Day 7: Wallace to Superior – 7th August
We had been warned about the start of todays ride by the locals in Wallace. Just out of town, there is a ten mile climb with a fairy steep gradient up to the Lookout Pass – a famous skiing spot in the Silver Valley. We set out on the ride and similar to the Tour de France, we attacked the climb with vigour! It was about an hour of hard pushing before we got to the top of the 4800 foot climb which lies on the border of Idaho and Montana. We were into our third State – Woohoo!
After some pictures at the summit, we rolled down the other side of the Pass and on through the rest of the day without too much difficulty. The only hold-up was three punctures Will suffered within half an hour – after which he felt like throwing his back wheel into the gorge below. The route we took passed by tiny Saltese, De Borgia and St. Regis – but these were fairly spread out and not that big.
We rolled into Superior at 2pm having covered 110kms which was a great day. We had secured accommodation in the Big Sky Motel in Superior but again there was a mix up in the jerseys and we were left with no reservation. Fortunately the Motel owner Sharon had plenty of room about the place to fit us in. Eoin and Will slept in the basement, Mark had a roll-out bed in the office, while Rob and Donal put the heads down on an air mattress in another empty room in the Motel. [Insert round of applause here for Eoin who suggested buying the air mattress for just these circumstances. Bravo Sir!]
Superior was buzzing when we arrived, partially because of the COA Team cruising through town, but partially because the County Fair and Rodeo were taking place that night. While we were having lunch in Durangos, the local restaurant, driver Rob Shiels was recruited to perform some Irish songs at the County Fair that evening. Unfortunately none of the COA Team had realised we had crossed into the Mountain time zone that day and had lost an hour on our clocks. Turning up just as the talent show finished and the crowd dispersed, Shiels was seen to be similar to a kettle boiling with rage. But never a man to let such obstacles stand in his way, Rob set up stall at a booth at the Fair and bellowed out Irish classics including Wild Rover and Black Velvet Band (joined by Mark as a cameo).
Shortly after, the rodeo began with the arena packed with a couple of thousand people – Superior has a population of only 800 people! We saw bull riding, bucking horses, cattle slinging, and a fairly insane event that involved kids between 8-15 years old chase after a calf trying to grab a flag tied to it’s neck. After the rodeo, a local band started up and we chatted to anyone that would listen! We got a great reception and we’re glad we hit Superior at just the right time!