July 4th, Day 16: Jackson, WY to Dubois, WY: 86 miles, 4648 ft ascent

 “It’s All Downhill from here” is an apposite observation regarding: 

  • The average age of our group of co-riders
  • Our crossing of the Continental Divide today, just below the summit of Togwotee Pass
  • Our stunningly fast 28 mile ride from the top of the pass to our hotel in Dubois, which we covered in just a shade over one hour, due to it indeed almost all being downhill

See here for lots of stuff on continental divides, but tl;dr Heggie Definition “if you pee to the left you’ll top up the Pacific, and if you pee to the right you’ll do the same for the Atlantic.”

At 9,658 ft. Togwotee Pass is the highest point on our Transamerica ride, but it was a much more forgiving climb than yesterday’s Teton Pass. See a future post entitled ‘On The Kindness Of Hills’ for more thoughts on this topic.

Chris and Ali at the continental divide sign

Indeed the 22 mile 3,000 ft. climb to the summit of Togwotee Pass was so well graded that we never had to use the granny ring. The latter is cycling parlance for the small front chain ring that provides sufficiently low gearing to allow old duffers, lardy arses and tandems (or in my case all three of the above) to access heights that should be the exclusive domain of the young, fit and beautiful. But then again, I was hanging on the coat tails of Alastair, who at least qualifies as young and fit.

As promised, the winner of the Mairs-Heggie Point contest is Nigel Hubbard, who came up with the following one liner at 6.43am BST the day after we posted the question:

“the Mairs-Heggie point is a golden section thing where your day's progress is exactly in proportion to your journey progress as a whole”.

Here’s a worked example. Today’s Mairs-Heggie Point is 25.9181. The total distance for today is 86, so when we reach the Mairs Heggie Point we are 30.14% of the way through what we need to do. At the MHP, we will have covered 1100.9 miles since the start of the ride on Day 0. The total journey mileage is 3,653, so we have covered 30.14% of the total journey, as well as having covered 30.14% of the day’s journey. As we proceed through the journey the % figure goes up each day, but because the daily ride lengths vary, the MHPs are not a monotonic sequence (see chart below).

Chart of Mairs-Heggie points

Well, it seemed sort of interesting to me and Alastair anyway. We’re now off out to see what sort of prize we can buy for Nigel on Independence Day in Dubois, population 998.

We just missed the Independence Day parade here, which temporarily trebled the population of Dubois. We were just in time to catch one World War II tank which seemed to be having more mechanicals than Genevieve, and a bunch of horse riders galloping down Main St whilst simultaneously enjoying an Adult Beverage (a charming  American circumlocution for beer which I will henceforth adopt when arranging spontaneous trips to the pub). But there will be fireworks later this evening and judging by some of the practice ones we’ve already heard, they will be LOUD, LOUD, LOUD!