Saturday, June 30, 2007

Day 13 - Bennett Breaks Away

Day – 14 Bennett Breaks Away

Burley to Blackfoot, ID (4,497’ elevation)

Euphoria Meter (1-10):

How energizing and fun was this day on a 1 to 10 scale? Answer: 12

This day really was off the scale. It was one of the most fun, fastest, longest, energizing rides I have ever experienced.

Ride Stats:

Distance: 111.77 miles

Time: 5:12 hours

Max: 44 mph

Average: 22 mph


Another day of severe clear. Temperatures were pleasant. A little chill in the air in the morning, not so much that you needed a jacket. First half of the ride was in no-wind conditions, then we got a little push out of the North West.

Incidents and Rider Report:

Big Mike was back in action with his new wheel. The Tri-Motor did half the ride. Dave did go home with a bad back. Everyone else was present and accounted for.

How I Feel (1-10) : 10+

My legs feel good. I got a nap in after the ride Mom, you would be proud of me! I also went to bed at the same time Rich did (almost) last night, so I’m getting more sleep. My diet is pretty much everything I can get my hands on. It is all adding up to feeling good on the bike.

The only exception might be where the saddle hits my body. The highly experienced endurance riders have suggested I start using “Bag Balm”. Never heard of it you say? Well maybe you just didn’t grow up on a dairy farm. It is the compound used to treat cow utters and prevent abrasions and rashes from regular milking. I’m going to stop at the next farm supply center I come to and try it. I guess it’s not something you really want to share with utters, I mean others.

Stuff happens:

Rich wakes me up (my human alarm clock) at 4:59am. He’s already dressed, sun tan lotion on and ready for his coffee. Since we don’t have a coffee machine in the Burley Budget hotel room we are in, Rich takes off in search of his morning beverage. I go through my ritual and make it to breakfast by 5:29. I was proud of myself for being early (it was scheduled to start at 5:30am). Much to my surprise everyone else finished eating! With this group you do not want to be the last to go through a buffet line. We are chow hounds. People are a bit anxious about having enough fuel on board for the 110 miles ahead of them and getting an early start today.

I manage to get a good plate of food…pancakes, eggs, oatmeal and raisins. A couple of glasses of Orange juice and I am off to pack my bags and load the “Box”. I am not last out of the parking lot today. It is about 6:10 am and the sun has not come up over the Horizon yet.

Today I start out with Steve Bennett and his friend John Huber from Connecticut we are joined by Alois Gaigl. We lope along in the early morning twilight at a leisurely 13 mph or so until John Knapp comes zipping along by himself at a much faster pace. The three of us decide to jump on his wheel and before too long John and I are side by side pushing each other. The pace ranges from 20 to 23 mph on this gently rolling road in the middle of nowhere. Bulls and cows are along the side of the road regularly. Man made structures are no where to be seen. The area is not particularly scenic compared to where we’ve been, but a fantastic bike riding experience. There are zero cars except for the passing sag wagon. The road is reasonably smooth.

John knapp (photo above along Snake River Bridge) and I pull the others for the first 20 miles until we pass the Miller family contingents who are double pace lining. Derek Miller, the 18 year old decides to break the family formation and bolts out ahead of them and us by 50 yards or so in a hurry. Steve Bennett (age 54) bolts from behind me and takes off after him. Derek dies quickly. Steve however decides to make this a break away move from his buddies. Al, John and I spend the rest of the ride trying to catch Steve. For those of you non riders reading this, it is very hard for one guy to outrun three or more riders who are chasing him. We come close a few times but Steve never lets us catch him. He does move quickly through sag stops and doesn’t look for photo opps, but it takes both incredible physical and mental toughness to keep that up for 90 miles, which he did! Today Steve earned his yellow jersey!

Steve’s tactics included waiting at each of the sag stops until we arrive to taunt us into chasing him. He was feeling good. He’s worked hard in his preparation for the ride and it shows today. At each stop (today we had three) we are obligated to 1) take our gloves off, 2) Cleans our hands with Purell, 3) Sign in, 4) fill our water bottles, 5) make some Gator Aide, 6) get something to eat (usually a banana and some cookies). 7) Lather up again with sun tan lotion.

Steve is a master at getting all this done quickly. He doesn’t like his legs to get stiff and feels strongly that anything over 10 minutes of stop is too much. I tried it and I think he’s right. I felt much better if I got back on quickly rather than stopping for a prolonged period of time. Steve also shared with me the concept of belly breathing. He said studies show by breathing with your stomach versus your chest you can increase your aerobic riding capacity by 10% (he didn’t tell me this till the end of today’s ride). I plan to try this in future rides.

I was really grateful for Steve’s tips and inspiration today. As a result this ended up being just a fabulously fun bike riding experience. The day was perfect, the wind was favorable, the roads were nice, the scenery not too distracting and we all felt good.

Steve Bennett and his titanium rocket bicycle.

Some other items we saw of interest were a 15’ tall tin man like the wizard of oz on the roof of a building we blew by. We are traveling along the Oregon Trail, since Astoria.

Today along the way we stopped at a famous “Rock” that is called “Register Rock”. It has pilgrim graffiti on it and is a national historical landmark. It was a little more prominent than Plymouth Rock which we saw 20 years ago, against the advice of our good friends the Sansouci’s. We also blew by many potato fields (imagine that) and we did see an automated potato harvester with a large name plate on it that said “Spudnik”. If you look closely at the photo above (double click for more details) you can see the names of the wagoneers who wrote or inscribed their names on the rock. I guess it was some sort of tradition. Can you imagine if the EPA had been around back then?

At dinner tonight we were treated with a Texas style barbeque that was a true feast. It was catered and done picnic style. I wish I could send you a taste of the fantastic chicken and lasagna we had. Desert was a choclate cake of some sort and ice cream that I skipped.

Tomorrow is an easy day into Idaho Falls (37 miles). With the extra time on our hands we are planning on seeing the Idaho Potato Museum tomorrow. Pretty exciting stuff in Idaho.


Russ Morgan said...

I suggested to Rich that he rub potato juice on his butt. I think he tried it and I think it worked.
Today is the Tour de Grandview. I will be thinking of you as I watch it.

Cindy said...

Moooove over, here comes Ralph with his new saddle cream! Glad you are feeling good and riding strong. Is that beard coming home with you??

tt said...

Tour De Grandview was won by Arlingtonite Kirk Albers. Both events! The square cornered Glendale to First to Williard to Second to Glendale on Saturday and the Criterium on Sunday's regular Broadview Fairview Urlin Goodale route.

AWESOM! Keep up the good work there big bro!

Anonymous said...

there was no double paceline in the miller train... and Derek (17) did not die ...he did exactly what he intended threw blood into the shark pool and you paid for the next 90 miles...

when he left to chase you ... he said ..."watch what this will do to the Hammerheads"

Viola!! like magic .... tough to be played by a 17 year old but such is life...

and to Ralph's mom... we are making sure he is safe

Enjoy your ride....


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