Sunday, September 18, 2011

Out-of-town ridin'

For several years I've dreamed of traveling to northern Idaho to ride the Coeur d'Alene Trail - 71 miles of paved rail-to-trail Nirvana. And early this year I penciled in the second week of September to finally make it happen. But alas - circumstances that have arisen have changed my plans. Next year we'll try again. (Early September is spoze to be the prime time, because the crowds have tapered off but perfect weather continues.)

So, to partially ease the pain, I instead took Thursday off, and rode a round-trip between Banks and Lowman. It's nothing spectacular, like the offering in northern Idaho, but it was pretty sweet. It, too, is another ride I've wanted to go on for years, and finally turned dream into reality.

It's 34 miles in each direction. Lowman is roughly 1000 feet higher than Banks. And there's a higher "summit" in between the two. But frankly, it's not a grueling ride by any stretch. The shoulders are generally adequate, and there are few places with really tight "blind" curves. I wouldn't recommend it on a busy weekend day, but it was pretty nice on a Thursday.

It's probably been 15 years since I last rode 68 miles in a day. The first half was cake. And the second half was tolerable... but by the time I was 20 miles or so from the finish, I was counting down the miles and looking forward to the finish line. It took a little over 5 hours of "saddle time" and about 6.5 hours on the clock.

The day was mercifully cool; in fact, precipitation sputtered a bit as I started the return leg... but just enough to be refreshing.

The thing I really noticed was how quiet it was. Sound always seems to carry in the forest, and in retrospect I believe it's an illusion... it just seems to carry because there's so much less background noise.







Clancy said...

That sounds like a great ride. The scenery on that stretch is awesome. Hopefully someday you will make it up to CdA and the Hiawatha.

I took the family up there for 3 days of riding and camping the first of August. We did 2 day on the CdA Trail then 1 day on the Hiawatha. The boys (8 &10) did well at our 15-18 mile goal each day.

Bikeboy said...

Clancy, that's fantastic that your young'uns rode 15-18 miles / day! That's more miles than 90% of Americans of any age could ride!

We rode the Hiawatha maybe 10 years ago... my wife and kids and I. I dropped 'em off at the top, then drove the car down to the bottom and bicycled up the road... then we all took the trail down. Ideally I'd like to spend 3 days on the CdA trail, riding to Wallace on Day 1, from there to the top and back on Day 2, and from there back to the bottom on Day 3, thus completing the round trip. And then finishing up with a day on the Hiawatha. THAT would be a bicycle vacation!