The Salt to Saint Bike Ride is a Ragnar-type bike relay wherein a team of 8 people ride from Salt City to St. George, UT. They split the distance into 24 legs, each person riding three legs. This year we had sister teams (no pun intended), Tour de Friends and Tour de Friends Too, so there were two people riding each leg. My sister and I were on different teams and both of us were assigned to be the 7th rider so we rode legs 7, 15, and 23 together. Genius!
And so fun! What a treasure my sweet sister is!!! Our time together is priceless. And, this weekend, we spent a great amount of great time together.
We joined forces early Friday morning in a parking lot near Hogle Zoo (SLC, UT). It was raining hard so I jumped (literally) into Marjorie’s Sequoia where she and I and our two car buddies, Henry and Tom, would spend the next 30+ hours together. Henry, a pistol-packing, retired officer of the law, and Tom, a construction manager whose story telling/amplifying ability would fit well into a Hislop and/or Noel family reunion, rode legs 8, 16, and 24. Both men love biking, love their wives, and love to tease. And I learned to love them.
Salt to Saint started soggy for our team; the first riders took off in pouring rain at 8:00 a.m. Rain turned to hail at the 2nd-to-3rd rider exchange, an exchange I was pleased to witness from behind a protective windshield on a cushioned seat in a warm car.
Either the storm had passed or we had passed the storm when Marjorie and I began about 4 p.m. The roads were clear and dry, which did not stop me from wiping out about 400 m into our ride. I took a turn too fast and braked when I should have pedaled. The bike skidded one way and I flew the other; Marjorie said I looked like Superman. [I would have preferred looking like Captain Marvel but…..] I quickly (as quickly as a 54 year-old-woman with new knees who just flew onto the side of the road can) hopped back on the bike and continued the ride. Except for a jammed left thumb (that, at the time this letter was written, is still non-weight bearing) and a traumatized sister (Marjorie had flashbacks of our 2017 ride when she saw me fly off the trail) all was well.
Our next adventure began about 2:00 a.m. in the frigid regions of the North Pole. Actually, it was not the North Pole but it was frigid; 20 degrees Fahrenheit before the wind chill factor. Brrrrrr! It took us longer to ride the 17 miles of leg 15 than it did to ride the 22 miles we covered earlier in leg 7. And it took us much MUCH longer to warm up after leg 15 than it did to cool down after leg 7. Oh my frozen toes!!! And fingers…..and thighs ... and ….
Our final leg was relatively uneventful. Sunny skies, gentle breeze, short sleeves, Chacos... It doesn’t get better than that. It really doesn’t. Seventeen miles of biking pleasure. Glorious.
The whole weekend was glorious. I was the only non-Nevadan on the team but they included me as one of their own. I rode through some of the world’s greatest country with some of the world’s greatest people alongside the world’s greatest sister. Glorious!
Though I swore I would not do it again (leaving my family for a weekend right after being gone for a week in the Redwoods is really tough) and Marjorie swore she would not do it again (her VERY warm-blooded Nevada body was really, REALLY uncomfortable on our frigid ride) already we are talking about next year. Showers, toothbrushes, flat surfaces upon which to sleep, regular meals and flushing toilets step aside….at least for 30+ hours. Salt to Saint 2020, here we come!!!!