Jul 02

Riding the range

by in Week 3

Teton panorama

  • Jackson to Dubois (Doo-BOYZ)
  • 92.4 miles (1114 total)
  • Togwotee Pass – 9575′
  • Feeling the altitude
  • Sunny to cloudy

After our rest day in Jackson, we were ready to get a closer look at the Tetons. We set off early, about 7 AM. It was bike path for almost the first 30 miles. So nice not to have to worry about people in rented RV Buses. We spotted two more moose, these with full racks on. We talked to lots of folks about our trip, some just at the visitor center to the park, some who were traveling fully loaded on their own excursions.

Entering Grand Teton Park

2 moose at Teton Park

bike on cheese

We saw the cutest sign on the bike path – Bike on Cheese. Of course, when we see a truck on Cheese sign, it means an extended grade at 6% or more. The bike on cheese sign meant we’d go downhill slightly less steep than a ramp in a car park for about the same distance as a ramp in a car park. Pretty silly.

Every time we turned a corner we thought we were seeing a better view of the great peaks. And it was true. We’ve left a dozen of those pictures on the cutting room floor. The view just kept getting better and better. Words fail. Pictures do too, but here are our best attempts.

After a long 47 miles, we made it to the lunch stop. This proved to be a pivotal part of the day. We planned on a short lunch because there was a huge climb in the afternoon. But there was road construction. We were told to wait for a van to be shuttled around. So we waited for most of an hour. Then we were told the construction people had come up with an alternative for us and we should just go. We were a little stiff by then, but we shoved off.

Three miles up the road (and I mean UP), we found our alternative. They literally piled 7 of us and our bikes on a flat bed trailer with no rails and drove us up through the construction. The road was completely gone, all dirt and bumps and gravel. Huge moving machines ground away around us as we went further up the pass. After 3.5 rather hair-raising miles, they let us out on asphalt pavement again. Huzzah!

Of course that just meant we were to continue a 15 mile climb to the summit. It was a slow slog. When we would stop for water, we’d be attacked by mosquitoes. About 5 miles from the top, I left two of our four water bottles at a water station. Ooops. We survived and they showed up at the finish line.

Eventually we got to the top of Togwotee Pass, 9,575′ up. I’m pretty sure that Togwotee is the native word for “Place where mosquitos can suck a man dry in two minutes”. It was intense, even for me who doesn’t react to mosquito bites. Sheila, who swells up for weeks with every nip, was covered. We quickly split. Fotunately they can’t fly at 45 mph, which was a pretty steady speed for us for quite a while.

Lots and lots of down eventually led us to a sagebrush plain that looked like it belonged in Arizona. The last ten miles seemed endless because the wind was in our faces and we were getting tired. It had been a long day. Fortunately, the last 4 miles went back to downhill and tailwinds. Finding the Daily Donut just two blocks before our school was like heaven. then we saw the Jackalope that ushered us to the school doors. We’d made it. We even had time for a shower before dinner. Yay! As I look around the gym I see at least 7 bodies completely crashed out on their beds. It was a tough day, but incredibly beautiful. A ride to remember.

 

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6 Responses to “Riding the range”

  1. From Pat:

    What a day and what sights!

    Kathy and I missed having you at NWTR this year.

    Posted on Jul 2, 2012 at 9:13 pm #
  2. From Russ:

    The Tetons are truly amazing, and the bike trail out of Jackson looked wonderful when we were there just short of a month ago. Sounds like you might be getting past all the serious climbs. Be safe.

    Posted on Jul 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm #
    • From S2Cycle:

      Russ, We’d like to think we were done with our serious climbing. However, on Thursday of this week we have a day which is slated for 90 miles and 9,000′ of elevation gain. That is going to be one tough day. We’ll be going from Worland to Buffalo, WY. Keep watching. It’ll be an interesting report. Then we have lots of climbing until we get through South Dakota. After that, yes, it’ll be flat.

      Posted on Jul 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm #
  3. From Daria:

    Reading your report of the that day’s ride makes me so want to be there and take in all the sights of our beautiful country…..but sigh, I am not a strong cyclist. The next best thing is reading about your adventure and looking at the pictures.I had to chuckle at the one of you all on the flatbead.Here’s wishing that the cycling gods provide you with the best weather and that the road is smooth from now on. Stay healthy, ride safe and as I keep saying to Ric Hart….I hope to see you all in Lake Placid. Keep on pedaling!

    Posted on Jul 3, 2012 at 11:24 am #
  4. From Tom Crawford:

    How is Ted Koziel?Minnesota and Wisconsin are awesome.Be sure to stop at Bronners christmas shop in Frankenmuth Mich.

    Posted on Jul 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm #
    • From S2Cycle:

      Ted’s doing great. He’s like the Energizer Bunny. He just keeps going and going and going. We’ll watch for Bronners.

      Posted on Jul 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm #