Days 20 & 21 - The trials of a trail and falls in Idaho
Day 20 - So refreshed from our day off and the trip to Yellowstone Park, we set off with renewed vigour and anticipation from West Yellowstone towards Idaho again, due south with the aim of reaching Salt Lake City in Utah. That vigour and anticipation was rather rapidly disolved by our route through a rather tough trail. The scenery was awesome but most of us were concentrating so hard on where our bikes were going that we forgot to look at our surroundings.
You must remember that most of us on the bike ride were using road bikes which have very little, if any, tread on the tyres. This particular ride would have still been tough if we had had mountain bikes with considerable tread on the tyres. Firstly, the road surface was rough but manageable, then the road disappeared and was replaced by rock a strewn track which would have been testing for olympic mountain bike riders, then the track was replaced by a sandy path which our tyres decided to sink into so we set off on foot. Interestingly there were animal tracks in the sand too and we started to discuss the different approaches between an encounter with a black bear or a grizzly bear and how their posture was different! As you can imagine, my knowledge of bears was limited to teddy bears, so this discussion was quite alarming!!
For some reason, I found myself at the front of the ride so either myself or Susan Pratt would have ended up as bear breakfast before anyone else so, in order to minimise this risk, both of us eventually climbed back on our bikes and started to make some headway along the path. Finally, having been joined by Elliott Waldo our bike adventure leader, we ended up on another path with a gritty sand surface which if you were bold enough you could cycle along in a low gear. However, on more than one occasion, my front tyre would suddenly get caught in the sand and gravity would have an instant impact on me as I tumbled to the ground. On one occasion, I did a great impression of an bald eagle as I rather un-gracefully sailed over the handlebars into the sand! I then had to straighten up the handlebars which had been scewed by my fall and, a few days later, the repairs to my bike would turn out to be quite expensive.
Meanwhile, Elliott was making great progress and seemed to be sailing through the sand as if it were tarmac but eventually he, Susan and I ended up at Rest Stop 1 by a river. It was there it was agreed to abandon the trail and head towards Interstate 20 which after the trials of the trail was wonderful, despite reservations about cycling on such a major route. We later found out that for some people, reaching Rest Stop 1 was almost a full day's activity. After using the support vehicles everyone made it to Pocatello but our renewed enthusiasm was somewhat dented.
Day 21 - I rode alongside Dan Hepp most of the way as we continued our route south through Idaho and we very much enjoyed each other's company as we passed through the rather spectacular Idaho Falls on towards Pocatello. In total,we rode for nearly 89 miles but in the last 6 miles I had two punctures which rather slowed my progress.
I had excelerated away from Dan as my backside was not enjoying contact with my bike saddle so I stood up and peddled out of the seat which meant I left Dan behind. However, he caught up with me as I was repairing my first puncture, caused by a piece of wire. After we had inflated my tyre and got the bike running again we were caught up by yet more cyclists so we cycled the last 6 miles together. As we were doing so a piece of glass gave me a second puncture on the same tyre so I limped into the church with my bike requiring yet more attention. I spent most of my evening sorting the inner tubes and making sure my bike was ready for the adventures that would come on the next day.
I must admit I was rather deflated by the events of the day!!