Teams see each other to the finish line in ‘Salt to Saint’ cycling relay

Team RedRock comes in first at Salt to Saint bicycle relay that began in Salt Lake City and ended at Bloomington Park Saturday, St. George, Utah, Sept. 23, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers

ST. GEORGE  – Hundreds of cyclists saddled up to participate in a 426-mile epic race to test their endurance, skill and teamwork as they pedaled across the state in the 13th annual “Salt to Saint” bicycling event.

Teams crossing the finish line during Salt to Saint bicycle relay that began in Salt Lake City and ended at Bloomington Park Saturday, St. George, Utah, Sept. 23, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers

Beginning Friday in Salt Lake City and culminating Saturday in St. George, the Salt to Saint relay encourages cyclists of all abilities to cross the finish line. With only a handful of riders the first year, it has now grown to more than 800 riders on 135 teams.

Cyclists finished the race throughout the day Saturday at Bloomington Park, 650 Man O War Rd., where booths were set up and participation medals were given to all who completed the relay.

“This year Team RedRock was the first to cross the finish line at approximately 6:20 a.m.,” T.J Stone said, “and we are still waiting for about 50 teams to come in.”

For Team RedRock, it was an adventure.

135 teams participated in the Salt to Saint bicycle relay that began in Salt Lake City and ended at Bloomington Park Saturday, St. George, Utah, Sept. 23, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers

“We were riding in the rain, we went into a flood zone – had a broken bike so we had to share bikes and then had a flat tire,” Brook Mickelson, appointed spokesperson for Team RedRock, said.

Mickelson said “we still love each other,” even after spending so much together in a van.

The Utah National Guard’s four-rider team was the second to cross the finish line, while another four-rider team, the Salted Saints, finished third.

The Salt to Saint relay is made up of teams of eight, four or two riders who see each other through 24 legs of the 426 mile trek along back roads through Utah. At the start of the relay, the teams leave in waves and must cross the finish line before the cutoff time of 34.5 hours, on a mission to get to the finish line as fast as possible using strategies developed by the team members.

L-R: Tayte and Briedon Scott hand out medals to riders during Salt to Saint bicycle relay that began in Salt Lake City and ended at Bloomington Park Saturday, St. George, Utah, Sept. 23, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers

There is also a solo category for those up for the challenge.

The relay’s humble beginnings began in 2004 when Geoffrey Montague and Jeff Winger set out to ride their bikes from Utah Valley to St. George, using only a small backpack, a box of energy bars and a couple of rain jackets, according to information from the relay website.

The relay’s subsequent growth resulted from social media, bike groups or clubs and word-of-mouth.

This year, the race was tracked using the “Salt to Saint 2017 Live Tracker,” which shows the route, average miles crossed, speed, elevation, the location of each team and other information throughout the relay.

The St. George News/OLWM eight-member team began the relay in the 10 a.m. wave from Salt Lake and crossed the finish line at 12:20 p.m. at Bloomington Park Saturday, the 86th team to complete the course.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.  

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Caveat_Emptor September 25, 2017 at 8:20 am

    When you look at their route map, these folks traveled mainly on narrow, regional roads, with a couple exceptions.
    I am assuming that the organizers are able to protect the riders with well marked / illuminated trailing vehicles, especially along those miles where the shoulder all but disappears.
    Let’s face it, based on the frequency of automobile accidents due to inattentive drivers, reported on these pages of the SG News, Washington County seems to present a unique danger…..

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