To Jackson - The Yellowstone Ride - CycleBlaze

June 13, 1995

To Jackson

Over Teton Pass

Today's ride is one I've worried about for a month now, and more so as the weather turned gloomy.  It is really a longer stage than I wanted to go in one day, especially since it traverses 8,400' Teton Pass at about mile 75.

I got a fairly early start, hoping to find some mild weather before the expected afternoon thunderstorms and planning to allow some extra hours for contingencies.  After a potato pancake breakfast I headed east up the Snake for Swan Valley, 45 miles away.  I had the best luck possible - no rain, and a good, steady tailwind.  As I sped up the gently rising Snake Valley Igradually worked my way out of the flat lands into the first foothills of the high country.  I made great time, covering the distance in under three hours and arriving at Swan Valley about 11.

After a brief break for coffee, chips and juice I left the main highway and turned north on the shorter, quieter but much more rugged route to Jackson, over Teton Pass.  The first fifteen miles on this road were steadily uphill through increasingly attractive country, with a sharp final two mile climb to the summit of (??) pass.  I continued to receive good tailwinds and balmy skies.  I am quite amazed by my good fortune so far, and am beginning to fantasize about arriving early and dry in Jackson and with enough energy left to see the town. 

After a brief break for a Power Bar, I coasted down to Victor, a modest hamlet in the heart of a lovely alpine valley, and then began climbing again toward the summit of Teton Pass, twelve miles to the east.  An hour and a half and two more Power Bars later, I made it - still dry but beaten down by the final three miles, a series of 8-10 percent rollers.

From the summit, the road drops straight down, losing 2,000' in four miles - it is an even worse grade on the eastern slope.  The view from the top is not comforting - far below, the Snake Valley stands out; but gloomy clouds surround it.  Intermittent thunderclaps and an occasional lightning strike cause me to wish I were done for the day.  Dropping from the summit, I fully expect to encounter a deluge; but nothing severe happens until I'm on the outskirts of Jackson, where I wait out a brief downpour under the overhang of a school building before pedaling on to the cabin I've reserved for the night.

The Snake, from Teton Pass. At least I think that’s what this is. I don’t have many photos from this tour, and none of them are labeled.
Heart 0 Comment 0

My fantasies have been partially fulfilled.  I reached Jackson by 4:30 and am not terribly wet; but I'm quite a bit wearier than I would have liked.  After showering and changing clothes, I  walked the few blocks to the commercial center of town and milled around, checking out every restaurant before settling in at Mountain High Pizza Pie and stuffing myself on a great deep dish combination and a Teton stout.  I had just about enough energy left to make it back to the cabin, where I collapsed and dropped off the map for the next eleven hours.

In Jackson
Heart 2 Comment 0

Total elevation gain: 6,200’

Today's ride: 90 miles (145 km)
Total: 90 miles (145 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 2
Comment on this entry Comment 0