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One hundred and fifty miles.
No matter how you say it or write it, 150 miles is a long day on the bike, especially with 12,000 feet of climbing attached to it.
Boise, Idaho was the last ride of the Rapha Continental summer tour, and after riding more than 3,000 miles in the past few months, this "last" ride is both a welcomed and melancholy end. When you get into the rhythm of riding back-to-back-to-back and traveling together, it's difficult to imagine the end and a return to the realities of riding amidst the pressures of work, family and so on. I'm sure it's the same way the pros feel the last day of a Grand Tour, where that last stage is a double-edged sword— on one side relieved that the race is soon to be over and the other side wishing for it to continue to go on. Your body and mind become accustomed to the hours, the pain and the beauty, so to end is a bit of a shock.
To celebrate the finale, Greg Johnson who started the first section of the tour back in May out of Austin, TX, returned. Aaron Erbeck, who rode the Midwest portion in June also made the trip. We were 16 strong, with our two hosts Bret and Jason, Dave Christenson - our cinematographer, Jason a friend from Seattle, a handful of locals, and nine Continental riders. It was going to be a good long hard day.
The Big Loop ride is difficult to find words for as there is so much one experiences while on the bike for nine hours. We moved through such diverse topography, passed through five small towns, paralleled three different rivers, summited three mountain passes, and with dry water bottles sought out water from a roadside farm and campgrounds. We also saw pumps in the river sifting for gold, observed class four whitewater rapids, hit 53 mph on an early descent, were attacked by vicious black flies up Lowman Pass, ate ice cream sandwiches at mile 110 (40 still to go), and descended into Lucky Peak State Park where a full blown Idaho beach existed.
To write about nine hours on the bike takes more space than a Road Journal entry, which is why we are excited to start posting the full ride reports for each Continental ride of the summer starting next month. After 27 rides in 23 states this summer, we have a wealth of photos, stories, videos, maps and cue sheets that we plan to share with you in-full over the fall and winter months. We hope that you will follow along and take inspiration throughout the season as we all plan for more riding and more adventure in 2010.
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