Ride 89 Day 5

134.96 miles 4,541 feet of climbing

I started my ride at Old Faithful this morning. This is the single longest day of our ride. We did that because camping was a lot cheaper in Alpine than anywhere around Jackson.

I was climbing for the first 14 miles toward the Continental Divide and the highest point of this entire trip. Once I got past that point, there was a lot of downhill. The traffic in Yellowstone has been pretty light compared to past visits. It was so much nicer than yesterday. I was able to enjoy the smell of the pines as I climbed.

Annie and the kids stopped to see the visitors center at Yellowstone Lake and I continued south. I kept pedaling and pedaling and Annie didn’t show up. Shortly after leaving Yellowstone, I was getting desperate. I was out of food and water. I saw an RV in a pullout and stopped and asked for some water. I met the nicest family. They gave me water and Gatorade. They told me that they brought their mother to Yellowstone and she passed away. It was so sad.

While I was talking to this family, Annie must have passed me. I kept going and going and finally stopped to take a picture and was able to contact her.

But in my carb-deprived state I said I was at Jenny Lake, not Jackson Lake. This made everything worse. Annie took off looking for me and I continued south, getting dizzier and dizzier. Eventually I arrived at a convenience store at Colter Bay. I went in and grabbed four energy bars. As I walked to the counter the young lady walked into the back room leaving me alone. I looked over at the register and saw $60 sticking out from under the edge of the register.

After a few minutes, she came back.

“Did you know you have some money sticking out from under the register?”

She nodded.

“You left me alone and I could have taken it.”

She shrugged. “It’s not my money.”

I paid for my bars.

“Do you want these in a bag?”

“No, I’m going to eat them now.”

“Oh, forks are over there.”

I don’t even have a response for that.

I sat and ate for a few minutes and then started again.

I had to stop for a bit because a herd of bison were crossing the road.

Eventually, Annie found me. I love my wife a lot, but she is navigationally challenged and had no cell service. Justin ddd of Boise, ID, had cell service and he started tracking my ride and led Annie to me. I was very happy.

My new favorite sign

I made it to Jackson, Wyoming. At this point I have arrived to the portions of 89 that I know. I have ridden and driven 89 so I know what’s ahead. I enjoyed the beauty of Snake River Canyon descending to Alpine. I was tired from this, the longest day of our ride and having a downhill grade made it easier.

One thing I wanted to note: I was being interviewed by a reporter last night who asked what I was learning during this ride.

Two years ago, I Everested. In the cycling world, it’s where you pick a hill and go up and down it over and over until you gain as much altitude as Mt. Everest, 29,032 feet. The big rule is that you can’t sleep during this endeavor. When I did that I learned about my own capability. After doing that event I never wondered if I could do something. It was only a question of how long would it take and how much would it hurt.

But for this ride, I’m learning much more about those around me. About the connections I have with other people. I couldn’t do this ride without the support of my family. Annie and the kids are doing so much to keep me on my bike.

I have family, even some I hadn’t really talked to before, who have invited us to stay in their homes while passing through their city. Other family have given us money to help with the high costs of the trip (Yeah, I’m looking at you, gas). My daughter is driving around with a sticker on her car encouraging people to donate to our Huntsman campaign.

I think of our sponsors, who have donated products and services to help support us in our ride.

I have so many people who have donated to our fundraiser. On difficult days (like yesterday and today, for very different reasons), I think of you and my obligation to complete this ride since you’ve shown faith that I can do this, and I don’t want to let you down.

The strangers we meet who ask about our ride and encourage us to keep going and ask about donating to Huntsman.

I’ve seen posts that many of you have made asking others to donate to Huntsman through our campaign. It warms my heart. The comments you leave on my Facebook posts, on my Strava rides, the texts, and messages all show me how many people there are out there who care about my success in this crazy ride. I appreciate all of you who are praying for my success and safety. I couldn’t do it alone.

What I’m learning is that I have this great network of friends and family who are supporting me in this. Thank you.