Saturday, November 15, 2008


november 15th, clear blue skies and 46 degrees, a perfect day for just about any outdoor activity. but especially a bike ride.
while all my neighbors were doing boring things like raking leaves, mowing lawns, and cutting back perennials, I went for a bike ride.
it was more of a bike ride than I had bargained for when bill said hey, let's ride saturday. he had suggested staying out of the canyons (too chilly) and just riding out south on wasatch. which sounded great to me. this morning when he showed up, I asked how far he wanted to ride. "to suncrest" was his answer.
and I fell for it.
I neglected to ask the question, up the hill all the way to suncrest, or just to that general point of southern-ness?
as we neared draper I finally asked just what "to suncrest" meant, and sure enough, it meant to the top.
if you haven't ridden or driven this, the road is Traverse Ridge Road, and it climbs from about 146th south and Highland Drive up to the top of the pass that then drops down into alpine and lehi. it's a 3-mile climb that gains a little over 1300 feet, with grades in places that reach 10-12 percent.
so susan and bill rode to draper, then up traverse ridge road to suncrest. "what next?" led to us deciding to drop down the other side into alpine and loop back around the point of the mountain to draper. and then home along wasatch, with a minor detour on Little Cottonwood road to the mouth of the canyon.
66 new miles on the odometer today, and not once did I wish I were raking leaves. a handful of times I wished I were not riding my bike, but I never got so far as to wish I had a rake in my hands.
and this terribly long preface was really just so I could tell you about the view coming down from suncrest, looking out over happy valley. [an aside: when we were riding in the dixie national forest two weeks ago, climbing the road that drops down into boulder, we passed a street sign that told us the road taking off to the east was Happy Valley Drive . . . I can't help but smile when I think of the silliness of that name.]
everything was tinted blue. even the yucchy, hateful particles of the small inversion hanging over orem. the white-capped mountains, their slopes covered with trees and bushes, the steeples of churches and hipped rooflines that pointed skyward, everything, everything, had a slightly bluish cast to it. even the lake. utah lake, a body of water I've visited once and ridden by just a single time. it lay between the western mountains and a lacy, decorative border of houses on the east, and it shimmered in the early afternoon sun. it lay there, deep blue and rich and luxurious, just another feature of this incredible tableau that spread itself in front of us as we descended down the road from suncrest.
my beautiful blue world disappeared as we reached the valley floor and started our way west, as the lake was no longer visible and the sky returned to hanging above me instead of around me.
the ride back home was long and much more challenging than I wanted it to be: have I become so wimpy already?
you've heard about my favorite view, and now here is my favorite thing about the ride: coming back along wasatch between big and little cottonwood canyons, I saw vehicle after vehicle with snowboards on top, snowboards that had obviously been used today at one of the resorts.
I thank God, again and again, that I ended up in this city where I can ride my bike and they can snowboard and we can all glory in a perfect, dazzling, splendiferous late-fall day.

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