I heard the wind before I even opened my eyes, well before the alarm was set to go off, and then saw rain pelting the windows. Neither boded well for an 8:00AM ride start time. The weather forecast called for sunny skies but apparently that wasn’t happening any time soon. I’d driven 10 hours to get here and now it looked like I’d wasted my time.
On the drive out I’d been up against gale force winds all the way from the Colorado/Utah line and I knew I really didn’t want to ride in them today with rain. Hating myself for being a wimp I decided to bail on the ride. I made a cup of coffee, read the news feed, and stewed about my decision. Every once in awhile I looked out the window to see what the weather was doing. Lo and behold after a couple hours things calmed down. I made a plan and got geared up.
There was no need to worry about the timing chip, everyone else was already 2 hours ahead of me. I thought if I rode the route backwards I might come across some of the riders on their way in. I set off down Old Hwy 91 heading north but soon forgot all about the race. The jaw-dropping desert scenery of Red Mountain had my full attention.
I stuffed the course map in my pocket and made up my own route – turning down roads just to see where they went, riding through Snow Canyon State Park just because I wanted to, and then discovering the Veyo Bike Loop and riding a good chunk of northern Washington County. The winds returned as I headed back to St. George but it didn’t matter, I was entranced by the beauty of this place.
When I made it back to St. George festivities were in full swing at the finish line. The century riders were still arriving in spurts and the pizza oven was still turning out wood-fired pies. As I came across the finish line they handed me a finishers medal but I told them I hadn’t really done the route and tried to give it back. They said you rode today, you put the miles in, and you finished so it doesn’t really matter.
It definitely turned out to be a surprisingly good day and a lesson in coming up with Plan B for lemons to lemonade circumstances. This ride is offered again in the Fall, I think I might just come back and ride the official route! Click here for information on either the spring or fall Tour de St. George ride.
NOTE: I spoke to some of the century riders after the ride. They said they had rain for the first 45 miles and then headwind for most most of the rest of the day. This year was tough but not as bad as last year when they had to cancel the ride in progress due to high winds and blowing sand that reduced visibility and closed the highway…
#stgeorgeutah #tourdestgeorge #springcycling #snowcanyonstatepark #veyobikeloop