Day 14 - Pocatello to Idaho Falls ID
Mileage: 65 miles
Weather: Upper 50s to start. Low 80s to end. Bright blue skies with a few clouds. Tailwinds all the way to the hotel.
Highlights of the day:
We started the day with a group ABC Quick check. It was a repeat of what we did waaaay back in St Helens. After nearly 1000 miles, it’s time to recheck critical systems on the bicycle. Rob walked us all through a hands on session with our own bikes. The goal is to make sure everyone is set for safe climbing and descending over the next couple of days. Identify issues now that can be resolved before we encounter the Tetons.
We had tailwinds today! After all the hard work riding into the winds, the riders were more than happy to take the assist from Mother Nature. Riders flew into and out of the one SAG stop. That said, I think some of the riders had an ulterior motive to get to the hotel a little early today. The Women’s World Cup final game was on and we have quite the crew of avid soccer fans.
We gave up the frontage road in favor of farm roads. The route zigzagged through field after field of crops. Mostly wheat and potatoes. It’s Idaho, we had to see potatoes. The fields of spuds had different color flowers. We came to the non-scientific conclusion that the red flowers are for red potatoes, the purple flowers are for purple potatoes, and the white flours are for white potatoes. Researching it after we got in today, it seems there might be a thread of truth in it. I found this tidbit on the Internet, so it has be true! 🙂
We started the morning with about 10 miles of “kah-dunk kah-dunk” roads. They were mostly cement with seams and big gaps. Riders tried to find their way around them but often times, it was a case of relax and just take it. A right turn at mile 17 brought some welcome relief. We found more chip seal but the good kind - not the rough new stuff or the old cracked version like we had yesterday. This chip seal was old and smooooth. It might seem odd for those of you new to or unfamiliar with bicycle touring but the discussion of road conditions are very serious!
And then there were the dogs. Lots of dogs. Dogs that hide along the side of the road and run after anything on wheels. They came out of houses, farms and fields. Fortunately, there was no reported contact, just a big adrenaline rush associated with a small (or not so small) barking animal making a bee-line towards one’s bike. We tried to strategically place the support vans and staff to help distract or dissuade a few from the chase. Standing at the end of their driveway seemed to keep a set of three from running. We joked that they will probably gather tonight and commiserate about how we ruined the day they were planning to chase after 42 cyclists.
One SAG stop divided today’s ride. The second half continued through farmland with occasional views of the Snake River - wide and calm, reflecting the sun. Coming into Idaho Falls we rode along the Snake River right at the town’s namesake, Idaho Falls. It’s not the huge spectacle of Niagara Falls but a quieter beauty that can be enjoyed on the bike paths that border both banks of the river.
Today was a well-timed “active recovery” day. Lower mileage and into the hotel early. Tonight we need to sleep well for tomorrow we will climb!