Sunday: 79 miles, 2444’ gain
Our introduction to riding in Idaho came on Sunday. The plan was to ride to St. Anthony, about 79 miles away. Of course, it is actually lots closer than that. The organizers must be randoneurs because they inserted a monster hill into what would have been a flat ride. The ride started at 4800’ elevation and ended at 5000’. It was just that stretch from mile 10 to mile 15, note the peak in the profile, left.
It was a hill. It was a pretty steady 5% grade with portions exceeding 10%. We just trundled along. We weren’t trying to race anyone up it, that’s for sure. At the top was one of the support staff dressed in a naval officer’s uniform, white gloves and all. He cheered us on as we rolled into the rest area at the summit, 6200’.
From there we could see we were in a wind-farm. Huge turbines slowly spun on the hillsides around us. We refreshed ourselves. It seemed so civilized to have porta-potties available at each rest area. Mind you, climbing into a blue room on a trailer can cause rocking motions which might disturb the occupant of the adjoining room, but them’s the breaks.
Now we had the pleasure of rocketing down the back side of the hill. We zipped through some rollers then got into the real descent. Without working hard we broke 50 mph. It was grand. The joys of riding a tandem.
The rest of the day was pretty flat rolling through grain fields mostly. I don’t know if it was hay or barley or wheat. It was just large circular fields irrigated by enormous moving sprinklers. We mostly had cross- or tailwinds so that was nice.
We were on one stretch, all alone, minding our own business, going about 17 mph around 70 miles into the ride. We looked in our mirrors and saw a blue streak approaching. Three or four guys blasted past us like we were standing still. They had matching team kits on so we knew this was a group to watch out for. Turns out they were from the Reel Theatre team in Boise.
The group camped at a high school and we went half a mile into town for a hotel. Dinner for them was ribs, potatoes, corn on the cob, and ice cream. We got the potatoes and corn and iceberg lettuce salads. It was the first of many not-so-good meals. We’d talked with the organizers ahead of time and thought we were going to be taken care of. We’d brought some food to put on the refrigerator truck just in case. It turned out to be a good thing.
After the meal there was some excitement when the sprinklers at the high school went on. Yipes! Suddenly people were dragging tents, sleeping bags and lawn chairs out away from the deluge. Fortunately it was just in one area and the sheriff got the coach to come in and turn them all off. He was appropriately chagrined. He thought they were all off. We walked back to our hotel for a good night’s rest.