I rarely sleep when I’m not at home. It usually takes me until day three before I finally get a decent night’s sleep. I had hoped that the 86 mile ride on day 1 in nearly 100 degree temperatures would have remedied that, but sleep escaped me that night even though I was tired. No matter. Any day that we get to ride bikes all day is a great day! The menu for day 2 would include a 105-108 mile ride from Pullman to Grangeville (depending on whose Garmin or online app you followed), over 5000 feet of vertical climbing including a 22 mile climb out of Lewiston, and a side of 100+ degree temperatures. My kind of day!
Wait, what? Did I say 22 mile climb? Yes, I did. Here’s a preview from one of our tracking devices.
And this wasn’t the only climb. It was just the most impressive one.
We started the day with a quick breakfast in Pullman at Daily Grind Espresso before heading out. We decided to stick together until we reached the top of the glorious decent into Lewiston. Several of us settled into a nice pace line to warm up the legs on a smooth road with wide shoulders. I knew we’d likely split up once we hit the big climbs, so I took advantage of the team effort and got in some more drafting practice while it lasted.
I learned a roadie tradition on this trip. Apparently it is customary to sprint to welcome signs. The trick is to catch your compadres by surprise, but not start sprinting too soon so that you bonk before the finish line. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull it off with this group of cycling rockstars but it was in the back of my mind.
We gathered at the “Welcome to Idaho” sign. I’m not sure who won that sprint but it wasn’t me!
Spiral Hiqhway; I have no words!!! It is a definite hill repeat destination next summer.
Seriously, Lewiston friends, I’ll be on your doorstep. Climb a killer switchback hill and then fly down in spiral fashion over and over again? I’m in!!
At the bottom of the hill, Sunny Lane. A little hard to see the sign here, but it’s there. She was smiling over us.
I cannot say enough about our road support along the way. They did a great job of traversing the course, chasing us down and making sure we had what we needed, when we needed it. This is no easy task when eight riders are split up throughout the day. This was the welcome sign they drew on the bike path, leading us to our rest stop in Lewiston.
I love my bike! I just have to work harder to keep up with others. She’s solid, full-figured, and she’s no wimp! She carries a spirit of determination, so we always finish.
The long climb starts with false flats. I hate false flats. They’re so deceptive. If you’re gonna be a hill, just be a blasted hill already! The high temperatures started to kick in and we heated up fast. Alongside us was a creek and we were both thinking the same thing. We parked the bikes in such a way that we hoped our fellow riders will see and join us. We had to scale down some slippery rocks to get there, and we were only able to get ankle deep but that was the best “dip” in a creek I’d ever experienced! (Until day 3, that is!) Afterward, we split up. I didn’t want to slow him down and I was ready to focus on the slow grind ahead.
There is nothing quite like making it to the top of an enormous hill. You push and pull, slowly grinding your way up at “mock” speeds of 5-9 miles per hour, taking in the scenery as a distraction from the lactic acid that is building up in your legs, listening to whatever playlist on your iPod helps you dig-dig-dig deep and keep climbing. And then you see it it. The top!
Your Rocky moment has arrived and you claim VICTORY at the top of your mountain!
Or you rest in the shade and wait for others to climb to victory…
Tom and Moises rested under small tree at the top of the hill and welcomed the rest of us as we summitted the beast. Patrick and Cris were both long gone and we had no idea how far ahead they were. Patrick would go on to be the first to reach Grangeville where his family was waiting to pick him up to head to the Oregon coast for a family vacation. Thanks for cheering me on as I was oh-so-close to the finish line! Nice to meet you, Patrick. See you down the road!! (Actually, I’ll be documenting my Coeur d’Alene Fondo ride in the near future — WHAT and adventure! — and wouldn’t you know it? Patrick was the announcer at the finish line!)
There is something about people cheering you on that enables you to get the job done. It’s how Rocky reached the top of those steps, afterall. That fist pump and cheer out the window from Patrick gave me the boost I needed as I hit a strong headwind heading into Grangeville. The dark clouds above looked ominous and I wanted to make it before the impending downpour. (Oh man, stay tuned for my Fondo experience!) As I reached Grangeville, my Garmin said 106 miles, others said 107 and still others, 108. Whatever, it was a long way and I burned about 4800 calories. FOOD!! Best thing about training and being active!! In fact, EVERY meal after a long day of exercise is the best meal you’ve ever had. I highly recommend it if you are not already in the habit.
We had initially planned to camp out but there was clearly a crazy storm heading in and Sandi Lebsack was so worried about how exhausted we were and about the storm that she got us some rooms at a motel. Hot showers! Thank you so much, Sandi. You saved the day. Again!
After de-salting and washing the stink off, we dined in style at the Pizza Factory. Another donated meal thanks to friend Sandy Kantner and my sister, Wendy Kaschmitter. Wish my sister could have been there for the event!
What. An. Awesome. Day!
The best moments of a day like this are sitting around a table with the group, exhausted, refueling, silly and loopy, recapping the day’s events and knowing that tomorrow, you get to do it all over again. Did I mention the cause? I believe I did, but if you missed it, refer to Day 1 and this website for the incredible full story. And if you’re not currently an organ donor, please consider it. It’s such a beautiful and easy way to make an amazing impact on so many lives as you end your own journey.
Day 3 (and my last for this ride) recap coming soon. Plus Coeur d’ Alene Fondo 108 mile crazy adventure bike ride, and marathon relay fun. Until then, keep moving, keep believing, and never give up.