Monday night I took advantage of the nice weather (as usual, contrary to that predicted) to take on one of my old favorite rides–rounding the butte. That’s pronounced ‘b-yute" not "butt" though the latter reflects my feelings toward the topographical phenomenon after a failed attempt at mt biking up it …
The butte ride is west of here off hwy 33 (yes, that means hanging out with the semi trucks, but I feel safer with them than I do with some of you folks and your in-town driving). The thing I like about the butte ride is that it’s mostly over flat surfaces (which allow me to focus on my pedaling technique) though it also rolls over a decently steep road section next to the butte (the one and only hill interval of the ride). It’s a really quiet ride. Once you get off state highway 33, there isn’t a whole lot of traffic, but you do get to enjoy the green fields on your right and left and the scenic views of the aforementioned foothills and the not-mentioned Teton mountain range. If you feel really enthusiastic for some mileage, you can even ride out to Mud Lake (aptly named) for distances of more than 50 total miles.
Before I’d left on Monday, I’d driven home and had to turn on the cold air vent to cool off in the car (did everyone read that, it said COLD AIR), which hasn’t happened since mid-September, so I assumed it was warm enough for me to dress down a little for this ride. I did pack some gloves and my reflective vest just in case the sun decided to set while I wasn’t looking. Murphy’s law (and Murphy’s my next-door neighbor, so I’d know) dictated that I would indeed need the gloves and I did. It was cold. But it felt good to get some mileage in.
No signs of rattlesnakes as I neared the butte today (that’s what cyclists worry about instead of sharks, for you triathlete folk), but it was cold enough to persuade me to turn around early and keep my ride on the flats. I’d ridden the whole way out to the buttes at about 21-23 mph, knowing that I really had a tailwind (even though I couldn’t feel it) and I’d be turning around to face a headwind on the way back. Yup, that’s what I found as I changed directions, but unlike previous rides where I’d been subdued to a pathetic 16 mph, I managed to keep 18 mph for most of the way home (slight dips to 17, slight surges to 19). You know what that means? I really am in slightly better shape than I was last year. Huzzah!
Too bad that, like usual, I neglected to actually hit the button on my bike computer that tells me what my average speed was. That might have been nice to know.
P.S. I didn’t take the attached photo (I just found it on the web), but you can bet I’ve got one or two just like it at home in my stack of photos. Those are the buttes in the distance, though they look really far away from this vantage point.