Sunday, October 28, 2007

50 Miles in 7 Hours

Saltair... 20 miles west of SLC
Hi all,
“Have you ever ridden a long ride with Scouts?” That was the question posed to me early Saturday morning as I prepped for a 50-miler with a local scout group. I had volunteered to ride along as an extra (the second!) adult rider with this small group as a favor to a gentleman I work with. I replied, “Not in the past thirty years!” The scout leader laughed, and told me that the day might be a bit longer than I envisioned. He was right. I had forgotten that these young men were not serious riders, did not have road bikes, and were merely fulfilling either a merit badge or distance award criteria. So, I had come along with the misconception that we would be riding at a decent pace, and make a quick day of it.
Before I go any further, I need to mention that five of our eight boys completed the day. They did a great job of riding a long distance, ate plenty of snacks, and except for some very tired legs and sore butts, had a great day. And when I took a step back and looked at their bikes, their experience, and the level of training, I became even more proud of them.
Our Intrepid Group...
The ride started early Saturday morning at dawn, with a temperature hovering around 42 degrees. Several boys rode up wearing jeans and a shirt, no hat, no gloves, riding old mountain bikes, and one boy rode a small-wheeled BMX bike! Clearly, at the offset, I was worried about how the day would go.

Ok, so we took a wrong turn on to the Wing Pointe Golf Course!
The day actually went just fine save for a rather pedantic pace, lots of stopping and waiting around for the stragglers, and of course plenty of restroom and snack breaks. The route was from Woods Cross, a suburb in Davis County northeast of the Salt Lake City Airport, through farmland and industrial areas, then south of the airport, past the international center, along the frontage road paralleling I-80 to the old Saltair Resort, and back the same way.
Waiting for the snack truck...
The route was almost perfectly flat, with a few small gentle grades. We enjoyed the bike path that runs on airport property, and makes a safe transition along I-80. The weather was chilly in the morning and eventually warmed up after noon.
The only major issue was ride safety. The boys were fearless, and seemed like they had little experience riding close the right side, and also we seemed to get spread out to quite a distance through the day. It was a much different experience than I have encountered on any group rode before. I spent the entire day looking furtively in my rear-view mirror to see how the riders were doing, while keeping an eagle eye on the ones ahead.
All in all it was an interesting experience. I learned that we as a community need to provide much more education on bike/road safety, that young teens have a much different perspective towards riding, and that I tend to take my current level of training and skills for granted.
I bet they could ride circles around me on dirt!
See you down the road.

1 comment:

Harding said...

The Saltair picture reminds me of something out of Dr. Zhivago.