Saddle Slingers First Century Ride

Written by Kate Thayer, on June 11, 2022

On Sunday, May 22nd, Saddle Slingers Madi and KJ set out to do their first century ride. A century ride is defined as a bike ride over 100 miles. Seeing as the ENVE Grodeo ride is about 100 miles, they figured a ride like this would be a great opportunity to see where their fitness is at. After all, there’s not much better training - provided you have the time - than to simply get out and ride.

screen shot of a strava route from salt lake city to a point near wyoming

Tell Us About Your Bike Ride From Salt Lake City 

Madi: Utah is SO BEAUTIFUL! We started riding in the morning, probably not quite early enough for how far we set a goal to ride. We wanted to make it to Wyoming, about 140 miles away from Contender on 9th and 9th in Salt Lake City. Our route was pretty straightforward, the first half being on roads we ride up almost once a week. We took Emigration up and over Big Mountain, and then stayed straight going on the road to Henefer. I loved that little town, so quaint with the beautiful mountains and Echo Reservoir so close by. Then we were on the road towards Coalville. After being turned down for water at a popular local restaurant, we went to the famous Chevron gas station to refill our water and take our first “break.” 

It was really nice to take a breather and stretch a bit, but it didn’t last for long. I could feel myself becoming too comfortable with sitting and it was getting harder and harder by the second to stand up and keep riding. Recognizing that too much time sitting would only result in zero motivation to get up and go, we managed to get back on the bikes. We rode to the 38 Special farm, about 15 miles from the Wyoming border. When we did stop, we realized we’d had a tailwind the entire way from the bottom of Emigration to where we currently stood, over 50 miles from our start. We decided then that it would be a good turn around point, given that we had to get home. The way home was a hard push against the headwind, and we pacelined almost all the way back to Henefer. 

KJ: Our first Century!!!! WOOT WOOT. 

Sunday, May 22. A crisp morning. We started at Contender around 8:30 AM and had ambitious goals ahead of us to get to Wyoming. We started our climb up Emigration Canyon, over Big Mountain and around East Canyon Reservoir, then headed through Henefer, Lake Echo, and Coalville. It was so beautiful. With the tiny towns stretched out with miles and miles of open roads, ranches, and forests in between I felt right at home. Being outside on two wheels with miles and miles to go go go: that’s happiness. 

two road bikers cycling away from the camera on a road that overlooks the mountains

What'd you think? Highlights? Lowlights?

Madi:  The lowlight of the ride came as we climbed back up and over the backside of Big Mountain. It was a mile of the most gradual, un-gradual climb to very steep switchbacks for 2.5 miles up to the top. The first mile was the hardest, I had to get off of my bike and fume for a minute before I could get back on my bike and get the rest of the way to the top. The way home was cold, but all downhill…

KJ: The highlight of the ride was seeing all of the cows. It’s no secret that Madi and I loved the cows at The Wild Horse race and guess what?! More cows on this route too! Seeing the rough, untouched, and unique high desert of Utah was my absolute favorite. Even though I have lived in Utah my whole life I never get tired of seeing the rolling hills of sagebrush and scrub oak. Being so far away from the city, there weren’t very many cars which made for open roads and a relaxing ride. 

This was the biggest ride both Madi and I had ever done, and I think both of us were a little nervous to start out. I think the worst part about that ride was after stopping at a gas station to fill up water and getting back on the bike I felt SO SORE. It took a minute for my body to get warmed up again. 

two women taking a break from their road ride on the should er of the road. one is sitting down stretching. The other is standing and eating a banana.

 Things you'd change?

Madi: Things I would change are going up the backside of Big Mountain, it would be fun to have gone around Jeremy Ranch and whipped back around to only ride up Emigration Canyon. It would have also been nice to start earlier and eat a big lunch. 

KJ:  Something I would have changed is the amount of food I brought. I definitely overpacked on nutrition, although better to overpack than under-pack. I packed 2 bananas, 2 Clif protein bars, 3 Skratch drink packets, 5 packets of Honey Stinger gummies and 4 Skratch bars. On the up-side, it was good practice for the Grodeo, to understand how much I eat during long rides. (See more on how the Saddle Slingers fuel up for their rides here.)

I also would have liked to start the ride earlier so we could have avoided the storm that rolled in as we came back through Emigration. 

Advice for people looking to do their first century?

Madi: Advice for people doing their first century: just get out and DO IT, these long rides are fun and tremendously rewarding.

KJ: For people who are about to do their first century or even just a longer ride, I’d say go with people and have fun! Enjoy the ride and take your time: the miles will fly by! 

How y'all feeling going into the Grodeo?

Madi: I am feeling pretty good about the Grodeo. I am excited to ride around Northern Utah more than I have before! I’m looking forward to riding with KJ more and seeing where our teamwork takes us. 

KJ: This ride definitely gave us more confidence and peace of mind going into the Grodeo knowing that we’re capable of long, hard miles on the bike.

strava stats of saddle slingers century ridestrava stats from saddle slingers century ride

 

CONCLUSION 

If you've been creeping up your mileage and you've got your sights set on triple digits, get out there and give it a go! Make it a fun experience with proper nutrition, good company, and scenic views. At the end of the day the best training is time in the saddle. 


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