Put this one in the books! I think everyone was a little nervous last night at the prospect of 117 miles today. I know I was — and I had recently proved to myself that I could ride a century, with over 5,ooo’ of elevation gain without too much pain and suffering. For me it was the unknowns — Wind and Weather. It turned out that they were both our friends today. The wind was in our faces early on, but not very strong and then after our second climb it was a helping hand on our backs as it pushed us all the way in the last 50 or 60 miles.
Leo and I rode with Rod and Andrew again and we got a slight jump on everyone by picking up our own breakfast at the grocery store and eating it in our rooms. The official breakfast was at the same restaurant where we had dinner and we were concerned that with all of us trying to eat at the same time service might be kinda slow. I’d say we probably save anywhere from 30-45 minutes this way and got on the road in time to watch the sun come up over the hills. Here’s Leo greeting the day. Both of us ran with our bright red tail lights most of the morning.
There was a chill in the air as we started out and it was several hours before we were really warmed up. I wore long tights but went with short fingered gloves and just my GoLite wind shirt. I think Andrew was wishing he had it instead of me…. gotta keep my eyes on him as he’s a practical joker and a wit.
Today’s mental gymnastics was to count (and keep track of!) the road kill we passed. I’m trying to see if I can improve my memory while I’m out here with lots of time on my hands. I hate to say it, there was a LOT to keep track of. By the end of the day, I counted 4 deer (only counted the recent ones, not the piles of old, white bones), 2 skunks, 4 brown mounds that I couldn’t ID, 3 magpies, 1 red winged black bird, 2 racoons, 2 squirrels, 16 — yes, 16 snakes of various sizes and types, 1 prairie dog and 3 frogs. Whew!
Now, I also startled a couple of deer that bounded away when I pulled off onto the shoulder to take a photo…or was it to relieve myself (normally there are places with facilities, but occassionally we have to improvise) and I saw a doe and a very young fawn bound over several fences near a freshly cut hay field. There were hay fields along the valley until we started to climb up. And climb we did. Gradual, but long.
Leo and Andrew as they ascend the first climb.
The downhill was worth it! From the elevation profile, it’s clear that we got back more than we climbed and it felt it. That downhill went on forever! At the bottom our small band of riders came upon 4 guys with clipboards heading off the road up a creek bed. I stopped and asked them what they were up to (you know me, I’m infinitely curious and not terribly shy). Turns out, it is a college geology class doing learning how to do field research. They shared info about the spine of rocks nearby – that this s used to be a huge lava field and that some of the rock formation were probably 100,000 years old or more. I would have loved to talk with them longer, but there was this little thing about 117 miles to ride.
— I’m out of time for tonight — I’ll try to add a few more photos then update things as time permits.
Shoe tree. only 2 of us saw this — right on the side of the road!
…well, slow internet will limit me to this for now… I’m hoping to find time to update everything. Might be on the Boise rest day (in 3 days, I think). I brought a handful of electronic books to read too that I haven’t even cracked the virtual cover of yet!