Day 58: Riding Easy

Today Mackenzie dedicated the ride to Sharon McRoy, a relative who passed away from triple negative breast cancer on October 30 2013.

We started our day on a somber note this morning and reflected on our dwindling time together. For the Mosher, we took turns talking about our favorite memory with Jessica, who functions as both the team clown and confidant.  Although the team oftentimes jokes that “it’s happening”, meaning that we are hitting our breaking point where we erupt in chaos and fighting, we have been pretty lucky in terms of team dynamics, injuries, and weather. Overall this ride has been ideal conditions and it has made this experience pretty sweet. For our last three weeks, I think we all want to make the most of it.

Today was our last stop in Idaho, but the views today did not disappoint. We continued on highway 12 along the Lochsa river in between a valley of pine hills.  We spotted many lumber trucks chugging alongside us on the highway carrying wood to the factory in Lewiston.

Although 66 miles would make us sore for days during our training period while we were still in school, today seemed like a breeze. We are spending the night in Lewiston, which borders nearby Clarkston. According to Wikipedia Lewiston is, “At the future townsite they encountered settlements of the native Nez Perce. Lewis and Clark passed through the valley on the return trip from the Pacific in 1806 also.” We also learned that the region was once inhabited by the Nez Perce Indian tribe, the group that helped Lewis and Clark on their expedition and provided them with horses that very likely helped them survive their journey.

We arrived at around 2 PM at the First United Methodist Church where we were served a lasagna and spaghetti dinner with kale salad. After dinner we gave a presentation about our organization. Later in the evening I was lucky enough to get a prom-posal from Mackenzie. In my opinion his rap with backup dancer Dylan, Logan and Zach clad in black getups was the best one yet. Although prom was originally planned for tomorrow, our only day in Washington, we have decided to postpone it until we have a full team together once again.

Washington, here we come

MB

 

Day 56/57: Idaho

Yesterday we camped in Clearwater National Forest in Idaho. Today we had another century day. Compared to the first one, today was much easier in comparison and we arrived at 4:00 as compared to 8:00. We stayed on highway 12 for the entire day today and followed the Lochsa river into Kamiah. Kamiah is a small town of only 1,500, we even saw a man with a cowboy hat on casually riding his horse casually as we rolled into town.

We only have one more stop in Idaho before we enter Washington. Crazy to think that we only have 19 more days left.

Don’t want the trip to end.

MB

Day 54/55: Missoula for the Win

We arrived yesterday in Missoula before noon after a short 55 mile day. The ride was dedicated to Kelly and Lisa, friends of Jody and Kevin who are currently battling cancer.

We arrived and hit up the local favorites from amazing BBQ at the Notorious PIG, Big Dipper Ice Cream, and Thursday live music at Caras park. The church we are staying at broke our pasta and lentils streak by graciously providing us a tasty catered pasta dinner yesterday and chicken pot pie and salad this evening. When we woke up this morning most of us got bagels for breakfast and shopped in thrift stores for our promwear. On our only day in Washington next week we will be having I4Prom, an I4k tradition. The theme is ‘whatever you can find in a thrift store for under $10’.  People have started to prepare by doing ‘prom asks’. Dylan set the bar pretty high by incorporating an ask to Neeca during a morning Mosher involving tapped pieces of paper on people’s backs and Neeca’s characteristic “dropping the weapon”.  If you are not sure what ‘dropping the weapon is” I’m sure Urban Dictionary can fill you in.

We got to visit with Adventure Cycling HQ, a not for profit that promotes bike travel and sends bike expeditions, they even made routes that people could follow across the US and South America. We had a bbq cookout with the staff and got a tour of their modern office. On their walls they had polaroid’s of people that had passed through in 201, doing their own cross country tours. I was surprised that there were three walls filled with adventure seekers riding their bikes across the US. We even spotted a guy we met on the road into the Tetons. I think many of the graduated seniors were low key thinking about applying to the organization because it seemed like an amazing place to work.

Later on today we went whitewater rafting, a Montana favorite. Luckily Jessica got us a group discount and we piled the whole team into a school bus to the Gorge 30 minutes away from town. Our guides were a bunch of college age hippies and they showed us a good time rafting for 4 hours. We had awesome canyon views lined with pine trees and we even got to see a bald eagle in flight. We were lucky enough to be some of the only people on the river.  All of us were jealous of our guides being able to get paid to go rafting on a daily basis.

It’s safe to say that Missoula was the best rest day.

I will be back Missoula.

MB

 

Day 53: As Far as Small Towns Go..

Today I dedicated the ride to my dad’s cousin, JoAnn. Picture the bubbliest, most loving, generous, Texas woman squeezed into a mere 5’3”. She was always the relative that my sisters and I got excited was staying at our house. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the fall of 2015 and passed away in her favorite place, San Antonio Texas, this past March.

Even though we had to wake up at 5 AM this morning because the YMCA we stayed at opened at 6, we still were unable to make the 7:15 rollout time, much to the chagrin of Tyler. But it’s okay because what we lack in timeliness as a team, we make up for in fun. The Spanish speaking conversationalists finally got to ride today and there was mucho practica. The ride today was awesome conditions with little to no wind, a cool yet warm temperature, and no winds. We finished off the last 18 miles at an average pace of 19 mph.

Drummond is a small town of only 300 something, however the local diner, Parker’s did not disappoint. With over 101 burger options to choose from, Nick Nodus, the team foodie, even claims that it was the best food that he had on the ride so far. After this pre-dinner before pasta and lentils, we attended a meet and greet at the library, run by husband and wife power duo Jody and Kevin. They both work at the high school we are staying at. After talking about our favorite summer memories from the ride so far, they invited us back to their front yard for s’mores and stories. Their daughter even let us play with her 10-week old golden retriever puppy.

As far as ideal i4k days go, today was pretty sweet. Tomorrow we have a short 55 mile ride to Missoula where we have a rest day.

MB

 

 

Day 52: It’s Possible to be Full?

We rode 81 miles from Ennis to Butte today. Once again the west has blessed us with amazing mountain views today we even spotted many sunflowers dotting the sides of the road. Shout out to the 2014 team for the donations of poptarts, cosmic brownies, and cheese balls. They have significantly improved meals for the past two days. The air out west is just plain better and it feels so good to breathe in the unpolluted pine-smelling breeze. At the end of the 80 miles we had 8 miles of uphill climbing followed by 5 miles of downhill. Although it seemed daunting, it was actually not that hard and many of us surprised ourselves at the ease by which our legs were able to carry us up all the elevation.

Kevin and Lil T (Colin T) were able to finesse and get enough pizza donations for every team member to have exactly 5/8 of a pizza, which somehow came out to 6 slices of pizza each. We have all vowed to be “the cool rich alums who donate name brand cereal to future teams” so watch out all you future riders.

We are spending the night at a nice YMCA in Butte and because the gym opens at 6, we have a 5 AM wake up call.

I guess mountain climbing isn’t that hard

MB

 

Day 48-51: Onward West We Go

Today the ride was dedicated to the woman we met yesterday in Yellowstone. After learning about our organization’s mission, she informed Michaeline and I that the reason she was in the park with her two sons, was because her husband had originally planned the trip. Unfortunately, he died of colon cancer earlier this year in April.

Sorry for going incognito on all the daily readers out there. We have been camping in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone the past three days. I know I have made this claim about more than one state before, BUT Wyoming was definitely the best state we have passed through so far. (don’t let dissenters Phil and Tyler tell you otherwise). While in Dubois we met a dude who was completing a world tour on his bike. He plans to ride from Miami to Portland, take a freight boat to China and Kazakhstan, through Europe, and back to the US. He thinks the trip will take around 3 years. If interested, look up ChefAustinHarley on Instagram. Even though his riding style did not exactly match ours, he was an exceedingly interesting man to converse with.

Most of us had not heard of the Tetons before this trip but they were absolutely amazing. For those of you who also were unfamiliar, picture snowcapped mountains with jagged tops and a pristine lake below. We even spent a few hours wading in the lake during our rest day.

We spent yesterday biking 80 miles through Yellowstone. We got to see Old Faithful erupt and turquoise hot springs. To be honest, most of the way in Yellowstone I was counting down the miles until we would finish because of the excess amount of cars and people made riding on the shoulder a little scary. However, it was really cool to see all the wildlife. We witnessed a stoic buffalo (fun fact buffalo and bison are synonyms), a family of elk moving across the road, and an eagle in flight.

Leaving the campsite this morning after three days of sleeping in a tent, I think many of us were thankful that we have the luxury of a roof over our heads for a majority of the ride. Since we were in bear country we had to lock up all of our food while we slept. Some of the team even claim to have heard wolves in the middle of the night yesterday. Although cooking hotdogs and s’mores over the campsite was fun to switch it up, it would be hard to be camping every night. Don’t get me wrong camping was super fun, but I am glad we did not have to do every night like the founding I4k team did. You guys are the true bada**s

Today’s ride was ideal.  Instead of riding over mountains like we have been doing lately, we got to bike in between them and mostly downhill for 70 miles. Two state lines we crossed, Idaho for about 10 miles and then back into Montana. We even had a tailwind towards the end. We got in at around 2 PM and the whole team tackled cleaning the post-camping messy van. Since one bowl of pasta didn’t cut it for most of us, we invaded the local gas station to stock up on snacks.

More tailwinds please

MB