This is a ride I haven’t done in awhile and the last time I rode it there were about 300 riders participating. This year there will be over 1500! It starts in Lehi and circumnavigates Utah Lake for a 111 mile loop. I have hooked up on this ride with 6 friends on 3 tandems. They say they plan to ride easy and see how it goes, but I know these are code words indicating it will be a fast day!  My plan is to hang on to this train as long as I can and then cruise in from there on my own.

The ride starts out a little scary, there were several wrecks or near misses right in front of us and in the first few miles. The route starts off winding through city streets for 30 miles or more. The many twists and turns along with the road hazards take their toll and we see at least 3 ambulances loading up their cargo. The first rest stop we take is about 30 miles in and it was just okay for its food offerings. We grab some food, make some adjustments and get going again. The course is a little faster now but that brings some new hazards. The railroad crossings are a little rough and I hit a couple of them pretty hard. Others seem to have had it worse than I and after each crossing there are dozens of cyclists stopped and repairing flat tires. We have avoided that fate at least and continue on. With the open road the tandems are in their element and set a brisk pace. I take a pull at the front and my riding partners thank me but really they just want me out of the way. THEY are setting the pace and I am slowing them down so I take my designated position in the rear and hang on for dear life.

It is a hot day when we pull in to lunch at mile 62 at a cool and shady park in Genola. The supplies are good here and we make the most of it. Cold drinks and sandwiches call to us and the green grass and shade are very seductive, tempting us to linger. Soon though we decide to press on and finish this thing and are back on the road. The challenge for me remains the same, hang on to the tandems as long as I can. Another railroad crossing and the same dozen flat tires, but not for us and we continue.

After lunch I am starting to fade a little and I wonder how much longer I can hang on. The winds are a little from the side so I echelon out to try and stay in the draft. My legs are becoming noodles though and I figure my free ride is almost over.  Thats when I start getting some leg cramps and I suddenly drop off the back. I watch my riding partners pull away with a sigh. We are into some rollers now so I just set my pace and do the best I can. After a couple of miles of solo riding I see that my buddies have slowed up a bit, they are waiting for me! What great friends! After a short bit of an easier pace and a rest stop we are cruising again. We pretty much stay together until the end. We are separated by traffic lights and stop signs in the last couple of miles but otherwise we were together. We were able to do the 111 miles in 5 1/2 hours riding time and so averaged over 21 mph!

Epilogue: Looking over my bike the next day I find that I have severely damaged my rear wheel. There are 2 major dents in the rim and a larg flat spot. In addition the rim is out of true and rubbing hard on the brake. I probably did the worst damage before lunch but I dont know for sure. The dragging brake certainly did not help my day though. In the end I rebuilt the wheel replaced the rim. I did this ride on my beautiful vintage built 1998 De Bernardi road bike and all I can say is that I really hate destroying beautiful bike parts!!!

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