Day 13 – Burley to Pocatello, Idaho

86 miles, 2211 feet climbed

Headwinds just about all day. But the chip seal wasn’t as bad as the day into Twin Falls. Another day of sunshine with just a couple of sprinkles let loose from a passing cloud.

We left Burley, crossed over to the north side of the Snake River, then over to its south. Nearly 20 miles was spent on Baseline Road, pretty much the middle of nowhere. We didn’t see the free-ranging cattle until near the end but kept eyes out for their road deposits. Some more time on the Interstate, this time I-86, which had less traffic (at one point I thought it had been more than a minute since a car of truck passed by in my direction) and cleaner shoulders.

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Day 12 – Twin Falls to Burley, Idaho

43 miles, 1621 feet climbed

Today did not feel as easy as it should have, what with light headwinds but mostly dried out chipsealed pavement, which as yesterday wears you down with constant vibration. Makes me wish I’d brought my suspension seatpost from my old bike.

The route has two options to visit the Shoshone and Twin Falls on the Snake River. In 2004, I chose to visit Twin Falls. One of the “twins” was diverted to generate electricity and barely trickled, if that. I was told that Shoshone was much more impressive and today I saw that to be true with my own eyes and lens.

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Day 11 – Mountain Home to Twin Falls, Idaho

98 miles, 2838 feet climbed

Another day with great cycling weather. The start was on the cool side and it wasn’t too hot on arrival in Twin Falls. I wore a jacket until the second SAG. Mostly a helping tailwind. Even though the marching orders of the day were to keep moving, don’t dally at the two SAG stops or taking too many pictures, I managed to get good selection for you, including Joe’s broken crank (he’s fine).

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Day 10 – Boise to Mountain Home, Idaho

53 miles, 1634 feet climbed

Today was a short day, made shorter still by pretty strong tailwinds. We left Boise on a bike path along the Boise River, transitioning to I-84 for a while and then roads roughly paralleling I-84.

I had another flat, on the Interstate and before the first and only SAG stop. Rob, our chief mechanic, and I could not determine the cause. Yesterday’s patched tube was installed and the tire held fine for the rest of the day. We'[re definitely in the Idaho desert, reminding me more of southern California’s desert than the agricultural area I now live in.

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Day 9 – Boise, Idaho (rest day)

No riding or climbing.

Today, I took care of laundry, updated the blog, and went for a walkabout in downtown Boise. Staff was off checking the bike path we will use tomorrow at the beginning of our ride.

Downtown Boise appears to have a vibrant restaurant scene. I was more interested in the Capitol building, which we passed on yesterday’s route, and a local bike shop that I vaguely recall from 15 years ago. I found a second bike shop and took some photos:

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Day 8 – Ontario, Oregon to Boise, Idaho

64 miles, 1795 feet climbed

Another relatively easy day, with sunny skies and warming up. For the first time, I began the ride with neither jacket, nor arm or leg warmers. Another first was a flat, actually a slow leak due to a small shard of metal that worked its way through my rear tire tread. It came within ten miles of the finish. I tried pumping up the tire to see if it could get me there. I only made about a quarter mile before it was flat again.

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Day 7 – Baker City to Ontario, Oregon

84 miles, 2096 feet climbed, 13.8 miles on the Interstate

Today we crossed over into the Mountain Time Zone. Still in Oregon, but just barely. Tomorrow we’ll cross the Snake River into Idaho on the way to Boise and our first rest day on Tuesday. This small part of Oregon is more a part of the Boise area and therefore has chosen to synchronize clocks with Idaho.

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Day 6 – John Day to Baker City, Oregon

81 miles, 4931 feet climbed

After yesterday’s long ride, many admitted to having tired legs, me among them. Today promised about 500 feet less climbing but still a lot, spread over three mountain passes, over only 45 fewer miles. We’re starting to seesome injuries that may keep those riders in the vans for a few days, but no ride-ending events. However one rider did have to abandon the tour due to a death in his family.

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Day 5 – Prineville to John Day, Oregon

116 miles, 5417 ft climbed

Today is the second longest ride on the tour. We started early, loading luggage at 6:30 am. The first climb was a moderate grade of 1 to 2 percent, with 3 to 4 percent for the last mile. The second climb began gradually as well, but finished in the 5 to 7 percent range. Both downhills were fast, with light traffic. After the second descent, the road was ever so slightly up into John Day. Everyone made it in, though one rider did have 3 flats.

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Day 4 – Madras to Prineville, Oregon

47 miles, 1535 feet climbed.

Today was a recovery, take it easy, day sandwiched between yesterday’s 5k+ feet of climbing and tomorrow’s 116 miles with, oh, by the way, more climbing. As I explained yesterday, this day used to be longer. To keep it interesting and keep us off of highway 26–the direct route between the two towns–staff rerouted us to the west of 26 on a southward trajectory and then eventually east into Prineville.The traffic was generally light but we did have our share of gravel trucks to deal with near the end on a stretch where the shoulders were narrowest. Those drivers were polite for the most part.

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