On a bike, Big Cottonwood Canyon is a beast. This week, I took advantage of the 70 degree temperatures and set out to pedal up the hill that seemed to have no end. Add to that the fast-changing weather of late fall in Utah. I feel like I started and ended the ride in different seasons.
I began around 1:30 p.m. in bike shorts and a t-shirt. That sun felt hot on the slow climb up. The scenery was breath-taking. The snowmelt made the rushing creek look like a spring-time creek. The sun hit the rocks and cliffs just perfectly. The higher I went I saw more beautiful white snow. Nothing like sweating in short sleeves while riding past snow! I kept it on granny gear for the entire 3 hours it took me to reach Solitude. Out of water and breath, I decided I had gone far enough. I was hoping to reach Brighton, but my limbs felt like noodles. The biggest factor in my decision to turn around was the sun beginning to set behind the mountains. I knew it would be a cold, windy ride down. We stopped at Silver Fork Lodge for a bowl of homemade Tomato Asparagus soup. That hit the spot. But nothing could prepare me for the 45 minute chilly descend. I learned a lesson when riding in the mountains this time of year-- dress for each season. My hands and face were numb by the time I reached the bottom. Dumb and Dumber style. But the painfully cold end to the trip only added to the feeling of adventure and accomplishment that is what makes me love riding.