DAY 58 JULY 24 75.6 MILES
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Lake Koocanusa is 90 miles long, stretching from the US well into Canada. It was formed by the construction of the Libby Dam in 1972 so it has not been in existence very long. The name originates from the first 3 letters of the Kootenai River, Canada and the USA. Construction of the dam solved a problem with flooding in the surrounding area as well as the generation of many megawatts of electrical power for the area.
When we first looked at the map for today's ride, we saw that it followed Lake Koocanusa for at least 50 miles and thought that the road would be relatively level. Wrong again. Although the elevation of the lake was constant, the road climbed or descended nearly the entire route. We climbed over 3,300 feet over the course of the day and descended nearly 4,000. I enjoyed the descending part much more than the climbing.
The grade of the hills was nothing like that of New England, however, so they were not difficult to climb. A few of the downhills lasted more than a mile and they were fun! But, of course, some of the uphills did as well. The lake is situated between 2 rows of mountains and the views, from the higher elevations, were more spectacular than when we were closer to water level. Actually, it was some of the most beautiful scenery we have experienced on the entire tour.
Although the day started sunny, clouds quickly moved in and an overcast eventually ruled the day. It turned quite cold with temperatures in the high 50's and low 60's in the afternoon. Rain threatened for much of the day but, other than a few isolated sprinkles, it never materialized. When we rode into Libby, we could see serious showers in the mountains beyond but they must have headed in a direction other than ours because they never reached town. Once again I was fortunate to find a good hotel near the camp but I hope my teammates have a good, dry night for a change.
Tomorrow is a 93 mile day to Sandpoint, Idaho. It will be the last day of over 70 miles on the tour and we will have our last rest day once we arrive in Sandpoint. The forecast is for a sunny day so bring it on!
Tip: Always keep your hands, wrists and elbows relaxed when riding.