Mileage: 93.0 miles Average Speed: 13.5 mph
Vertical: 5942 feet Depart: 6:18 AM Arrive: 2:20 PM
Well, the big day arrived, and somehow I survived. Actually, it was a beautiful day on the road, and only about 3 miles were really painful. But, to start at the beginning, we left the motel, and fairly quickly formed a group of about 10 of us that had a nice pace line going until the first SAG. There was minimal climbing on this leg, which allowed us to stay together. The SAG was in a nice overlook of the Snake River, which we have been following for several days. This is a shot from the overlook.
I kind of played tag with a number of riders from the first to the second SAG, which was at the Pine Creek Summit, about 6764 feet. We then dropped in to the town of Victor, ID, where several of us stopped and a market and deli for a sandwich, before starting the real climb of the day, up to the Teton Pass Summit. About 6 miles out of town, on the way up the mountain, we came to the "Welcome to Wyoming" sign (I warned you about these obligatory photo ops). Fortunately, it worked out that 4 of the 5 members of my scavenger hunt team were there together, and Karen (staff) took the following photo for me. It includes me, Tom Sherrill, Tom Zack, and Kim Stanley. Tom S and Kim are both from Sammamish, WA, and are pretty strong riders.
Just over 6 miles from the welcome sign, we reached the summit. The last 3 miles were as tough as any summit I have done, and I have done quite a number in Colorado. The signs posted 10% grade, and I have reports it peaked around 14%. This was 80 miles into a pretty tough ride anyway. I have to admit to stopping at paved pullouts to get my heart rate down several times. Once at the summit, the views were extraordinary. The camera doesn't begin to capture it, but here it is. You are looking down on Jackson Hole, and have a beautiful mountain backdrop.
The descent was an adventure as well. I stopped a mile down to take the following photo (there was an identical one a mile earlier, only difference is that it said next 5 miles. There was a pretty good crosswind, which always makes control a challenge at high speed (I hit the mid 40s). Our tandem team lost their rear brake on the way down, and was somehow able to stop. They were then given a ride down, a very smart choice.
The word is tomorrow is one of the very most scenic days of the ride, albeit at the expense of a climb to the Continental Divide at Togwotee Pass (9658').