Wednesday, July 29: Woke up this morning feeling like yesterday I’d taken a job as a tackling dummy. My legs are pretty lethargic from the never-ending 4K of climbing for those first 8 miles of climbing on FR102, and then my upper body - hands, arms, shoulders, traps, and lats - feel as though I’d just done a resistance workout….for the first time in 20 years, this the result of 18 miles of some pretty wild descending.  I did some math on that climb yesterday, and roughly speaking it worked out to average of 9.5% grade for the first 8 miles, and 7.5% for the second 2 miles. Now there were some mellower sections, and certainly at the switchbacks there were some higher grade sections. But man, on gravel it’s just magnified by 2 or 3 yet again because you have to pick the cleanest line you can find  through all the loose gravel and cobbles. 

With that said, getting up this morning was a toughie. Rolled out of bed at 5:15, hobbled over to the coffee maker like a 90-year-old granddaddy and got the go-juice going. Once the coffee was made I got Judy her cup and then I just parked my ass in a sitting position on the bed, with the pillows against the headboard, where I vegged out in front of the TV watching the local Salt Lake City news. I just didn’t want to move! Felt so good to sit there sipping hot java for a half hour of doing absolutely nothing. 

Have to say I could have played hooky from the bike today and not felt a bit guilty, but with today, tomorrow and Friday as my last ride days for American Dirt this summer, I just absolutely had to get my ass out there and get further along such that I could make next summer’s American Dirt at least one, two, three days easier. So we did breakfast at this little place next to the hotel, and then Judy drove me back to yesterday’s end, at the point on E. Canyon Rd where the gravel ends and the pavement begins. 

My plan today was to have Judy follow me for a good part of today’s ride, so I wouldn’t have to take a full backpack as I’ve usually been doing. Just that alone would make my life so much easier. So I got going on the berm of E. Canyon, and the first 1.5 miles was just a crapfest of this 3-5 inch thick loose gravel that was angled down slope into a ditch. After descending through the loose stuff yesterday, doing this again, in stuff that’s even smaller, it was like riding in sand. Made it through that and then once I began to get closer to Filmore a really nice, wide berm opened up and the riding was a breeze. Went into town, took a R, north on 100W and rode this 30 foot wide berm to it’s end. Funny, but I’m finding that these small towns have this massive gravel berm, I think for parking cars, on both sides of the road going right through the town. Love it! At that point I just had Judy drive off up to the exit 167 along I-15 where I wanted to end up.

Now despite the fact that I’ve kind of mapped most of this out for a route itinerary, there are sections like today, down there where 100W comes to an end in the middle of Filmore, that I kind of have to wing it with. Out west here, there are times where if you have to bridge a mile or two to someplace, hell, you can just ride through the desert. So I was expecting to add-lib this part up to that exit 167 where I could pick up a gravel Frontage road. So anyway, I saw this little singltrack right where 100W deadened, and I Xed a small creek and jumped on that. It took me to a golf course, where I just began riding the gravel paths out towards I-15. Then, at the northern edge of the GC, I found a gravel road that went under I-15, followed that for a mile, then when I saw the top of exit 167, I took this access farm path into some wheat fields and rode/hike-a-bike all the way to the Texaco station at the top of the exit where Judy was waiting. Had to hop a barbed wire fence and I was done, I was in this gravel parking lot. 

My next project was breaking into my van because Judy had locked the keys in the van….and in the van was my riding backpack that contained the spare set of keys! Ooooops. Not going to say exactly how I did it, and thank God the van’s alarm system was not on, but I was able to do it with my plastic bike fender. Next up I got on the Frontage Rd and took this gravel road right along I-15 north to Holden. Exited Holden on Rt 50 berm and rode that through town - about 4 blocks in size - again, on this great berm that was about 30 feet wide on both sides of the road. Took that to the Rt 50 split, and right at the Rt 50 west part of the split is this great gravel road called Whiskey Creek Rd/1900E. Went R, northwest on that and rode this pup almost all the way to Delta, UT at the junction of Rt 50 west and 8-Mile Rd (Whiskey Creek changes name to 8-Mile). 

That was a nice long stretch where I could just let that bike “sing” for a change instead of grunt. Ended up with 43 miles for the day. Now I cut it a bit short today because I promised Judy we’d do something together today. Believe it or not….and most of you who know me are going to say I’m BS’ing you all…last night she asked me to play golf with her today at this little course next to the Best Western in Filmore. We’ve had a bet for over twenty years that I claim I can beat here with just a 3-iron while she could use the whole set of clubs. She called that bet in last night. And shoot, we’re almost done with this trip, and my debt list to her by this point could fill a freaking Black Hole, so I agreed I’d do it. Yup, I’d just ride for 4 hrs, we’d come back to Filmore and I play a round of golf with her. Hell, for the hotel people golf on that course was just 10 bucks apiece with clubs. So that was the plan. 

So we come back here to Filmore and Judy’s complaining all the way back to the hotel that her back is really sore, like so sore she was scared to play the golf for fear of throwing her back out (happens several times a year to her). Ok…no golf (and NO, she’s not dodging me). So here we are back at the Best Western, with Judy in the swimming pool area reading her book and resting her back, and me doing the blog in the hotel room. I’m a bit disappointed in that just doing something so diametrically different than cycling each and every day, that would have been fun. I’m certainly no golfer - haven’t played the game in about 30 years - but that little 20-year old challenge, and a change of pace activity could have been a great way to finish up the trip this week. Maybe on the way home?

Not much else to say here after that. We sat outside the hotel room this eve, on a nice little promontory overlooking the golf course, with the sun setting in the west, reflecting on the past three months of travel. This was fun, hearing what Judy recollected as being her high points, and me doing the same, usually with totally different remembrances for each of us. I love the road….and I hate the road. Crazy isn’t it? But I’m game for this to continue next summer. I’m already thinking of what we need to do to finish this thing off in 2016. I really want finality to Amercian Dirt - it’s a finality to a part of my life!