No craft brewery stops today, just the endurance of pain while climbing up steep hills shortly after leaving Placerville, CA. Then the steep hills stretched out to become steep mountains, and in no time I was biking on the Mormon Emigrant Trail. What’s great about this particular highway is that there is a wide shoulder and few cars bolt up and down the road. But they can’t really bolt, because the speed limit is 45mph.
About the Mormon Emigrant Trail, why the highway has that name….After spending the winter of 1847-48 in Northern California at the request of Brigham Young, the former members of the Mormon Battalion began to make preparations for leaving to find their families that they had not seen for almost two years. Many had been working gold claims and could have stayed and become wealthy, but finding their families and rejoining the main body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the most important thing to them. So they took off over 150 miles by wagon, and of course very difficult conditions. This highway follows the route they took back to Utah.
Back to the “fun” of constant hill-climbing. After about 20 miles, the steepness became so ridiculous that I was off my seat pumping hard, refusing to get off and walk. I didn’t get off the bike, but I paid a price, as I had to take breaks every three miles or so. It was a mental challenge…a test. Each time I climbed a hill and came to the top, I would look up only to find yet another steep hill ahead of me. It’s like taking another blow to the stomach (or in this case, the thighs). It was almost demoralizing, but I just kept going. Then I got very low on water, and finally, I was out. At that point, I saw Matt drive right be me—what!? But he didn’t see me b/c I veered off the road for a second, checking out a possible place for us to camp for the night. I called him and told him to wait, as I needed water. He did, and when I came over the hill, Matt took some footage of me laboring up the mountain. I tried to portray someone who was fresh, and hadn’t burned his thighs most of the day.
Since it was beginning to get dark, Matt and I agreed to find a campsite. We found one close by, pitched our tents and pretty much hit the sack soon after. I was exhausted, but loved being so high up in the mountains (about 7,000 ft.).