“The problem with today’s society is that it makes it too easy to not do what I want.” – Me.
Dan, Mike and I sat wide eyed and dazed. The grass that surrounded us was covered in rain flies, jackets and what nots. The effort to get to Montpelier was obvious in our reluctance to continue. We had lost one man already and we knew we had a couple of passes to climb. At this rate of attrition only one of us would make it to Afton, if any of us did.
And then it was just Mike and I, Dan had disappeared.
As we sat waiting for him to return, my thoughts began to navigate through the haze and pain that was covering my synapses. Here we sat feeling as if we had died and been resurrected and then asked to kill ourselves. Our elation of making it to Montpelier was quickly dampened by our fear of the pain that laid ahead. Our efforts seemed monumental, to us. I thought about the faces of the gas station clerks. There look of wonder and disgust when we answered that we were riding our bike a whole 200 miles in 3 days. How is that we have arrived at a time when riding your bike is seen as monumental? How is walking through the forest carrying whatever you need for your stay with you, hard? What has happened that we are all so soft that the few of us that search out pain and hardship have such a low benchmark?
I no longer saw my suffering as even significant, rather I was disgusted with myself that I had ever thought any of this was hard. I felt guilty that at the end of my starvation I was able to simply walk into a store, pass over a plastic card in return for high levels of sugar and carbs. And to top it off, they gave me money back.
Dan reappeared. Apparently our famine and feast cycle had not sat well with his stomach.
We packed our gear back into our trailers and looked across the road to where we knew we would soon be climbing. We all agreed that we should hit the gas station again to ensure that we had enough food to make it to the Wyoming border where the little convenience store sits. We wandered across the road and found ourselves a place to grab processed snacks. I quickly learned that in Idaho, you can buy beer and wine but not liquor on Sunday. No refill on the Tequila.
After our supply levels were above threshold, we began our trip toward Geneva. My sugar levels must have been doing something funny because this section is a little fuzzy. I remember us more or less staying together. The three of us (I’m of course speaking for others without asking) felt a great loss as KC was no longer there to make us all smile. I do remember thinking to myself several times, “I miss KC.”
We began to climb. My memory was completely void on this summit. I remembered there being two climbs and that was it. Luckily, Geneva is somewhat unmemorable. Sure you climb, but it’s not that bad. It’s not long and it isn’t steep. We made good time as the rolling hills slowly took us up the summit. The last half mile or so Mike and Double D left me behind as my lack of gears left me needing a rest stop or two. We made it to the top and didn’t even stop for photos. Next stop the Wyoming border.
As we came upon the small convenience store, everything looked absolutely normal until we could see the sign and it wasn’t the sign for the Wyoming border. I was confused, questioned myself and then told everyone the sign was missing, because it was.
The old lady that had helped KC and I a few years back wasn’t there. In her place was a 40something guy, who couldn’t get the cash register to work. He finally just told us how much our Gatorade was and used the calculator to figure our change.
At this point we had the KOM, Star River Pass to look forward to. This was a climb that I had walked a good chunk of last time. My legs were getting tired and there wasn’t much left when I made the last turn. Dan and Mike had been out of sight for a about ten minutes when I finally could see the top. I would walk, try to ride, give up and walk some more. When I hit the sign showing 1500 feet to the scenic lookout, I thought I’ll ride the last bit. I tried, but ended up walking until the grade started to level out for the summit.
I found Dan and Mike waiting for me.
Once at the top of the summit and high fives had been had, we dropped smartly into Star Valley. From the top to Afton is a nice ride. You get a good descent that contains some turns to keep you on your toes and a steep enough grade that you feel rewarded for your effort. Once down the decline, the valley is pretty much flat except for a few rolling hills.
When KC and I had entered the valley on the original addition of Slotoja, we were hit with a head wind that brought our pace to what some would consider a stand still. This time around, there was no wind and we soft pedaled our way into town. As we passed a bridge where KC and I had stopped to rest, I couldn’t help but remember how dead we were at that point. We had stopped to rest at a point that was only about 5 minutes from town.
The last thing that Mr. Anderson had done before he died, was to check his phone for KOA’s in Afton. According to his phone there was one just outside of town. We rolled into Adventure’s First Stop and asked where the KOA was at. Well, it was about 30 miles away in Alpine. Fuck me! We were told by a local that we could ride about two miles uphill and there was some public land we could camp on. She commented, “If these old legs can do it, you can.” I’m not sure she realized the comparison she was making.
We rolled into the Lazy B, which had been recommended to us. The fee, $30 a person to stay the night. There was some reluctance, but after a hot shower we all agreed that the $30 was worth it. And besides that, how many motels put their microwave where the TV goes?