Today was a long ride of 97 miles, though not terribly challenging vertically, as we climbed under 3000 feet. I would say that fatigue on the bike climbs dramatically after mile 80 or so, and with the heat, I was exhausted when I finished. We were told that it was going to be over 100 degrees mid-day, so we started early, at 6am. The sun was still rising from behind the mountains, so daylight was low. It felt cool, maybe 56 degrees or so. In the first few miles the temperature actually dropped (lower elevation) to 48 degrees and it was pretty cold for the first hour or so. But the scenery along the way was classic: the arid terrain is punctuated by irrigated fields, and at the beginning the rising sun cast shadows of our profiles on the bike on a field to the right, while on the other side huge irrigation sprinklers sparkled with the same angular sun shining through. It was completely quiet except for a group of us on our bikes. It’s not possible to catch a moment like that in a photograph, you gotta be willing to ride your bike across the country to have the experience. We rode 97 miles and it was 99 degrees on my bike computer at the finish. A few guys wanted to ride 3 more miles, otherwise not feeling comfortable adding this to their lifetime lists of completed centuries. Get a life!

We are in Twin Falls, set near Snake River Canyon, a very impressive looking sight. The Snake River Canyon is “only” about 500 feet deep (The Grand Canyon is generally about 4000 feet deep), but it is still stunning to see the Snake River move along the bottom of the canyon. Twin Falls became the center of national attention in 1974 thanks to an attempt by Evel Knievel to jump the Snake River Canyon in a specially-modified rocket cycle. Watched by millions on television, the attempt ultimately failed due to high winds and a premature deployment of his parachute. The Perrine Bridge, which spans the Snake River Canyon, is one of only a handful of artificial structures worldwide where BASE jumping–jumping with a parachute from a Building, Antenna, Span and Earth–is legal. We may see some jumpers in the morning on the way out of town.

Twin Falls is also the place Christina Hendricks of “Mad Men” considers home. That’s kind of exciting! Part II of Twin Falls will be reported on tomorrow as we are going to do more sightseeing on the way out of town…

Snake River Canyon, Twin Falls Idaho

By Perrine Bridge over Snake River Canyon