happy, I look worried as we encounter some skulls between Mona and Goshen Canyon

After turning past Lincoln Beach we hit the full force of a headwind and man, those miles into Benjamin and then to the freeway were slow and painful. Average speed went from around 17 to around 13 really quickly. We made it to Springville but needed to make up some mileage for what we skipped earlier, so we zig-zagged around town a bit. Then, with about 4 miles left, the lightning struck, the thunder cracked, and we rode through a torrential downpour almost all the rest of the way home. It was actually pretty fun, crossing clogged gutters like they were streams and smelling the sweat soak out of our drenched clothes. If anything the rain was invigorating.

So there was my ride. It was long, difficult, painful, fun, and rewarding, all in one. Unfortunately, while we rode, a good friend and fellow biker lay in the hospital, suffering from an actue case of Covid-19. My heart bleeds for Jaime Brimhall and his dear family. He is one of the most amazing people I know–kind, generous, and loving to all around him. My ride is dedicated to him.

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