Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | June 29, 2016

Day 17: The BIG CLIMB looms

Day 17
Destination: Swan Valley, Idaho
Today’s mileage: 52 miles. Total: 973

I’m going to keep this short. I need to conserve my strength (humor intended). I head over Teton Pass tomorrow. It’s a good climb to around 8,500 feet (from around 5,000 feet here) The road then descends into Jackson, Wyoming. From what I can tell, it’s a climb with some 10% grade roads that’ll test my mettle. It’ll be a long, slow, slog up that hill, but I’ll make it.

Today’s ride was part ordinary (leaving Idaho Falls wasn’t all that pretty) mixed with some soaring views of the Snake River valley and assorted beautifully laid out farm fields between 5,000-6,000 feet.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 8.51.22 PM

I’m in this picture, but that’s not important. Check out those fields. And those mountains.

I had two great and frightening downhill screamers where I was wedged along the shoulder with a rumble strip between me and the roadway. I was going about 35 mph when I noticed debris on the road ahead of me — and the road narrowing in spots. In one section, I had to slow down dramatically for safety’s sake (dammit). On another section, I cut across the rumble strips and hauled ass down the right lane of traffic, hoping that anyone coming from behind would, well, yield the road to me.

Since I’m writing this, you know I survived. Melody will post a video of some of this folly on the 55andalive website sometime tonight (I think).

On the air

This is how fancy people talk to radio shows from the road. That’s right, tonight we’re “cabin camping.” I need my beauty sleep tonight, after all!

I also got the chance to talk about this great adventure tonight on a web-based sports radio broadcast out of the Bay Area. The show, called Sports Middle with Kevin O’Dante and Gus Lignos, plays on It’s been on the air in various forms for 27 years. They’ll archive the show with my appearance at some point (I’ll try to alert you to it) and my appearance is at about the halfway point. The guys even said they might keep having me on each week to update them on the journey. I’ll try to let you know if that’s going to happen.

That’s about it. Remember to keep following along at to see Melody’s musings and more photos and videos. Melody’s working hard, and once we get through this next couple of days, it’s likely you’ll get the chance to meet some of the interesting people we’ve meet along the way.


  1. I’m loving following you!! You are amazing Mark, stay strong!

  2. WOW, radio appearances! You’re going to be such a celebrity!

  3. Caught the radio show … loved the part where you had to correct the hosts… Hey, Gus, he’s no longer with the Bucks, got traded about three years ago. Oh, right….

    • Ha. … Yeah, I wanted to let them know I was listening before we went on. … I’ve been out of internet range for a few days. … it’s nice to be back … lots of catching up to do. Wyoming. Wow.

  4. I imagine you’re on the road already as I type this, so I’m sending you all the “strong quad” vibes I can muster. Today more than ever I hope the wind is at your back, Mark. Forza!

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