Riding The Tour De Vins 54 Mile Route

Family Services Alliance of Southeast Idaho puts on a yearly bike ride called the Tour de Vins and they have a variety of routes that can be taken.  The routes range from “kid friendly” to “one heck of a 3 hour workout”.  Naturally I had to sign-up for the most difficult one (see route here).  I’ve been cycling for 4 years now, I think I can handle it!  Here are my personal and bicycle specs so that you can compare with your own:

Mercier Galaxy Steel

My Crazy-Fast Road Racer!

Bicycle Specs:

  • 2007 Mercier Galaxy Steel
  • 58 cm Reynolds DB520 steel frame and cro-moly fork
  • 52/42/30 tooth crankset, 11-30 tooth cog set
  • Shimano Sora front derailleur, Shimano Deore rear derailleur
  • 26 mm tires inflated to 120 psi

Cyclist Specs:

  • Height: 6 feet 0 inches
  • Weight: 205 lbs
  • Training style:  commute to work by bicycle, do long, hard rides on the weekends when time allows
  • Diet: mostly healthy stuff, probably too much beer  :-D
  • Cycling strengths: holding momentum after a downhill followed by flat terrain  ;-)
  • Cycling weaknesses: hillclimbing!  It hurts, it hurts, boo hooo.  :-(
Korey the cyclist

A photo taken on a completely different day. I didn’t dress this way on this ride. Honest.

The Route:

So, How Was It, Korey?

I pretty much knew what I was in for with this route since I’ve cycled around the area a lot.  Before this ride, the only time I cycled over Buckskin from the southeast direction was when I was coming back to Pocatello from Inkom, not from McCammon.  Yeah, this was going to be hard.

I felt really good that morning, and I cycled out to McCammon from Pocatello in about 1 1/2 hours.  16.6 mph average, not bad.  The day was pretty cool (I had started at 8 am) and I had only drank about a half liter of water by the time I passed through McCammon.  I started feeling pretty hungry on the way back to Inkom, so I stopped for a peanut butter sandwich break, which is my preferred cycling food ;-).  I was still feeling pretty good by the time I reached the Inkom park to refill my water bottles.  I only filled my 1 liter bottle at the drinking fountain thinking that cycling back to Pocatello over Buckskin wouldn’t require any more water than that.  And this turned out to be a mistake!

My legs were pretty fatigued after a few miles going up Rapid Creek, but I kept my gear low and paced myself.  I knew it was going to get a lot steeper.  I’m used to going up and over the steepest part of Buckskin going back to Pocatlello, so Hoot Owl Road on this route was a welcome relief.  By the time I was in the middle of Hoot Owl Road, the temperature was getting close to 80 F and the humidity was 30%, especially in the lush, green Buckskin canyon.  Soon, I was drinking water and sprinkling some on my head.  This road kind of seems endless when you’re tired, doesn’t it?  There’s a lot of bends in it that look a little similar, so it plays tricks with your mind.

Soon, I only had a small amount of warm water in the bottom of my bottle and I still had some climbing to go.  I was longing for a full bottle of ice water to dump on myself.  Yeah, I really should have filled both bottles before attempting this slow, long, hot climb.  My legs were dead and I was thirsty, but I’ve been in this situation before and the best thing to do is to go at a very slow, steady pace.  I looked at my speedometer and it said “4.5 mph”.  Yeah, can’t go much slower than that.

Eventually, I recognized the houses near the top of the climb and I painfully picked up my pace.  Ah, the downhill, how I have missed you!  It felt really dang good to finally get some wind whipping past my roasted body.  I new that only 1 hill-climb remained: East Terry St.  I was seriously considering just zipping down Parks Road instead.  But I knew that a good, long downhill can really give you a big boost of feel-good chemicals, so doing Terry probably wouldn’t be too bad.  And it wasn’t.  The elevation of Buckskin road is about in the “middle” of Terry Street’s elevation, so there really isn’t that much of a hill climb to do, even though hill climbing at this point is a very undesirable thought.

I was glad I successfully completed the route, and I’m actually looking forward to doing it again for the Tour de Vins!  Only this time, I’m going to make sure I have 2 bottles of water before Buckskin, especially if the temperature is over 70 F.  Temperature and water quantity are proportional.  :-)

4 comments to Riding The Tour De Vins 54 Mile Route

  • Jona

    Sweet! Never scrimp on water though, you silly man! So did you go this alone? If so, megga kudos for not bypassing Terry! Props. I was well satisfied with my 25 miler, though two of those little hills tried to stop me! They did last time & I walked both. The first one I was determined to do (prior to Inkom, so not yet halfway through & plenty of energy) but the second one (on old Hwy 30 as it passes under the interstate) which isn’t even all that steep had me wanting to walk. I tried, actually, but couldn’t get my left foot out of my new clippy peddles, so doggedly peddled on. Other than the train tracks outside Ross Park, I didn’t stop on the ride. Of course, I tipped over, my left foot still clipped in: nice bruise today! (4 months of roller derby and no bruises – go figure); I can only hope to ride your route…maybe in a couple of years!

    Good job! If not before, perhaps I’ll see you on the 17th!

  • I know, I should know by now that you should take about twice as much water as you think you need on an 80 F day! Yup, I did it by myself. Sometimes that’s a good thing since you can totally focus on how you feel and go at your own pace. I tend to try to keep up with others on group rides and usually poop myself out too quickly. Good job on your ride! Yeah, hills take time to get used to. You just have to hit a low gear and try to relax. Or at least that’s what I keep trying to do. :-) And, yes, there’s an old saying that goes something along the lines of “you WILL fall over at least once when getting used to clipless pedals.” I know I did. And I did it while riding with Travis, at a busy intersection full of cars. :-p

  • Ah, I see your time now. Man do I need to work on my biking (and my roller skating – I can tell this is going to be a busy fall!) if you did 32 miles more than me, plus all that elevation gain, in a mere 1 1/2 hours more than my route took me. Pansy! I am a pansy! I did find it humorous that on the climb under the interstate I was trying desperately to get out of my left clip and finally gave in to peddling because I was going to slow I was about to tip over – and there was plenty of traffic. Geared low and did fine. The other hills I geared low until I was “nearish” the top, then just because I could, geared back up and got out of the saddle to peddle. That is way more fun than sitting down, but dang the butt and heart muscles get quite the little workout! Not to mention it’s something I couldn’t do on the Townie, so of course, I must do it now!

    More riding time, that’s what I need. And more skating time. If only I could bike, skate and knit at the same time – I’d get ever so much done!

  • Haha, you aren’t a pansy. You are advancing really quickly. After 4 years of cycling, you’ll be where I’m at. Yeah, it takes some time to advance just like any other endurance activity, but it’s a lot of fun. I’m actually pretty paranoid of clipless pedals, so I’ve got them loosened up all the way for unclipping quickly. And when I come to a stop, I unclip both feet. Travis always laughs at me when I do that. ;-p Good job getting out of the saddle when you’re near the top of a hill. That’s actually a technique that professional cyclists use! I’ve read a few cycling technique books from the ISU Library and I’ve watched a bit of televised cycling. That’s really all I know about professional cycling. Oh, and I joined Idaho Cycling Enthusiasts one year. :-)

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