We all woke up a little fearful of what was to come. With the day prior prohibiting us from riding, we were fully humbled and aware that mother nature had the ultimate say in what our day would entail. However, as we stepped outside, onto our cabin patio at the Teton Lodge, we were hopeful that we were promised good fortune. The sun was shining, the clouds were few and far between in the vast blue sky, and our bodies had a full evening of recuperation that had us feeling ready to conquer the pass.
We ate breakfast at the lodge from 8:00-8:30 and set out for mile marker 114 (where we left off the day before) around 9. Being on the road by 10 was a little later than we would’ve anticipated, but when free breakfast is provided, you reconsider plans 🙂 The first 25 miles were incredibly beautiful. A few rolling hills, but primarily flat lands had us giddy with excitement that we were able to save our leg muscles for what was lying ahead! The fields were lush green, the mountains were crystal clear directly ahead of us (we were grateful to be able to see them…being visual goal people), and the wind was minimal. We could not have asked for more picturesque, dreamy riding conditions. We passed through Driggs and went straight to Victor where we met the van at a local bike shop that was more than helpful. We ate lunch in their parking lot and they hooked us up with some delicious pour over coffee! Maybe it was because they were just THAT nice, but I would also draw the conclusion they were taking pity on us when they heard we were about to set out for the pass, but we sure didn’t mind (coffee is kind of our thing).
From Victor, we set out to climb the pass. With anxious assumptions at what was to come, we took our time warming our legs up. The first four miles or so was flat, getting us into the canyon of the pass. From there, there was a steady incline for about 6 miles at a more gradual grade. We were turning each curve with caution, wondering when the dreadful 3 miles of 10% grade would blindside us. Though GMR was a great training mountain that was close to school and able to get us us ready for most climbs, we knew what we were in for required a little more from our legs!
As we had been warned, the 10% grade came fast. It was one of the most dreadful, exhilarating, crazy things we have done thus far! It was breath-taking, literally, because of the 8,000 ft. elevation levels, but also because of the vast amount of beauty that surrounded us. The snow, the green pine trees, the bright blue mountains, and the stillness of the air all kept our eyes semi preoccupied while our legs kept working. Going a short 3 miles took us a bit over 30 minutes with how steep we were climbing! At one point, the garmin assured us we were climbing an 18% grade. Just to put it in perspective for those of you who know anything about Glendora Mountain Road, the average grade is about 5-6%. However, with extra loud music blaring in our headphones and the sight of one another climbing got us up the mountain! Reaching the top was one of the most dynamic and surreal moments! Mainly because we looked over all Jackson Hole- the mountain ranges, the miles of green pastures, the livestock, and the cars that seemed so small. But also because it was over!
At the top of the pass we layered quite heavily with all the clothes we could find to wear for the descent. With the temperature being just over 30 degrees at the top of the pass, we each put on about 3 jackets, leggings, and helmet warmers before we started off again. The ride down was both intoxicatingly gorgeous and also quite frightening! All we wanted to do was take in the beauty and look around, but with cars flying down the mountain as well, we had to pay close attention to each mile we traveled. We reached a high of 48 mph! (Sorry parents, it was too fun!) At the bottom of the pass we were able to get onto a great bike path which carried us about 9 miles into town where we met our support drivers at another local bike shop. Lysh was able to get knew break pads and they even had cold beer ready for us as we arrived- what a dream Wyoming was from the start!
We stayed the weekend with our incredibly hospitable, hilarious, and kind hosts Maria and Berkely. They welcomed us in so graciously, as all hosts have done thus far for us. They had a plethora of veggies, fruits, crackers, and dips to begin. Their home had a cozy, cabin feel to it that made our stay a dream. Their quick love for us was felt so deeply and we were able to spend the night talking with them, hearing stories, and enjoying some much needed downtime! Our drivers informed them we were craving good, healthy food so they made a divine meal from scratch that was above and beyond anything we could’ve asked for!
Today we were able to enjoy a full rest day! We took full advantage of it, minus the resting part. Waking up to fresh coffee and breakfast at 7:30 with Maria and Berkely got us up and ready to spend the day exploring beautiful Yellowstone. This state is such a dream! We drove through the Teton National park, around Yellowstone, and spent the full day adventuring in the outdoors of amazing Wyoming. It was everything it was cracked up to be. Bison, bears, blue skies, and indescribable water every direction we looked. Needless to say, our 36 (ish) hours in Wyoming has already been an unforgettable experience. One that has been full of newness, hospitality, yummy food, and GRAND views!
It’s 8:45 pm and we’re already getting ready for bed. Tomorrow, we set out for a 90 mile day with 4,500 ft. elevation gain. It is said to be one of the most beautiful days of the ride! We are excited, ready, and expectant that it will be nothing short of amazing the same way these past two weeks have been! We will be writing more about that day once we experience it and have more to inform y’all about 🙂
In the meantime, we will continue to document moments, capture views that we can’t describe, and spread awareness as often as we can about the water crisis! Thank you for reading, and we can’t wait for what lies ahead in this state. The journey is ever moving and ever valuable. More to come soon!
Your Ride for Water Ladies