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The City Café

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By Susan Wood

50 miles on I-15 is really nothing.  Unless you’re stuck in rush hour traffic or diverted onto a Utah County farm exit by errant orange barrels, Provo is just a stone’s throw away from Salt Lake City. (Stone, rocket launcher, whatever.)

But To a Ute or a Cougar, there is proverbial dividing point along I-15 at the county boundary.  It’s Utah’s own Mason-Dixon Line.  Instead of blue versus gray, it’s blue versus red.  Utah has had its own line in the sand since the late 1800’s, when BYU was BYA and Utah was the Deseret Academy.

As a symbolic gesture, a friendly wager and a genuine effort of good will, Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker and Provo Mayor John Curtis are crossing that line in unison…. or thereabouts.

This rival ride is the Salt Lake/Provo City version of wagers like those we’ve heard so much about during Superbowls and World Series games. It’s like trading cheddar cheese plates for clam chowder bowl, bratwurst for barbeque, or roping one city official to sing his rival’s fight song mid-field.

For the fourth season in a row, Mayors Curtis and Becker will pedal away for their rivalry ride. Since the “U” won the last football game against the “Y,” The route will lead into Salt Lake City.  (Basically, it’s nearly all uphill on this one and some inner-office fans believe Mayor Becker may have the advantage.)  The route isn’t a straight shot this year, either (Check it out here).  Due to highway construction, the cyclists will be peddling through neighborhoods and traveling some winding bike paths.

Now, here’s the big warm-fuzzy part.  Unlike large crowds of high school lineman waiting to do the Haka (as demonstrated here) to revel in victory, everybody’s a winner in this cycling competition.  Riders are contributing cash to a cause that affects every city. Dollars will be donated to provide food to the less fortunate.  Organizers figure each dollar can generate seven times the value in actual food purchases.

Be ready to ride at Provo’s City Hall, 351 West Center at 9:00.  Gear up for the finish line several hours later at the SLC City and County Building.


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