Monday, August 6, 2007

s24o: Sandpoint Road Loop

After work Saturday I packed a very basic overnight kit into a back pack (17 pounds total weight) and headed north. I followed Highway 2 to Sandpoint (80 miles). I originally thought that I was going to spend the night on the beach but favorable wind got me into town early so after having some coffee and pastries I continued on my way. I went south on Highway 95 across the Long Bridge. A full belly, late day sun and a bike lane that is wider than the highway it is coupled with made for some happy riding. I made it to Athol (110 miles) by 9:00 p.m. and really wanted to keep going but I realized that if I didn't stop I would be tempted to just ride home rather than sleep in the bushes. Since the point of the trip was to get an overnight in, I headed East into Farragut State Park to poach a piece of ground to sleep on. I cruised through the campground loops and was surprised to see that new bathrooms have been built since I was at Farragut last. The bathrooms have private rooms with free showers. No shower for me I was just interested in filling my water bottles. The bathroom sinks are too shallow to do the job so the showers came in handy.
I did not have a alarm clock so I found a big open field with the theory that the early morning light would gently wake me. The field was across the road from a campground loop and set back behind some trees and boulders. It seemed ideal. I was not expecting that the sound of trucks and cars would be coming and going ALL NIGHT LONG. Diesel engines idling, brakes squeaking, horns honking. I was amazed at the racket.
It wasn't dawn's early light that woke me, it was the sound of automatic lawn sprinklers. It seems that the field that I was in, despite it's lack of grass was some kind of activities area and was watered nightly. I moved fast and was able to pack up and get out before the water cycle began in my part of the field. By 5:00 a.m. I was back in Athol having coffee and eating a croissant egg sandwich from the deli case. Helpful Tip: Don't eat croissant egg sandwiches from gas stations in Athol, Idaho. I wasted some time trying to find Diagonal Road. I should have looked at the map a little closer because I ended up back on Highway 95 through one of the deadliest stretches of highway in the area, Luckily it was early and traffic was non-existant.
I made it home (180 miles) by 9:00 a.m. had a shower and enjoyed some real breakfast. When the ride started I was disturbed by the amount of discomfort my pack was putting on my right shoulder. Later my arse began to throb and then my hands started to show the effects of riding with no gloves and ultra thin handlebar tape. I never worry about these things much because I believe in Pain Attention Disorder. I get distracted by a striking sunset, nasty roadkill or by a newer more interesting pain and forget about what seemed like an important bodily protest.
What I learned on this ride: need to eat more food that is not high sugar content, to sleep soundly in farragut you must go way off the beaten path, Chrome bike pants rub my junk the wrong way after 100 miles, Even on quick trips some extra bag balm would be handy, when wearing thin socks the tongue of my Sidi's rub my foot, I need to commute with more weight in my pack.

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