After having an indoor rainy day yesterday of catching up on blog posts going to the movies to see Bourne (good), and splurging at Angelo’s Ristorante for Italian, we were ready for a challenge today. There are two long trails here (North Idaho Centennial Trail that follows the highway and Trail of the Coeur D’Alenes that is 71 miles of scenery.) Given the choices, you know we went with the converted Rails to Trails Trail of the Coeur D’Alenes, even though it was a 30 min drive from the campground. We had ridden on part of it two years ago when we toured Idaho and saw a moose on the trail so we were really looking forward to coming back. This time we started at the Cataldo Trailhead and rode west. Our intention was to ride my longest ever at 40 miles. This trail is FLAT! Not a single hill ever. At mile 5, Mark says, “I think we can go 50. How cool would that be? Let’s do 50.” My first thought was NO! It was 60F when we started and overcast, pretty much perfect for riding. I decided I wouldn’t actually decide until mile 37 so I could just enjoy the ride and not stress about the distance as either 40 or 50 would be a milestone for me. I don’t usually draft as it isn’t legal in the triathlons I do, but Mark wanted me to try so we hooked up and alternated leading and following. It’s amazing how much energy you save when you’re tucked in behind someone, and I mean right on their back wheel. Mark is a stronger cyclist than I am so he led more than I did, but we had a good time just enjoying this paved trail with no traffic. We saw several deer, lots of great blue heron, and lots of small lakes and rivers. We agreed to ride out 20 miles and back and then if we wanted, we would go an additional 5 miles out and back in the other direction. After averaging over 16 mph on the way out, we turned around and hit a headwind, and the slightest uphill and I started to struggle. Mark led much more than I did on this section. At mile 35, Mark asked what I was thinking and I decided this was the last bike ride for the next few days, we’d be sitting in the RV for 2 solid days driving home, so let’s go for it. You should have heard the encouragement and enthusiasm as we counted down the last 10 miles. The altitude here is 2150′ so our lungs were doing great, we definitely stayed in Zone 2, where we could easily breathe and chat, but our legs were definitely our rate-limiting factors today. However, the rush and thrill of finishing 50 miles was pretty awesome. I’m super proud of us and very pleased. It was something we did together every step (pedal stroke) of the way and we will always share that accomplishment and moment! By the time we finished, the temps had risen to 76 and the sun came out the last couple miles. It took us 3 hours and 21 minutes, only 130 feet of elevation gain, and our moving average was 15.7 mph. We enjoyed lunch on a shady picnic table at the trail head before driving back and taking Molly for a walk through the campground. I haven’t posted much about our meals in the RV. Tonight, our dinner was bacon wrapped BBQ shrimp, corn on the cob, instant mashed potatoes, and garlic rolls. We’ll take Molly for another short walk tonight both for her benefit and our own so we can flush out our legs a little bit. Tomorrow is the last full vacation day of our trip. Hard to believe it’s almost at the end. How does a month go by so fast?