Day 22 & 23 - My first century followed by flat batteries
I knew before I set off on this adventure that there would be good days and bad days, and that endurance was the key to seeing through the trip. Boy, did I experience this on Days 22 and 23!
Day 22 - This was a long ride of 98 miles and saw us leave Idaho and enter into State No. 4 - Utah. The weather was good but there was a fairly brisk headwind, particularly as we climbed out of Idaho and into Utah. For the majority of time I was cycling alone but I was setting a pretty good pace and overtook a number of people who were only cycling part of the way. Fortunately, I was with someone when I crossed the state boundary to ensure that this was recorded on my phone. Eventually, I made it into Logan and had enough energy in me to complete a couple of extra miles to clock up my first century of miles in one day. This was very satisfying although I did confuse a local driver as I forgot for a second that I was still in America and started cycling on the wrong side of the road! Oops!! Concentrate Tim!
Dqy 23 - The day started out as normal and I was still quite chipper after the previous day. I awoke, had breakfast, circled up with the team and set off on the ride. After about 9 miles we came to the bottom slopes of a major climb and I changed down gears to make this easier. However, there was no energy in my legs and I slowed down to a crawl. I simply had no momentum and the legs were crying out for a break. The batteries for the body were flat! Dan Hepp called for assistance and Ginny Hughes stayed with me to ensure I was picked up by one of the support vehicles.
It did not take time for me to start to fall asleep in the vehicle as I was, frankly, exhausted. So having sat out the first two stages and rested up, I decided to give the final two stages a try and was able to cycle the remaining 44 miles.
This meant that I cycled into Salt Lake City along with a few others. The city is Utah's high-elevation capital and is bordered by the Great Salt Lake and the snow-capped peaks of the Wasatch Mountain Range. Meanwhile, downtown has the 10-acre Temple Square, headquarters of the Mormon Church and home to the Temple and Tabernacle where it is possble to hear the acclaimed Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Regrettably, our timings meant that we were unable to enjoy a performance.
However, today I had to say goodbye to my great friends, Mike and Terri Brown, who were returning to Arizona. This was a bitter pill for me as they had very much been the people who put me on to this cycling adventure and it was so sad to see them go as the ferocious pace of the bike adventure had impacted on both of them.
Please do not think that this bike ride is a good excuse for a holiday or a walk in the park; it is not! It is extremely demanding and along with early morning rises (5.20am), packing up all your belongings, chore teams, meals, meetings, extreme temparatures, showers (some of them cold), setting out your bed for the night and lights out by 9.30pm - all this alongside the often 7 hours of cycling. The days are hectic and soon turn into a blur of physical and emotional activity that leave you drained but fulfilled. If you are also in pain, as Mike was, then the price can be too high.
I will miss their company for now but I still look forward to great times ahead with this great couple. God bless you both!!