Parowan Gap Petroglyphs during Ride the Gap Bike Race

Cycling Race Recap: Ride the Gap, Parowan, UT 2018

Ride The Gap is a multi-distance bike race in Parowan, Utah, organized by Red Rock Bicycle Company out of St. George. With distances from 30 to 100 miles, it’s a great race for those who love the desert southwest and ancient history. The course has some mild inclines, but nothing terrifying. Ride The Gap has a great hometown feel.

Pre-race

My husband and I drove up to Utah Friday afternoon, registered last-minute, and hit our hotel in Cedar City. There was mention of an ice cream social, but we missed it. 🙁

We got to the race site about half an hour before start, checked bikes, got situated and enjoyed the recorded music of odd cover bands and MC Hammer. It was a crisp morning, but as the sun came out it warmed up to just the right temperature.

Miles 1 to 27

Beautiful downhill with minor rolling hills. There was an antique car event in Parowan, so we saw a line of classics coming in to town as we were leaving. Fantastic.

The course flattens out a little, passing by farms and getting the red rock the area is famous for in the background. Great scenery and a pleasant ride, making good time – 17 MPH on the flats is fast for us! Unfortunately, the rough blacktop-like terrain is not so good to my brand new handlebar camera mount, which gives up the ghost in the first 10 miles and sends my camera flying. I went and got it, but had no way to record. 😐

Miles 27 to 40

Out in the country, on flats, red rocks far away – the wind comes. Our picture-perfect sunshiny day becomes a struggle. Finally tell my husband to take the lead for once and get miles of heavenly drafting. And then a slight hill, maybe 2% grade, just enough to throw me off my groove. I catch up eventually.

Second aid station has 80s hair band music (win!), tater tots (double win!), fresh chocolate chip cookies and watermelon. Just the right thing before the end of the race.

Miles 40 to 55

According to the topo, the race was supposed to end with an incline, so we had to save some strength for that. 2 miles after the aid station is the Parowan Gap, a narrow path between two hulking mountains that has been used by Native Americans for centuries. They’ve left their traces in amazing petroglyph art. We’ve seen quite a bit of petroglyphs, but these were absolutely stunning – a full sunrise/sunset etched in stone thousands of years ago.

Then there was nothing to do but finish. We awaited this big incline with great trepidation. We were greeted with a winding path through the brush-covered hills, sometimes coming on sandstone bluffs. Another bout of amazing scenery before getting back to more open ground. With 8 miles to go, we slogged through flats bordering fields and farms. We are pretty pooped by now, and mutually encouraging each other with miles down. Once we see the freeway, we know we’re not far. Finally, in town, we know it’s less than 2 miles. Still no big incline. Derp, should’ve looked at the topo scale. 🙂

We were rung in with cowbells and given our medals by the organizers’ kids.

Post-race

Nice lunch of pulled pork and fixins, soda, no beer (it’s Utah). Friendly volunteers and plenty of talkative riders. 9/10 due to terrain and camera mount breaking, would do again.

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