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Subject: IF-to-Ja

Actually more like IF-to-Al, as in Idaho Falls to Alpine Junction via Victor and Jackson. Which turns out to be "only" 120 miles, still 50 miles further than I had _ever_ ridden before; the 150-mile figure was for stopping in Swan Valley rather than Alpine.

So how did it go? Pretty good, I guess. My arm-warmers worked quite well, leaving only my fingers and legs to cold-soak for the first couple hours of the ride. Naturally my Achilles tendon didn't like to be that cold *and* under riding tension, so it is still a little sore today; but it never got _really_ sore, or started making those dreaded ratcheting sensations. Probably it would thank me for getting some cute little neoprene booties for any further cold rides.

It was kind of amusing, really. Dave, Dave, and Don were all bundled up, the temperature was in the mid-40s, and I show up in shorts, short-sleeve jersey, and arm-warmers. Boy, was I cold. Definitely need warmer feet, maybe even some leg-warmers like Dave has. Those would be a little more difficult to take off on the bike than the arm-warmers (and I was plenty squirrely when I was playing with them arm-warmers).

The amount of climbing in the Lo-to-Ja should not be a problem, as we went over Pine Creek Pass (from the Swan Valley side, ~5300' to 6720') and Teton Pass, which starting from Victor at 6000' goes up to 8479' (according to the atlas I looked at after I got home). So that's even a little more climbing than Lo-to-Ja, and a bunch more altitude.

Let's talk Teton Pass for a moment. It certainly took more than a moment to climb. There is rather a lot of 10% grade, and I would have made a measurement from the start of the 10% section to the top, but I was busy trying not to fall over in my 39x21 granny. Going 4 miles an hour. There was this one place where the wind started blasting down, and nearly stopped me dead. But I beat the tandem to the top by 3 minutes. They are in pretty darn good shape. And they had about a 26x28 granny. Super Dave, on the other hand, neglected to swap out his straight block and so was stuck with a 38x19. He was 7 minutes behind me at the top. We wheezed at the top for about ten minutes, then shoved off and hit the 10% downgrade. Whee! I hit 55 in one spot, and was doing a steady 50 when I came upon a pickup from Minnesota going about 35. Down the hill. Whoa, mother, look at these curves. I better slow down some more. Well, I could not really go around him. Or didn't want to try. The road was not wide enough, nor was he steady enough, for a right-side pass, and the occasional traffic and total reliance on gravity for acceleration made a left-side pass seem like not quite the best idea ever. So I muttered along behind him until it flattened out a bit, then he took off as soon as I could no longer go 50 anyway. Meanwhile the tandem had negated my slight head start and superior bike handling skill through the twisty parts, was just about to go by me when we came upon a cop on the side of the road making it safe for the marathon in progress around Jackson that morning. We slowed down to a reasonable speed for bicycles. I led them the rest of the way into town, a whole five miles, and I was well into my second pop-tart at the Maverick by the time Super Dave showed up. He was hurting, and glad to bail, as he had planned, in Jackson. He (or his sagger) still has the rest of my pop-tarts and Newtons, darn him.

From Jackson, I kind of just leisurely sucked wheel on the tandem another 40 miles of rolling hills to Alpine, whereupon the clouds and wind began to gather, and Don was feeling sick, so we called it a day and were duly conveyed the rest of the way home.

Hmm. Should I do Lo-to-Ja? I am fairly sure I can complete the distance, but most probably not in a competitive time. We averaged slightly under 19 mph for the 120 miles; maybe I can do around 20 for 200 miles if I have wheel to suck and I don't have to climb Teton Pass. Of course, I am likely not to be sucking much wheel soon after the first climb begins. Returning to my wishful thinking, 20 mph for 200 miles yields ten hours. Almost certainly under 12 hours, right? Which would be nice because that will be about how much daylight will be available.

I just can't decide whether or not to commit. At least I am not the only one to have this type of problem.

And here is a good one. Last night Dad just had to take the horses out and ride them. Why is he no longer satisfied to merely feed them? Anyway, we had been out for a it, and were headed home, when the poorly-trained horse - that would be the one he was riding - threw him. Whee, over the top. Course I missed it since I was 50 feet in front of him. His horse takes off towards home, chased by the dogs. He tells me to go look for his hat, which fell off in the scuffle. Since it is getting dark, I hand him my Razor-Blades (the ones that are so cool I always wear them) to put in his shirt pocket. Because I don't have a shirt pocket, and they might fall off and get lost if I just hang them from my t-shirt collar. I find his hat. My horse is fidgeting around, and after they exchange whinnys the other horse comes running back to see why his mother has not joined him in throwing off the yokel of oppression. Dad cleverly grabs the stupid horse, and we ride home. As we close the gate on the horses, Dad asks if he gave my sunglasses back. Why no, is my reply. Oh, he says, I must have left them in the front yard where I dismounted. "Left" them? I am not very gruntled at this, and am even less gruntled when a flashlight-swinging search of the front yard and walk back up the road to the edge of the field fails to find my Oakleys. I am rather dis-gruntled, in fact. Dad says he will go look for them in the field (where they probably fell out of the pocket when he got back on the horse) today after work. Which leaves me with my backup, secondary Frogskins. And what if something happens to them? Like a really bad Iridium scratch event? Then what am I supposed to do, walk around outside with a permanent squint? Hmm?

You know, I probably could have just said, "My bonehead dad dropped my Oakleys in a field last night," and that would pretty much have covered it. But hey, I already typed all that other stuff, so you might as well read it.

sucks-to-be-me, what-am-i-gonna-do.

later, hah