Cycling Date: Monday 29-June-15
Mileage: 90 miles
Weather: Upper 60s to start. Upper 80s to end. Sunny. Strong headwinds for the first 30 miles. Variable winds for the remainder.
Highlights of the day:
This day is known for its early headwinds and we were not disappointed. Based on my non-existent meteorological training, it seems the winds come down off the mountains and directly into the faces of the cyclist. However, after an amazing descent around mile 36, we were treated to a beautiful vista of mountains & the Snake River and calmer winds.
Our first SAG stop was at a rest area that overlooked the Snake River. Hills, water, sunshine – stunning. We climbed a bit and then descended quickly to ride along the Snake River. Stunning! It’s repetitive but accurate. A left turn onto Rte 31 brought us to the first big climb of the day – Pine Creek Summit @ 6764’. I would describe this as a relatively gradual 14-mile climb – mostly 4-6 percent with a few kicks up to 8 percent. Beautiful vistas. Oh and black flies. Dang were they ever out in droves. (Can flies be in droves?) I felt a little like Pig Pen on the climb as they swarmed about me on the ascent. And then there was the descent into Victor. Non-technical. Good roads. FAST!
Victor provided a brief pause to refuel before the signature climb of the tour. Teton Pass @ 8431’. It starts off innocently enough out of Victor. At 1-2 percent, it’s almost as if you’re not climbing. The Wyoming state line (our second state line of the tour), complete with a big sign and many pictures, marks the start of the “real” climb just over 5 miles outside of Victor. The next 6.6 miles definitely challenged the riders. The grade gradually increased each mile with the last two miles topping out at just over 10 percent. Legs and drivetrains were tested.
The last 10 miles were primarily downhill. The first 5 of these were steep and technical with tight corners and rippled pavement. This portion of the day was discussed in depth and with focused seriousness at last nights route rap. It was not a time for the riders to push their comfort zone or see just how fast they could descend. I am very pleased to report that all riders descended safely and drank in the amazing scenery, stopping to take a picture or two.
For now, the riders are under strict orders to hydrate, refuel, and rest. They will need all three for tomorrow we climb again.