Wednesday, June 11, 2014

June 7: Riding 104+ Miles in Utah Desert

Neva and James and I joined the Huntsman Hometown Heroes on Saturday the 7th for a training ride. Here we are at the beginning, all full of smiles and energy. We kept the smiles throughout the day, but the energy diminished drastically during the second 50 miles.

Neva and James have ridden with the HHH group before; in fact, Neva is one of the team's coaches. But it was a first for me, and a chance to get used to the higher Utah altitude and heat before the Huntsman 140 on June 21.

Neva had brought a bike for me to ride, as well as energy drinks and an array of snack bars for us to share.

We rode on part of the same route we'll be taking for the Huntsman 140 on June 21. We started at a middle school just south of Salt Lake City to the town of Elberta and back, a total of about 104 miles.

Amazingly, James took these photos as we rode. He took his hands off the handlebars, pedaled up next to me and then Neva, said "Smile!" and snapped the photos of us, plus the view of the landscape we were riding through.

The HHH people call this section of the route, these long rolling hills through the desert just west of Utah Lake, "rollers," a good name for the rolling hills, and they say this is the most dispiriting. And we would agree with that.

BTW,  James's photos are on our Team Sandra page on Facebook. Check it out! All of us are training really hard. For instance, Ellen rode 55 miles that same day, from her home in Salem to the middle school where we ended up---an amazing and courageous ride. And check out one of Laura's rides, with life lessons. And Ellen has posted on the Team Sandra page a story about one of Reo's training rides.

Anyway, I'm really glad I did that ride! The elevation at Elberta is about 4,500 feet above sea level (actually, depending on which Web site you read, it's somewhere between 4,300 and 4,700 feet). And the elevation at Saratoga Springs,* which we rode through, is always listed as 4,505 feet. So we weren't at the maximum elevation we'll be at during the June 21 ride, which is about 6,600 feet. But it's about 4,000 feet higher than where I've been training here at home.

Note: The Arctic Circle in Saratoga Springs was/is like an oasis, as we spent a few minutes there washing the sweat off our faces and eating a chicken sandwich (James) and Moose Tracks Sundaes (Neva and me). The staff there were exceptionally friendly and kind to us, too. Maybe I'll stop there again on June 21.


  1. I'm so ... not "proud," because that makes it sound like I had something to do with this and want to take partial credit for your acrazing accomplishment. But I am definitely proud to be your sister, and so impressed by you. I would be lying if I said that I also weren't a little jealous that you got to have such a fantastic experience. You owned it! I just think you're the BEST. When I grow up...

  2. Oh! Also, I am NOT looking forward to doing those rolling hills through that stretch. Both times I have driven through there I have been afflicted with despair, and that's just DRIVING, not trying to ride my bike. Blergh.

  3. Louise, you did awesome. I'm so proud of you. And James was just basically a sweet heart, staying with us, chatting, pleasant. I'm excited for TEAM SANDRA to take on this challenge in just over a week. Laura, you'll do fine!

  4. Ditto what Laura and Neva said. Also, I think you three sisters of mine ROCK!