Double, double toil and trouble summarizes my dilemma.
The plan is to do a reconnaissance ride of Haute Route Utah, writing an article with insights for prospective riders. It is either that or spend untold hours accompanying my wife to the Utah Shakespeare Festival at Southern Utah University.
Even though it's the Tour de France of Shakespeare festivals, this is a no-brainer, especially since I barely passed 8th grade Shakespeare.
Reaching out to Haute Route to get course details seems like a win-win-win scenario - Haute Route Utah gets media exposure, riders get Pro Bucket Rider course tips, and most importantly, I won't be bored listening to bards.
But double toil and trouble is in the details, the lack of Haute Route Utah stage details as my trifling request falls on deaf ears.
So, I sit in Cedar City destined to be a foolish wit unless I come up with plan B, or plan BYO.
A Build Your Own epic 3-day ride, BYO Ute Route. Fortunately, even an 8th grade Shakespeare failure can put together three days of riding in a strange town using Strava, MapMyRide, and RideWithGPS.
If you're looking for a Ride Like A Pro Bucket Rider experience, my Ute Route is a good start. It's my idea of a great weekend of epic road riding in Southern Utah.
Cedar City is base for all three stages. Although two hours from somewhere (Las Vegas or Salt Lake City), it offers a friendly small-town format with hotels, restaurants, groceries, bakeries, coffee shops, retail and medical all right on Main Street.
For dinner I recommend mole chicken enchiladas at Brody's. If you need a bike shop Cedar Cycle is it. Get pre-ride caffeine at The Grind House and post-ride treats from the old fashion soda fountain in Bulluch's.
Keep in mind grocery and convenience stores sell 3.2% mainstream beer. Good beer is found at state liquor stores. A local Hop Nosh IPA really hits the spot after stage 3.
On the bike use common sense - lots of it. These are long tough rides on public roads between 5500 - 10500' including steep climbs and descents, changing weather conditions, and limited cell coverage. Make sure you and your equipment are thoroughly prepared, always wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.
STAGE 1 Right Hand Canyon Hill Climb, 12.8 miles (one way) 3350' climbing
Ride up Highway 14 for 5 miles on a "flat" 3% section. At Right Hand Canyon turn right, cross river and start climbing into forest. Settle in for a long 4-mile grind averaging 7.6% with some bits 11%.
Final 3.8 miles on the west face of the mountain offers stunning 100-mile Utah and Nevada views. This section averages 6% with a few tough 14% ramps. Aspen groves and lava fields indicate the finish is near - at the "Y" with a sign where pavement ends.
STAGE 2: Panguitch Desperado Duel, 109 miles 3200' climbing
Thankfully, I had the opportunity to use Desperado Duel for stage 2. Read my review here. It is a fantastic event and course only one-hour drive from Cedar City.
STAGE 3: Cedar Breaks/Duck Creek Loop, 90 miles 8900' climbing
Start again at Cedar City's Main & Center to circumnavigate Cedar Breaks National Monument on a challenging UCI ProTeam route used four times in the Tour of Utah, including 2018.
Unless you brought a soigneur, plan store stops in Parowan (mile 19), Brian Head (31) and Duck Creek (60).
Head north on Main Street, taking Old Highway 91 to Parowan. Summit is halfway to Parowan, but it is a false summit 5,000' below Brian Head Ski Resort looming off to the right. Warmup, the Brian Head beatdown is coming.
At the 10,626' summit continue downhill 10-miles and turn right on FM050. The next 15 miles is a theme park roller-coaster of ups and downs through pine forest and over black rock lava. At the end of the ride turn right to Duck Creek Village.
Only 1,500 feet of climbing remain over the next 12-miles, so it's a piece of cake compared the 7,400' already conquered. At the top look left to see the majestic red and white monoliths of Zion National Park on the horizon.
The state liquor store is over by Home Depot...
He writes about his Bucket Rides in all their variety and glory for Granfondo.com. See his pieces here