Saturday (May 6th) was International Female Ride Day and since Jess was out of town, I got to organize and lead the Litas ride. The weather was set to be in the 80s, so I planned a long trip (152 miles roundtrip) up through a few canyons. I was excited and nervous; I really haven’t ever planned a ride (for anyone but myself) from start to finish, and there’s always extra pressure when it’s a Lita’s ride because I want to make sure everyone has a good time. It was also a bit last-minute, I had thought about joining in on the other ride in town, but they were just doing a ride along the westside and I was dying to get up in the mountains. So I set the route and stops and Jess sent out an email on Thursday.
The ride started at the Maverick downtown as it’s right next to the freeway on-ramp, though in the future we should maybe choose a different one as it’s also right next to the mission, and down the street from the main homeless shelter…. When I pulled in just after 10:30, I didn’t see anyone, I was a little let down but not terribly I wasn’t really expecting anyone to show up after the late notice. I filled my tank, then parked in a highly visible location, and hung my Litas shirt on my bike so girls would know where to go. By 10:45 I was feeling discouraged by the lack of other women, but knew that at least one other lady was coming to meet me.
I sat on my bike and looked up, there was a woman approaching me. She asked if I was there for the ride, and I hesitantly answered, unsure because I hadn’t seen any other bikes. She told me that there were a few other bikes over on the side of the building. I packed up my stuff and headed over to join them. As I came around the corner I couldn’t help but smile. There were four women and their bikes socializing and waiting to head out. I was excited but starting to get nervous, I couldn’t believe that women had shown up for my ride with such last-minute notice. I wondered if there were this many women in Salt Lake, how many would be waiting at the other stops. It was almost 11 when Kathleen pulled up, which comforted me, and shortly there after we geared up and headed out.
As we headed out, it was pretty cloudy and looked like it was going to rain, but the forecast was clear so I my hoodie was packed up on my back fender. I was wearing a short-sleeved distressed ACDC shirt, the temperature was perfect. As we rode south, I started to worry, I could see the rain up ahead. It was about the time we hit Draper that I felt the first drops, I first felt them on my gloves, and soon my arms. All I could think was how much this was going to hurt. Luckily this was a “soft” rain or so it seemed, as the rain hit my arms the drops exploded and felt like I was being lightly splashed. (Apparently not everyone felt that way, but I rather enjoyed it.) The rest of the ride to Orem was uneventful, except not being 100%sure of the right Maverick since my GPS was not speaking through my helmet.
We rolled into (the correct) Maverick a little later than anticipated, but before we had said we were leaving. There weren’t any girls waiting though, which was a bit of a disappointment, but also a relief. We stayed for a few minutes, and while we waited I saw one of our members Tandra ride by. (Turns out that she was looking for us, unfortunately she never found us.) Two of the girls left to go ride dirt bikes, so the remaining four of us headed out to the canyon. I had forgotten how much I like Provo Canyon, how beautiful Bridal Veil Falls is and even the walls of rock. We rolled along the curves as a group, all enjoying the ride, the open road for the first time in months. We made it to Heber before I realized Google maps had crashed, we went straight through the main intersection and I realized the mistake after about 1 mile. We pulled off, I pulled it back up and got us back on track with just a few other turns. Soon we got to the turn at Jordanelle, and headed East towards Kamas.
If you’ve never ridden the road between Heber and Kamas you should. It is a twisty curvy road that rises high above the Jordanelle. It twists along as the road rises above, there’s an overlook which is a great place for photos. Wasatch State Park lies ahead, huge rock walls on one side, and a rushing river on the other. As we rode by I noticed a beaver sitting on a log just watching the traffic pass. The road continues on through more fields, rocky passes and weathered homes. As you approach the turn for Kamas you ride up a blind hill with a small pasture on the other side. At the intersection in Francis, we turned left and shortly arrived at the Phillips in Kamas. We were later than expected, but no one was waiting. We all filled up and took a short break. I was tired and beginning to get hungry. It was only 45 miles to Kelly’s but still about an hour away.
We made it out of Kamas and through Peoa without a sound from my GPS. I wasn’t concerned until the signs for I-15 stopped appearing. The road was gorgeous well maintained and low traffic, it was twisty and rode along a reservoir. I called my mom to try to verify our route. We were riding past Rockport State Park on 189, but she thought we were on 302 (along the backside) and said it would dead-end, I pull off quickly and restarted Google maps. We were close to I-80 so we pulled back on the road and were soon on the interstate. We rode past Coalville, to the I-84 interchange. The sky was cloudy again, but looked clear enough to the east. As we approached Henefer the wind picked up, and slowed us down as we went through the rocky pass and past Devil’s slide. The speed limit was 75, but we were only going 60. Luckily were able to stay on the road, and exited at Morgan and soon arrived at Kelly’s
There were only 2 other bikes at Kelly’s and the were gearing up to leave. We entered, chatting about the wind and the scenery, and I joked about needing a new phone. We ordered our food and sat on the patio, joined shortly by another group of bikers. We talked about our jobs, and our riding experiences, eager to share tips and tales from the road. The conversation died down once the food came, we were all quite famished after the long ride.
Overall it was a nice ride, not too hot or cold, and even with the wind we all did great. I found the challenges we had symbolic considering it was a ride celebrating women. It isn’t always easy but we push through and prevail.