Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cactus Hugger Century—April 2004

St. George, Utah

Just a few words on the Cactus Hugger Century. Bobbie and I opted for the 46 mile ride because she had not been on a bike in awhile. As we made our way to St. George in a driving rain storm, I often wondered how the weather would be the following day at the start. As it turned out, not a whole lot different. I had seen this picture about 3 years previous at the ‘Chums Classic’ race when they took 6 people to hospital for hyperthermia.

As I loaded the bikes on the car at 0530, I notice a slight sprinkle. By 0700 this dissipated and a sucker hole appeared over the start, Xtevia Gardens. I thought to myself that I had seen this before and opted for the Gortex rain jackets (a smart move). Anyway, the folks organized a super ride and everything went like clock work, right down to parking the car. I was suitably impressed. We grabbed our bag of goodies and prepared for the ride.

I must say that I was a bit disappointed at the lack of a ‘mass start.’ Unlike most events, this adds to some of the excitement. We pressed ahead alone on the road only to find a few riders on the road with us. The weather held and the ride to Gunlock was rather uneventful. If you can call beautiful scenery and no cars uneventful. Anyway, we arrived at Gunlock to find two very friendly volunteers huddled under a blanket. At this point, it started to rain. Not sprinkle! I figured, “here we go.” We caught a tandem wheel for a short time, but lost them on the ‘wall.’ If you haven’t ridden this route, it is beautiful: no cars, nothing but rider’s paradise. The wall sucks but anyone can climb it with a little effort.

Arriving at Veyo, we opted to continue on with the 46 mile option. Here is where Mr. Wind greeted us. Let’s see, driving rain, cross wind, and temps that bordered on sleet! Great riding conditions, eh. NOT! At 12 to 14 MPH we made our way to the Snow Canyon Bike path. I must say that this was probably the worst riding conditions I’ve every found myself in. Bobbie flatted at Snow Canyon so we made a quick fix (frozen hands and wet gloves) and continued on.

Up and down and all around we finally ended up in St. George. This is where God smiled upon us and gave us sunshine. That warmth one feels after such suffering is indescribable. Soaked from head to toe, we basked in the Sunshine as we made our way very slowly through Ivins and back the Kayenta.

Best thing about the ride: Riding with your spouse. 2nd best: Enthusiastic volunteers standing in the rain encouraging riders! Awesome!

Worst thing: Changing a flat with frozen wet hands. (sucks)
Most memorable: The beauty of Utah. (Never undeterred by the weather, a true marvel!)

Would I do it again? Yes, even in the rain/sleet! Any ride is better than no ride.
Checkout the start and home: Kayentah Utah

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