Friday, July 2, 2010

A mighty wind

Day 11. Twin Falls to Burley Idaho. The day started with a very funny incident. As you know, in yesterday's blog post I provided rock-hard proof that my wife and Kim Basinger are like identical twins. That proof, of course, was in the form of a photograph. Now this wasn't just any picture found using Google images of Kim Basinger...oh was.

Remember a blog post I had a few days ago about how many of my fellow riders already know me too well? I guess one of them hasn't completely locked on to my somewhat goofy sense of humor (and I'll qualify this as "not completely" because he mostly gets my humor). I won't mention names but his name rhymes with Mark Koltz. Yesterday, Mark K. read my blog and, after believing that the Google image of Kim Basinger was The Duchess, Mark remarked to his roommate Dave that Mark W.'s wife is a real babe – just check out the picture of her on Mark's blog. Dave, not wanting to be indelicate, said something to the effect that he had seen The Duchess on Skype, and that while she is mighty attractive (mighty attractive, he stressed), she didn't look anything like the picture on Mark W.'s blog. Anyway, the issue was settled at breakfast when I assured Mark K. that the only thing The Duchess and Kim Basinger have in common is that they were both born in the 20th century.

Also, on today's ride, when I told Jeff that I mentioned this story to my wife Susan, and that Susan looked nothing like Kim Basinger, he asked "who's Susan"? Jeff only knows The Duchess as, well, The Duchess, which makes sense, because she is, after all, The Duchess (see picture of my Duchess downing a boot of beer last March).

Before I get to today's ride, I just want to thank Jeff, Joe, and tour leader Mike for fixing Wonderboy's brain. It seems that the installer at the bike shop in Boise put his brain in backwards and let's just say I was getting wonky data (on the first day I had a maximum speed of 104 MPH, which is ever-so-slightly above my norm). Thanks guys. I don't know what I would have done without your help except to have wasted $300.

Also, thanks go to Jay for leading us through the first 25 miles yesterday. We definitely took the "Jay train" as Dave said. Wow, that was fast and was a great way to get a long day going.

Today's ride was about as easy as it's going to get. We had a late wake up and breakfast was at 7:30AM. Our ride today was mostly flat and only 40 miles (about 65kms). It went through very fertile farmland. Idaho is very agricultural. We rolled past potato, wheat, corn, and stuff we couldn't even identify. They call Montana Big Sky, but that certainly applies to Idaho too. I was expecting this state to be a bit like Colorado, but it isn't. It's like Ontario but with mountains way in the distance. I guess that means it looks nothing like Ontario. Either way, it doesn't look like Colorado, that's for sure (at least not the parts of Colorado I've seen).

The route we took today was great for one reason – it was downwind. In fact, it was a mighty wind that blew us to the not-so-bustling town of Burley. We were flying, and with minimal effort. I'm sure we are going to go into the wind at some point on this trip, but we enjoyed today's ride immensely. Let's just call this a "wind-assisted day". Before we really got going today, the ABB folks suggested we take a side trip down into the Snake River canyon to see either the Shoshone Falls, or the upstream Twin Falls. Either side trip meant a hefty climb out of the canyon at grades approaching 16-17%. You can see from these pictures that this is a significant canyon. My riding mates went to the first Falls (Shoshone) and I went alone to the second Falls (Twin Falls) and waited for the rest of them to meet me there. I didn't think I had the "kuyoch" (that's Yiddish for "strength") to do both today. Anyway, at the Twin Falls I ran into Gerard in the red and white jersey (Gerard's a Walmart guy from near Bentonville Arkansas) who is quite the amateur photographer. Beautiful spot.

Here's video of Twin Falls:

Further along we found a scenic overlook where we snuck under the fence and took some up-close pictures and video (don't worry Mom, I'm alright).

Here's video further down the canyon:

The rest of the day was uneventful. Lunch was a delicious club sandwich ("burn the bacon") and fries at the Perkins next to the hotel. I guess it was Bridge day at Perkins because the local Burley Bridge Club was there (see picture). I told the ladies that The Duchess is learning to play bridge. Not surprisingly, they had no idea who The Duchess was. Anyway, they were very cute.

I wish all the days on this ride were as easy as today, but there are some tough days right ahead of us including Monday's ride up and over Teton Pass at over 8,000 feet of elevation into Jackson Hole Wyoming.

Now on to today's mail:

Arlene from Toronto writes: "Thank you for supporting my upcoming marathon. As I read your blog, I am starting to get excited about mine, and hope that I will have the courage and strength of character to be as successful as you". I hope you have greater strength of character than me Arlene. I haven't finished anything yet!

Kim Basinger from Hollywood writes: "What the f-**!?? are you doing using my image without my permission? You'll be hearing from my lawyers". Sorry Kim, but Mark Koltz of Baltimore Maryland says you look exactly like Susan "The Duchess" Weisbarth. I had nothing to do with this ugly incident. Please forward any legal threats or unpleasantness directly to him. I have his address if you need it. By the way, I loved you in the movie Nine and a Half Weeks!

Vance from Toronto writes "I heard from Joe Schroeder that there really is a Bacon of the Month Club. Is that true?". Yes the Vancer, your dreams have come true at last. Go to:

Useful links for you:

Here is my wheel dipping ceremony from a few weeks ago:

SO COOL: CHECK OUT MY STATS FROM MY NEW GARMIN!!!!!! When you go to this page, go to the player button on the upper right hand side of the page and hit it and then (after the page loads) hit the play button just above the elevation chart; this will allow you to track through the various aspects of my ride simultaneously (just make sure to make the Google map window small enough that you can watch the elevation chart, map, and other data bars at the bottom all at the same time). Too cool for words:

This is Joe's blog:

Trip journal and photos by our tour leader Mike Munk:

This link is Jeff's blog:

This link is Baltimore Mark's blog:

And this is Katie's blog:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mark,

    I have just started following your blog - verrrrry entertaining!

    I really enjoyed reading/viewing your descriptions and pictures - especially yesterday's caption of 'A Mighty Wind' followed by a picture of 4 ladies playing cards - lucky I wasn't in that room!

    I look forward to continuing to follow your absolutely incredible journey!