Day 3: Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

In the morning, refreshed, it was time to decide.  I checked the climb & drop figures printed on the profiles we had with us.  The 1,500 foot climb scheduled for this day, was actually a 2,834 foot climb when the climb/drop figures were taken into account, which was something we could do. 

But the climb of the next day was a 6,942 foot climb instead of the 3,000 foot climb I was expecting.  The most I have been able to do in a day-hike is 4,000 feet - so we couldn't do it in a day, and we would have to carry food for at least two days.  And the wind (as expected) had changed so it was coming from the south - again a headwind. 

The climb after those two days (now in 90-degree heat) would be 5,672 feet - again more than I could do in a day.  Neither of us had trained for that kind of climbing, and it would take a rigorous training regime to do so. 

Reluctantly, we decided to turn back to Panguitch, giving up on the rest (and more scenic parts) of the trip.  Malcolm suggested that he hitch-hike back to get the truck, but to me, it just made the failure even more ignoble. 

"Hey," I said, "This is a tactical withdrawal - not an utter defeat and a rout." 

Having made the bitter decision, we ate at the cafe across the street, which is one of the better cafes I have ever eaten at.  We replenished our supplies at the store, and headed south, into a significant headwind. 

Again the up-and-down nature of the road continued to dog us, as we climbed, then reclimbed (after a short downhill glide) the same elevation, though the elevations tended downward on the whole. 

Heading south, back toward Otter Creek Reservoir - note the climb, though generally it tends downhill.

Malcolm took this picture of the scenery, as seen by a bicycle racer.

Some dreams die.  Do we sound discouraged?

On the way back to Otter Creek Reservoir, we noticed something that would have been an even bigger problem than the prodigious climbs.  The temperature, which was forecast in this area to be in the mid to upper 80's, was rising toward my maximum useful temperature of 94 degrees. 

I have a problem of having too few sweat glands, so if it gets too hot (toward body temperature), I cannot cool off, and progress to heat stroke.  Knowing this risk, I had my trusty spray-bottle with me, and I kept spraying myself down.  Being as hot as it was, the spray quickly evaporated, and I was needing it again and again. 

Malcolm finally came up with the idea that got me up the last big hills before the RV park.  Where we had a good supply of extra water, he poured it over me, rubbing it into the fabric of my top.  With it sopping wet, it lasted for more than 10 minutes, and kept my core body temperature down even after we reached the coolness of the restaurant. 

Again, a steak dinner was in order, as well as a welcome rest from the endless climbing and gliding.  We also refilled our water containers (which were now almost empty). 

Given the problems I had with the heat earlier, Malcolm didn't want me to continue toward Kingston.  I was much cooled-down at this time though, and was able to convince him that the canyon going west didn't have anywhere as much up-and-down as the trip from Koosharem, and we would also have a crosswind rather than a headwind. 

Reluctantly, he agreed, and we started west toward Kingston.  There were a few short up-and-down sections, but (as I had pointed out), it was mostly downhill. 

As we progressed into the canyon, the wind (forever dogging us), changed to an up-canyon wind from the west.  However, the generally downhill slope really helped.  I never did get close to overheating. 

I finally saw a place on the roadside where we could get out of the sun, and turned off the road into the shady pull-out.  Malcolm followed eagerly, wanting to get out of the hot sun.  Unknown to us, the temperature in Circleville had risen to 97 degrees that day - 3 degrees above my effective maximum temperature. 

A shady turn-out on the road west to Kingston

Impressive rock formations, as seen from the turn-out

We stayed there a long time, listening to the water running over rocks in the streambed below.  Malcolm wanted to stay until the sun-angle was significantly less.  We stayed there at least a half-hour, and maybe more. 

Eventually, noting that we seemed to have a down-canyon wind - a tailwind instead of a headwind, we got back on our bicycles and headed west.  True to form, the tailwind turned out to be an eddy-current in the canyon, and we quickly met our old friend, the headwind.  But it was downhill almost exclusively, and we made good time. 

Soon we made it to Kingston, and briefly said hi to our friend of the day before, then continued west toward highway 89. 

It was uphill to highway 89, though the climb was gentle.  We now had a crosswind from the south.  But on reaching highway 89, where we turned south, we again had our headwind, as we did the gentle climb to Circleville. 

In this section, a group of cross-country cyclists on road-bikes passed us, whom we greeted in passing - fellow travellers in a wide world. 

After what seemed ages, we reached the place where the road turns west into Circleville, and lost our headwind at long last.  We pedaled on past a restaurant, which had a sign on it that (to my amazement) appeared to say "F**kers Welcome", but on getting closer, it actually said "Truckers Welcome.  We stopped finally at the RV park where we stayed two days before. 

Given the headwind we had experienced going south, and given the 97 degree temperatures in Circleville, Malcolm decided it would be better to hitch-hike back to Panguitch to get the truck.  Given the temperatures, I didn't protest this time, and I set up camp while he tried to hitch-hike. 

Given the small amount of traffic on this backwater of highway 89, he was not successful, and later joined me for supper at camp. 

It was a restful nights sleep, but in the night, forever dogging us, a very strong wind came, trying to blow down our shelter.  The shelter (and my setting up of it) passed the test, as it didn't blow down or get deformed in any significant way. 

On this day, we had traveled 43.0 miles, with an average speed of 8.5 miles per hour.  The bicycles were moving for 5 hours and one minute.  It took us 8 hours, 50 minutes to do it. 

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