Our host Jen took a look at the Adventure Cycling route and suggested we take Rocky Canyon Road instead of the busy highway out of Boise. Travis of course loves to take any off-road detour that the locals tell us about, even if it has a little "hill" towards the top. Jen ran a half marathon up the hill and down into the next valley, so how hard could it be???
The pavement disappeared as we made it further up into the canyon. Very dramatic scenery again, but hoo boy. That hill.
We are unfortunately not super prepared for this grade. Both of us are only running one gear up front, and Travis only has 9 gears in back. He was out of the saddle riding uphill, which worried because there just weren't any easier gears... He is strong though so I guess he'll be ok.
We walked the good half mile to the top, and summited just as we ran out of water. And then the downhill!
There was a cute park at the bottom of the valley, and I never would have guessed that 30 minutes after being at the top of a baking, dry mountain we would be swimming in a little river.
I was pretty pooped after that climb-- let's remember that the most I've ever ridden before this is 33 miles in Florida. But we still had a ways to go before dark so we kept pedaling along a reservoir. High of 96.
And then tragedy struck. Well not tragedy but major mechanical setback. I got a flat tire. A thorn poked through and I was slowly leaking. No problem, I had a tube and tire levers. Except..... we couldn't get the tire off. It was fused to the rim of the wheel, and even despite Travis struggling with the tools we had available. Like the tire levers wouldn't budge the tire, and the little screwdriver we had still wouldn't make the tire budge. We had to hitchhike back into town, in hopes of finding a bike shop that was still open and could service my bike before the July 4th weekend. There was a very real possibility that we'd be stuck in Boise for the next three days.
Luckily, the first pickup truck that we stuck our thumbs out for stopped for us, helped us load up the bikes and dropped us at REI. THANK YOU SO MUCH FRIENDLY IDAHOANS!!!
Then is was Mechanic Mike's time to shine. He dropped everything he was doing st the REI shop, and both he and Travis had to wrestle with this dumb tire. Totally fused. They had to use a screwdriver and the most intense metal tire lever I've ever seen, and it finally popped off.
We switched both my tires over to tubeless, which means instead of having a rubber tube inside the tire that inflates, the tube comes out and you fill the tire with gel that seals all the air inside. Then when I run over another thorn, the gel will squeeze out and plug the hole.
It was too discouraging to ride the hardest 35 miles of my life and end up at the same place we started, so we stayed at the RV park, right next to the most lit minor league baseball game I've ever heard. We're talking stadium-wide singalongs to Take Me Out To The Ballgame and Sweet Caroline. We ate about 10,000 calories of Panda Express, and then fell asleep.
Jen our Super Host borrowed Will's truck and we met her the next morning and she drove us right back to the spot where I got my flat. Like I said, I don't want to give any of her future guests too high of expectations, but how wonderful is she. Thanks Jen!
So yesterday was a good test run.... right?