My ride is over, but the memories will last forever.

A life long dream fulfilled ... a great cause ... new friends ... amazing support

Thanks to everyone who helped make a difference!

I have maxed out the picture space on this blog. To see my postings for Day 42 (August 1st) onward click the link below:

GOTO Mark's Trek - NEW Daily BLOG (August 1st Onward)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 16 -- July 6th -- Jackson, WY to Dubois, WY

Miles Ridden: 85.2
Avg Speed: 13.5 mph
Avg Heart Rate: 122 bpm
Climbing: 4,080 ft
Calories Burned: 4,398

Teton National Park ... Heavy Headwinds ... Continental Divide ... Cool Temperatures ... A Unicyclist

Internet was not cooperative last night ...

The coolest temperatures of our trip greeted us as we we departed Jackson around 7:00 AM.  Some folks stopped in town for a more robust breakfast than was offered at the hotel.  I was filled up on waffles and oatmeal.  The Geldings hit a tough headwind right out of the gate as we passed the National Elk Reserve.  More than 5,000 elk spend the winter here each year.  We entered Teton National Park shortly after that with constant headwinds.  Non stop sights and picture opportunities.  The snow capped peaks were with us for over 25 miles.  Truly an amazing place.

The Start of Non Stop Wonders

Me With Helen

Breathtaking Teton Peaks

I Have a Lot of These

You Must See These In Person

Three Layered Landscape

It Was Chili Out There

Dave Sullivan ... My Roomie

Jeff Douglas ... Gelding and Mechanic Extraordinaire

Gerard Davenport ... Arkansas
Our first SAG was just outside the park gate.  This was because the National Park Service frowns upon organized tours and outfitters in the park.  In fact, America by Bicycle actually got a ticket a few years back from operating inside the park without a licence.  Hmm ... a national park is funded by the public ... seems we have the right to be here.  It was breath taking to cycle past the majestic peaks (even with the wind in our faces).

Jeff Needs A Push

Leaving the Park

Tetons From SAG

One Last Look

Heading Toward the Divide ... Goodbye Tetons

Soon there after, we began our climb toward the Continental Divide and Togwotee Pass (9658').  The grades were not nearly as bad as yesterday's ride.  My legs felt pretty good and as the climbing started I shed my jacket and warm gloves.  I would eventually shed my arm warmers as well.  I climbed just behind the the guys and met them at the base of the Togwottee Pass.  We started to see a steady stream of self-supported cross country riders including a guy on a unicycle!  We got the word that we would need to be shuttled around some ongoing construction near the summit.  The climb was steady but tolerable.  I reached the "shuttle" spot just after Dave, Jeff, and Joe had been driven up.  Mark had gone on as it was pretty chili.  The shuttle was an old Wyoming DOT pick up truck.  It was supposed to take us past the construction near the summit on each side. Well ... I was driven about 2 miles and deposited right in the middle of the construction zone and had to ride on gravel another 3 miles to the summit. The wind was howling a solid 20+ mph.

Coast to Coast On A Unicycle

Approaching the Continental Divide ... Almost 10,000 Feet High
 Because of the construction, there was no summit sign or Continental Divide sign.  It was close to 9,700 feet.  At the top I met up with the guys and a few other riders.  We were told to wait as DOT was going to shuttle us again due to construction on the downhill side of the pass. That didn't happen because they just did not have the ability to move us all.  So ... we follow the pilot car and descended past the construction.  The ABB box truck was also in the procession.  No second SAG for us.  ABB had lots to do getting the rest of the riders up and over.  Turns out the first 8 riders over the top were the only ones that rode to the summit.  The next group after me had to take a longer shuttle from the ABB van past the construction on the downhill side.  After that, the rest of our group had to take a thrilling 10 mile jaunt on the back of a flat bed.  Folks froze!

Descending Togwotee Pass
After all the confusion, we charged down the remainder of the descent.  Man it was windy (do you sense a theme here) with a strong 25-30 mph blowing directly in our face.  That made it mighty chili.  I was OK, but several folks were really cold.  Following the descent we stopped at the Lava Mountain Lodge to warm up. The first time I can recall having hot chocolate and a bowl of soup during a ride. I took a little while redressing for the remaining 20 miles into Dubois ... the guys had already headed down the road before I was
fully clothed.  On a normal day that would not have been a big issue, as I could have caught them fairly quickly as we we were still going down hill.  Well, with 30 mph winds it was a different story.  It took me 45 minutes of hard riding to finally catch them and then I was really in the zone and pushed on past them. Dave joined me for the final approach into Dubois.  The town is small and has an out of the old west feel.  Only Mark, Ann, and Rick had finished before we did.  It was a long day for a lot of folks.

Cowboy Cafe in Dubois

The Infamous Dubois Jackalope
After a quick shower, I headed into town do some laundry.  Dinner was at a neat old western restaurant up the road.  We will sleep good tonight.  Tomorrow we ride to Riverton, WY.  Very desolate between here and there and down hill with some rollers ... the big question ... what will the wind be like.  80 miles in the wind could be pretty nasty.

Good night moon ... good night wind ... good night Wyoming DOT ... good night cold temperatures (well not quite ... it is supposed be 37 in the morning) ... good night big climbs ... good night clean clothes ... good night tired me (a hard day's work)