On June the 15th, four cyclists set out to finish the first-ever 600km brevet offered in the state of Utah. The fifth cyclist, Nick, had signed up for the 400km brevet and was thus committed to doing the first two-thirds of this inaugural 600km brevet.
The forecast held true with lows around 50F and highs in the high 80s. The three cyclists on upright bikes set out together and stuck as a group until about mile 89 where Nick flatted. Catherine and Jackie continued on a few miles to the first checkpoint. Meanwhile, a few minutes after those three left the Sigurd checkpoint, the pair on recumbents (Gerry & David) rolled in to this same checkpoint. All were looking good as the route thus far had little climbing.
Later on, Jackie’s rear derailleur cable snapped. After having it duck-taping it to her frame, she was able to continue on as 3-speed, by only adjusting her front derailleur. (She rode this way for a total of 82 miles before finding a cable to replace her worn out part.) The recumbents made their way up the 2,000-foot climb above Sigurd, without incident, but not without a lot of lost calories. This was the longest single climb of the brevet.
I provided roving neutral support along the way, pausing in between services to provide cold drinks, watermelon and other food stuffs. Because of Jackie’s broken cable, she traveled alone from mile 92 to mile 174 in Richfield where I was able to find a cable for her. Catherine and Nick worked together the rest of the day, battling the “circular” winds and long open roads.
The climb up and down US-50 proved to be challenge for some (the section betweeen Richfield and Scipio). During the pre-ride, when I rode it, it was very late in the evening (10 to 11 p.m.) and the truck traffic was minimal. When Catherine and Nick rolled over this area, it was much earlier in the day and on a weekend, so they encountered a lot of truck traffic which was not able to swing wide, due to oncoming cars heading out for the weekend. I have ridden that highway several times as a 200k Permanent, but it was usually mid-day and frequently during the week, when traffic was minimal. (Because of the traffic Catherince and Nick encountered on US-50, I most likely will make a drastic route change to the 400km and 600km brevets for the 2013 season. ) Nick was struggling with saddle comfort, fatigue, some GI problems, but was emotionally helped with the companionship of Catherine, a seasoned rando rider from Colorado, who stuck with him until the end of his ride in Nephi. The two of them rolled into Nephi at about midnight. This was Nick’s longest ride to date…a 400km (253-mile) brevet.
In the early evening, the recumbents caught up to Jackie in Richfield. Fortunately, the three made the decision to ride together, as night riding in unfamiliar territory is not always the easiest chore. Jackie was experiencing some GI (gastrointestinal) problems and was having a rough time from about mile 195 to Nephi at mile 253. After arriving at the motel in Nephi, with her stomach doing flip flops, she had to call it quits, finishing up 400km of her intended 600km brevet. Gerry and David slept in their motel in Nephi, anxious to finish up their 600km the following morning.
Catherine left the overnight stop alone at about at about 5:30 a.m. and started the ride around Utah Lake, to finish up the last 200km of this 600km brevet. The recumbents left at about 7:30 a.m. staying together the rest of the day. Catherine encountered many other roadies on this route, but they were regretfully going the opposite direction on another organized ride, so she was not able to draft off of them. She rolled into the finish at about 2:50 p.m. Gerry and David arrived a little after 7 p.m., with about two hours to spare before the 40 hour cut off. This was their first completion of a 600km which will qualify them for their anticipated “long ride of the season” — Colorado Last Chance, a 1200km grand randonnee held in September.
Congratulations to all for participating in our first full series (200km, 300km, 400km and 600km) of the Salt Lake Randonneurs.