Today we rode 63 miles and climbed 2700 feet traveling from Ontario to Boise, ID. Finally, we are in another state. In Oregon we rode approximately 644 miles and climbed over 28,000 feet in 8 days of serious riding. We saw some spectacular scenery, ranging from what one imagines in the Pacific Northwest, to the more dry and desert like climate in the eastern part of the state. We are finally starting to remember each other’s names. The support team knows who we are as well, and has a sense of what kind of riders we are, and is better able to offer specific advice geared to my riding style. This tour can be bought in segments, and 5 of the initial 50 or so riders went home tonight. The rest of us are going completely across the country. Overall, we are settling in. Tomorrow is our first rest day.

When I was researching the ride and saw rest days on the schedule I was a bit cynical about that. Why not just keep on going? Well, I have a better appreciation for why they build these into the schedule. It isn’t just resting tired leg muscles, so much as curtailing small injuries before they get worse. For example, I have been feeling some left ankle swelling that I attributed to cleat placement on my shoes and strained tendons in my foot. When I went to get some help from the mechanic with the cleats today, I wasn’t prepared for the concern that they voiced. Start ice immediately. Elevate. Take ibuprofin. It seems that last year a rider had to terminate the ride for the same condition due to the fact that his ankle would no longer clear the crank on the pedals. Uh oh. I am heeding the advice, and I’m pretty sure I will be OK. But as with a lot of things on this trip, there is the potential for “little” things to snowball into bigger problems in a way that just does not happen biking back home. Some riders have developed saddle sores. In fact I would say that we almost all have saddle sores to some degree, but we are learning techniques to keep them at bay because believe it or not, a saddle sore could also get serious enough to end a ride. I am not sure I knew what a saddle sore was before this ride, thinking it generally just a sore butt from being on the bike. No. I will try and spare gory details, but they are generally caused by chafing and sweating and riding in the rain for hours on end. There are distinct “types” of saddle sores from raw skin to inflamed pores to something akin to a bed sore in a hospital, and each is attacked and treated in a slightly different way. So, showering and immediately changing clothes after a ride (tough to do given check in times at new hotel and/or waiting for luggage to arrive) is key. Skip underwear at night. Use chamois creams. Apply antibiotic cream to anything seeming to be infected. Consciously remember to get off the saddle when riding to help blood flow. Got the picture?

Many people in the group are getting massages tomorrow. We were also told to maybe go for a cruising bike ride tomorrow just to keep legs limber, which seems strange, but will be a good way to see the city. So, tomorrow I am a tourist in Boise…