Day 16 - Jackson to Dubois WY
Mileage: 53 miles
Weather: Mid 50s to start. Low 60s to end. Winds were a mixed bag. Periodic rain to end.
Highlights of the day:
It was crisp and clear this morning. We had beautiful blue skies with a few clouds. Temps were a bit chilly but forecast said it would warm throughout the day. It did, for a while, details to follow. We started today off with a shuttle through Teton National Park. Using our 3 vans and two scheduled shuttle runs, we were able to get our entire tour - riders and bikes - up the road to start just outside the park. We all got a good long look at the Tetons on our left from in the vans and continued to enjoy their majestic beauty over our shoulders once we got on our bikes.
The riders headed up almost immediately after they started riding. Today’s high point? Togwotee Pass (pronounced toe’-guh-dee) and the Continental Divide, at 9,650’, the highest elevation for the trip. On paper, this climb was not as difficult as Teton Pass but after 8 days on the bike and 5500’ of climbing yesterday, many riders felt that “gentler ascent” was a real challenge. The weather didn’t exactly help.
The wind that has been so friendly for most of the tour had other ideas today. At times, the wind was our friend and helped push us up the hill. Then the clouds came in and the winds picked up, buffeting around the mountains. Some of the time they were helpful but other times they were in our face. Then there was the rain. Yup, our perfect record of no rain while riding has come to an end. The clear blue skies of the morning disappeared to be replaced with something much more gray and ominous. The temperatures dropped back down into the low 50s and rain, with the occasional hail, blew across our route. Depending on where you were, it ranged from not much to talk about to stories of trying to find cover from the wind, rain, and hail.
After the summit, the route is primarily downhill into the hotel. The initial downhill off the summit is not all that technical but the riders approached it with a little more caution due to the weather. For the last 20 miles into town, the wind provided a little push and the rain provided a bit more inspiration for the riders to get ‘er done. Everyone made it safely into the hotel and most everyone ended the day cleaning their bikes.