Kathy’s Utah Venture, Day 10

Panquitch to Cedar City – 58 mile 

As they warned us, the morning was very brisk with temperatures in the low 40s. Today we would climb from approx 6,600′ to 10,630′ over 34 miles. It started out fairly gradual with some rolling up and down hills as we weaved through the mountains. Soon we were at Panquitch Lake which appeared to be a very popular recreational area. They had lots of boating, fishing, camping and areas for swimming. Earlier at our water stop I had visited with a couple of young boys who were fishing off a little bridge by a stream. They were so excited to be out there and their excitement elevated as they caught their first one just as I was readying to leave.

The grade got steeper as I left the lake area. The scenery changed as we climbed closer to the summit. I stopped to photographed sheep grazing along the road at one point to catch my breath and take off my coat. After nine days on the bike, this 10th day seemed harder than it should be, but I am sure it was just a case of tired legs. It took me about four hours to grind my way up to the lunch stop, just over the summit at 10,630′. What a welcome site. This would be the last meal with Jed and his crew. We had quite a choice as it was time to use up all of the leftovers. I spent about 45 minutes relaxing in the sun and visiting with many of my cycling friends. This was a small group and many of us got pretty close as we pedaled out way across Utah.

We had a slight upgrade to climb as we rode to Cedar Breaks National Monument. After a little time at one of the overlooks, I started on the first of several down grades. Wow, that is what makes all the climbing worth while. After about three miles of zooming down the hills, we turned onto Highway 14 to head the last 16 miles into Cedar City. This was the busiest road we had to ride on besides I-70. Thankfully it was all down grades but we did have the wind come up so it would alternate between being a head wind or strong cross wind. I barely touched my pedals those last 16 miles and when I did, it was simply because the headwinds were slowing me down and I wanted to maintain my speed on the 1-2% grades.

At about 1:20 pm I entered the town of Cedar City… the place I started 10 days before. I found the bike shop where our bags were off loaded and then headed to find my vehicle. Loaded my bike and headed back to collect my bags and change out of my bike clothes. Said some final goodbyes, stopped for fuel and refreshments, and hit the road for Denver. It was a little bittersweet to leave. We had some issues on the ride, but in the end, I saw some beautiful country, meet some really great people and had ate very well. I never worked so hard, yet I had so much fun…

Can’t wait to start researching next year’s rides…

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