I woke up Saturday morning wanting to go for a long ride. The sky was dark and gray. I wondered if I should go back to bed. One weather report said there was a 60% chance of rain, so I checked another and it called for only a 30% chance. I went with the second one, packed up a wind shirt, a few energy bars, and took off.
From my house in Provo I headed south toward Springville, then west through the farming communities of Lake Shore and Benjamin. From there I headed around the west side of West Mountain. This is a very pleasant road I have ridden many times. It is scenic with lots of apple orchards and little traffic. It was a very pleasant day, though the skies still seemed to be threatening rain, especially south of where I was. As headed around the backside of West Mountain I began to see a few scattered cyclist, then more, and more, and more. And they were all girls. I later found out it was a women’s only century ride.
I rode through the small town of Genola, then headed south to Goshen. To the east the mountains were shrouded in clouds and it was clearly raining there, and that was where I was headed. I stopped at the little post office in Goshen to ask the postmaster about the road through Goshen Canyon (I’d never ridden it). He assured me it was a very gradual climb. At this point I was 43 miles into my ride. Just as I was leaving Goshen it started to rain, but only sprinkled a bit then stopped. The ride up Goshen Canyon was very nice, with a swollen creek running beside the road.
I had seen on my map that the road through Goshen Canyon descended down to the western shore of Mona Lake and followed the shoreline to the southern end, then cut east to the town of Mona. That looked a little too far to go for this ride, so I was hoping to find a shortcut so I wouldn’t have to go all the way down to Mona. At the top of the canyon, where I could see the road begin to descend down to the south, I found a dirt road that seemed to head east. I decided to gamble and see where it went. I was really glad to have a cyclocross bike with 35c wide tires. The road was well graded but muddy with big deep puddles from the rain. I was able to ride fairly fast and the mud was really flying. I came to a gate across the road, but it was for cattle with a sign saying to close the gate after you. The road climbed gradually until reaching a low saddle where I could see down into the valley on the other side. I could see the north end of Mona Lake and I-15 off in the distance. The gamble paid off and was great fun to be off the highway.
It was only about 4-5 miles of dirt (mud) roads until I hit Mona Rd. about a mile north of the lavender farm. From there I headed north to Santaquin where I stopped for a break at the Chevron station. I was craving salt and was starving so I bought some Smokehouse Almonds and a piece of beef jerky. You can only take so many sweet energy bars. I then headed down the familiar road through Payson, Salem, Spanish Fork, and Springville and back to Provo. It was an 86 mile day and took me 5:50. I love being out alone on a bike.