Thursday, for my birthday, we tried to catch a free screening of Napoleon Dynamite in SLC on our way north. Unfortunately, we were late getting on the road, and by the time we got there, the line was so long, we didn't get tickets. Oh well, we'll go when it finally opens in Provo, whenever that is. So we went to Crown Burgers for dinner. Mmmm. Crown Burgers.
After dinner, we headed up to Logan to a campground in Logan Canyon called Guinavah. We set up camp in the dark (including the new huge dome tent that my siblings got me for my birthday. Thanks!) and tried to get the kids to bed. It took awhile to get Melanie to forget about going home, but Lauren settled right in. It was midnight before we got to sleep, and 5 a.m came very soon.
The next morning, Karen and I ate some oatmeal, then loaded the sleeping kids into the car. Karen dropped me off at the Cache Valley fairgrounds. Since I didn't want to ride on Sunday, I had decided to do the day 2 ride on Friday by myself. I loaded up 48 oz. of Gatorade , 70 oz. of water, 5 Clif Bars and some Snickers bars. Since I was riding alone, I decided it would be okay to listen to an audio book while I rode to pass the time. The ride was very nice and quiet. I saw lots of pretty marshlands and waterfowl. The roads were nice, flat country roads for most of the ride. The ride went from Logan out to the west edge of Cache Valley, then headed north into Idaho, looped east, then back into Utah. I finished in 6 hours including rest stops. While I was gone, Karen and the kids went to Willow Park Zoo in Logan where they enjoyed looking at the birds and the deer. In the evening we went up to Bear Lake to play on the beach and go swimming. The water was pretty cold, and after about two minutes Lauren decided she'd had enough of it. The hot showers felt really nice.
The next morning was Saturday, day 1 of the ride. There were over 1700 riders, but I was still alone for a lot of the ride since I started almost an hour late. The ride was very nice and all the rest stops were staffed by nice folks with things to eat and drink. Near the end of the ride there was a Canyon that was about 17 miles in, then 17 back out. By this point, my knees were in pretty bad shape and hurt especially during uphill climbs. When I entered the canyon, I was glad to find that it was mostly downhill with occasionaly uphill stretches. Since I was pretty far behind, groups of riders were already coming back out of the canyon. It amazed me that they could go faster uphill than I could go down. I made several comments to people about how I was regretting turing around and coming back out of the canyon. They always smiled and laughed. Towards the end, there was a small climb to a rest stop. There, someone encouraged me saying "It's all downhill from here!" "Yeah, good one!" I responded. I headed down the small hill, and waited for that uphill. It didn't come. It was like that M.C. Escher drawing, downhill both ways. How is this possible? I figured it out on the way back down. The whole time I was coming down out of the canyon, there was a very strong headwind that kept my speed under 15 mph most of the time. Coming the other way with the wind at my back actually made me believe I was going downhill! It was quite a strange sensation to have my erroneous perception revealed to me. And I laughed as I realized my "downhill" went the oppisite way of the canyon stream.
Well, I finished the ride, all 150 miles, and now we're home. My knees are trashed, and almost a week later, I'm still walking with a limp. At least my muscles didn't get sore. Will I do it again next year? Who knows? I'll have to do some shorter rides and see if I can condition my legs. Don't forget to check out the photos in the album. Also, there is a picture of me here that was taken in M.C. Escher's canyon by a guy who photographed all of the riders in hopes that a few of us would pay $12 or more for a print. No thanks!