- West Yellowstone, MT to Ashton, ID
- 63.7 miles
- 16.8 average speed (fastest this YEAR)
- Crossed Continental Divide
- 950 miles to date
What a difference a day makes. Today Mariah was working in our favor all day. (They call the wind Mariah) It makes riding a bike long distances so much easier to take. We are ever so grateful for days like today. And to top it off, it was a short, mostly downhill ride. A perfect combination.
Click photo to enlarge you may be able to see our first glimpse of the Tetons. We’ll cross Tetons Pass tomorrow.
The day started out particularly auspiciously when pancakes were being served for breakfast. I’ve been hankering for pancakes since this show started. That plus our protein drink and some oatmeal set us up well for the day. (Can you believe we regularly eat that large a breakfast? Calories count on the bike.) We knew the day would be short so we didn’t rush right out. That and we also knew the day was starting cold – 40 degrees. Why rush out into that?
At 8 miles we started the short 1.5 mile climb to the Continental Divide at 7,072′ elevation. It wasn’t too bad a climb and we had pretty well stripped off all our long tights, etc, by the time we summited. Then we enjoyed a ride down at breakneck speeds. Well, they’d be breakneck if I crashed the bike, but I didn’t. We only hit 42.8. In no time at all we were down and onto a long, long, long, slight downhill run.
Coming out of a water stop we chased down one of the other tandem teams, Dave and Michelle from Tucson. They were cruising at 22 and we took advantage of a short climb to catch them. Then the four of us took turns pulling from the front. We cruised up and down hills and along the flats blowing past all the singles we could find. After 9 miles of running with them we stopped for a pee break and said goodbye. It was splendid to team up with another tandem.
Today was a day for games. the route was easy. The winds were light or following winds. There was nothing to stop us from playing. We left the second water stop just ahead of some high performance types. We told them we’d be their rabbits if they gave us a 30 second head start. They came out quickly after us. We pushed to crest a small hill and burned all but one of them off. Then we all took a side road to Mesa Falls.
As we cruised up that road, we saw Erin pushing hard to catch us. We waited until he was almost to us, then hit the jets. Sheila stood up and we both applied maximum effort for about 90 seconds. We could hear him exclaim, “Awww, come on!” as we dropped him in the dust. But we were exhausted by the effort of jumping from 16 to 21 and he soon caught us and went by.
We dropped down to the lunch stop at Mesa Falls by 11 AM. We were 50 miles into a 64 mile day and it was still morning. We took a long break. We meditated in the woods. We visited. We swapped stories. We ate. We only had 13 miles to ride. and quite a bit of that was downhill.We’d been here in 2008 on Ride Idaho.
We got in earlier than ever. It was the shortest ride of the tour in terms of time in saddle. We’ve had showers and probably will have this blog posted by 3:30. It’s amazing what a difference the wind makes.