Monday: 83 miles, 4248’ elevation gain
We had a mass start on Monday because they wanted us to cross a major roadway in a bunch shortly after rush hour. (Rush hour? In St. Anthony? population 3,375?) We had a fun time passing and re-passing groups of cyclists. It’s just the way it works when you are a tandem in a group of singles. Eventually we started up the climb to Mesa Falls.
It was a gentle climb for the better part of the 9 miles. Mostly around 4%. At the top we had to drop steeply down to the park at the falls. We knew people were going to be unhappy with that on the return!
But the falls were gorgeous. We had to hike about a quarter mile to see them. We didn’t bring other shoes and Sheila’s left leg problem flared up again. She couldn’t hike all the way down, so I went with the new camera and got some spectacular closeup shots.
We climbed out from the falls, then dropped to the overlook for Lower Mesa Falls. We rode all the way to the viewpoint. It was a lovely view with the whole of the gorge there. Then we flew down to return to the road to Driggs.
That road to Driggs was tough. Up and down, up and down. Steep grades of 9 and 10% either direction. It was a lot of work. By now we were feeling the effect of having never ridden two long days in a row during the season. And here we were doing back to back 80+ mile days. Yikes. The heat that was blasting the rest of the west was absent though. We only got up to 85 or so. We were pleased with that.
We had wonderful views of the Teton Mountains, although there was a bit too much haze to see them as clearly as we would have liked.
The last 7 miles were pretty much level, at last. We were tired though. That’s when we got a boost from a guy named Eric and his partner. He was a big, tall, and strong guy who jumped on our tail as we went by them in the little town of Tetonia. We stepped it up to pull them. Then he came around and started pulling us. Then she pulled us. Then we took another turn. We were really moving, around 20 mph. But we couldn’t hold on to them. We let them go, but now kept our average up over 17. We needed their inspiration!
Another high school for the campers, but for us it was a hotel in Driggs. It was nearly across the street from a health food store. After we had a hot tub, we stocked up on some roll-ups for the next day’s lunch and even got some Coconut Bliss frozen dessert. Yum! We ate at a vegetarian restaurant that had fabulous food. Driggs is quite the happening place for vegans.
We didn’t eat our Coconut Bliss until we returned to the hotel. The hotel keeper shared bowls and silver and some of her homemade cobbler with us. We gave her a sample of the Bliss in return. Lots of happy tongues that night.