Friends brave elements in Saints to Sinners relay

photo courtesy Fawn Bowles
Team members (L-R): Mike Bowles, Fawn Bowles, Ben Robinson, Melissa Spencer, Megan Anderson and van driver Travis Lewis flex their muscles at the end of the Saints to Sinners race from Salt Lake to Las Vegas.

MT. PLEASANT—Five friends from Mt. Pleasant faced wind, rain, cold, hills and heat as they participated in the Saints to Sinners bike relay July 30 and 31.

Bicyclists Mike Bowles, Fawn Bowles, Ben Robinson, Melissa Spencer and Megan Anderson traveled a combined 516 miles over three states. 

The race started at 5 a.m. in West Jordan on Friday July 30 and until they reached the Las Vegas finish line, one of the five riders was on the road at all times. Rest came in the support vehicle that accompanied them.

“Most teams have ten riders total but we opted for a team made up of five riders,” said team member Megan Anderson.  “We each rode three times.”

Megan said that in the many years they have raced, they have learned that they must start out with a team prayer. “We have been protected and guided when crazy things have come our way,” she said. “This race was no exception.”

The first leg nearly ended in disaster. It was dark and pouring rain. Mike was riding in a group of five when they came into an intersection that had construction going on. The road was covered in gravel and large cement chunks. Mike was able to stay upright but all of his gear including his phone went flying. One of the other riders was not so lucky with a wheel being destroyed. All five riders had to stop to gather their scattered gear on the road in the rain.

On Ben’s first leg the team drove past and stopped to support him. They then noticed him running next to his bike. It was quickly discovered that not only had he ran over a screw, but it had also gone through the side wall and cut up about 3” of his rim. 

The tire, tube and possibly rim looked destroyed. The team got Ben on another bike and got to work. Melissa had a tiny metal fingernail file. Megan removed the tire and tube and began filing the metal rim to remove all the rough metal. After about 20 minutes Megan had the tire and tube replaced. 

“It was a success,” Megan said. “Ben’s tire and rim held up for the rest of the race, miracles.” 

photo courtesy Fawn Bowles
Racer Megan Anderson participates in her leg of the Saints to Sinners race in a much needed rain storm.

During the race there were reports of flash flooding coming down off of Cedar Breaks. Ben had to ride that road in the dark not knowing what would be around every turn. “Good thing he loves an adventure”. 

Fawn had one of the hardest climbing legs in the race and in the dark. This stretch of the race was up to Panguitch Lake and then up the back side of Cedar Mountain. The team stayed close in their van and she conquered that mountain.

On the final day in Nevada the heat steadily climbed. If riding hills in the dessert isn’t tough enough, add temperatures over 100 degrees and things get dicey. 

Ben, Melissa and Megan were the final three riders that took on the blazing hot Las Vegas heat. 

“It was hard to watch them have to dig deep and push through the heat,” said Fawn. “They did amazing. “

The other riders stayed close to their teammates providing them with ice, water and cold towels to keep their temperatures down. Even with all of the precautions, there was still some heat exhaustion at the end of the race.

The race was completed for the team on Saturday, July 31 at 1:50 p.m. It took the team 32 hours and 50 minutes to complete.