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Day 44 Recap; Cedar City, what a place!

by EP on July 20, 2010

Although a 4:30 am alarm clock never feels very good, even for three former military officers, there are a couple benefits to continuing this tradition while out here in Utah. First, due to the time zone, we can still get our daily dosage of ESPN’s SportsCenter even at that hour. Second, we’re able to enjoy cooler weather for the morning miles and even take in the beautiful sunrises as we ride through the vast forests, mountains, deserts and other breathtaking terrain features Utah has to offer.

On Monday we continued this streak and trekked from Panguitch to Cedar City, inching closer and closer to not only the Nevada state line, the Pacific time zone, but also the waters that wash up on the beaches, wharfs, and rocks of San Francisco.

The morning hours consisted of a healthy little climb, 35 miles up to be exact. We knew this part of the trip was coming so it was no surprise to spend the first four to five hours pedaling twice as hard and going half as fast. We were able to stop for a morning muffin at a country store located on Panguitch Lake, a nice spot nestled within the tall pines and mountains of the Dixie National Forest. Several dozen more miles up the same set of mountains and we found ourselves at the summit, some 10,000+ feet evaluation. Taking in the scenery, it was no surprise we were then surrounded by a flock of tourists, all of which had come to the top to see the Cedar Breaks National Monument, a majestic natural amphitheater canyon.

Climbing up such a steep grade for so long only meant one thing for us…we were going to get a return on our investment. After 35 tough ones, we flew down the other side and piled up 17 of the quickest miles of our trip. Once to the bottom and within the borders of Cedar City, Utah, we met up with Joel’s cousin, Twila. Thanks to the efforts of Twila and all of Joel’s relatives here in Cedar City, we enjoyed a memorable day. Twila led us over to the Cedar City Veterans Memorial Park where we met Mayor Joe Burgess, who was very kind in his willingness to come out and greet us and share his patriotic message. Having cycled through so many small towns across America, we all agreed that Cedar City boasts possibly the nicest memorial park we’ve seen…just shy of those monuments we rode by in the District of Columbia. The citizens of Cedar City have done a fabulous job in designing, creating, and maintaining this memorial park; which even includes a memorial for those who have served in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. We were very impressed by not only how many people came out to greet us but also how patriotic and appreciative everyone was to those who serve our great country.

We eventually made our way over to Twila’s house and enjoyed an afternoon full of food, drinks, and good company, which included Joel’s Aunt Mary, cousins Glen and Donna, Donna’s husband Craig and their friend and Vietnam Veteran Jackie. The laughs were plentiful, just as was the amount of hamburgers and desserts. We’re very thankful to all of Joel’s relatives that were so nice to offer such great hospitality on such short notice. A special thanks to Dolly at the Crystal Inn here in Cedar City for putting us up in such a nice room as well.

After such a good time in Cedar City, we have no choice but to jump back on the bikes and continue heading west, albeit a little north today. Although we’re knocking on Nevada’s door down here in southwest Utah, we’re going to ride a bit north today and stay within Utah, as we have to link up with Highway 50 in northern Nevada tomorrow. Since leaving Pueblo, Colorado, some of you have noticed we’ve been zig-zagging our way around western Colorado and most of Utah. Obviously we would prefer to have a straight line to San Francisco, but since leaving the organized confines of the Midwest, the terrain and interstate systems here within the mountain west has greatly dictated our daily directions. We do have a method to our madness, as we’re following the official western express route for cyclists (Adventure Cycling Association), and we’re fully confident we’ll make it to the Pacific Ocean by the end of July.

Thanks to everyone for their support. Less than two weeks left, so please encourage everyone you know to donate to this meaningful and important cause.

-The XC10 Guys

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