Cook Brothers’ Epic Bike Ride

Back in the summer of 2003 Lyle and two of his brothers went on a 125-mile bike ride in one day, in honor of their oldest brother’s 50th birthday that year. I journaled this epic event, but didn’t post it to my blog at that time.

Yesterday my brother-in-law came across the email I had sent with links to the pictures that I posted online at the time. The links were long-since dead so he couldn’t view the pictures that way. I told him I still had the pictures on my hard-drive and if he’d forward the journal entry to me I would make a blog post about it now.

And so… throw-back 14 years to when…

  • digital pictures were stamped with the date
  • cell phone calls were charged by the minute so we only used them if we really needed to
  • texting wasn’t even a thing
  • my kids were ages 7 and 10
  • the rest of us were considerably younger

June 28, 2003.

Les, Loren, and Lyle wanted to break Les’ old record of riding 120 miles in one day. Les had come up from Kansas specifically to do this!

They chose The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. This route is the old Union Pacific Railroad bed.

They started in the middle and rode to one end, then back to the middle, then the other end, and back to the middle.

5:30 a.m. Les and Loren arrived at our house with their bikes in the back of Loren’s pickup. I had loaded our car with a cooler full of ice, Gater-Ade, and bottled water, and another cooler of snacks. Lyle put his bike in the pick-up. We woke the kids up and got them in the car, and then we set off.

The closest trailhead was at Cataldo (Mile Marker 42.0), so that’s where they parked the pickup and unloaded the bikes.

They decided to head west towards Harrison, and hopefully Plummer first. The girls and I were the “Sag Wagon” hosts! We were to meet at various trailheads along the way to offer refreshment and any needed emergency care! (ibuprofen, sunscreen, fluids, potassium– in the form of bananas!)

6:30 a.m. They’re off!

Our first meeting place was at the Bull Run Lake Trailhead (Mile Marker 33.5). It was 10.5 miles by highway, and 8.5 miles by the bike trail.

When the guys got there they just kept riding and hollered at us, “Meet us at Black Rock Trailhead…”

Black Rock Trailhead (Mile Marker 31.2) 2.3 more miles by bike… a little further than that by car.

The GatorAde tastes good but they’re still pretty fresh… only 12.8 miles so far…

And on we go… the next scheduled break is at Springston Trailhead (nearly to Harrison) in another 12.8 miles, but about 30 miles by car. We did stop at the Medimont Trailhead to wave at them as they went by.

We arrived at Springston Trailhead and waited for about 30 minutes before the guys finally came pedalling in from the opposite direction! I wasn’t there when they had arrived, so they went on to the next rest area. They finally realized that I was probably behind them so they came back. That was the only time they beat the car on their bikes!

 The “bumpy bridge” (with wooden slats) we had to drive over to get to the Springston Trailhead.

 The bikers are grateful to sit down in the shade to rest their legs for a bit.

Break time is over…

 They headed toward Plummer this time. They were not sure if the bridge across Lake Chatcolet was open yet (this is a new trail). But they wanted to go as far as they could. I reminded them to wait for me at the next trailhead because it was a distance of 40 miles by car, but only 11 by bike.

I had driven about 30 miles and had just entered Heyburn State Park when my cell phone rang. The Chatcolet bridge was not open. Turn around and go back to Springston Trailhead! We pulled into Springston Trailhead almost simultaneously. Next stop, Black Rock Trailhead again.

 Arriving at Black Rock Trailhead for the second time. The day is warming up!

 Lyle enjoying a cold drink.

Loren found the shade!

 Planning the next leg.

Next stop. Back to Cataldo for lunch before starting out on the eastern leg of the trip. This time we arrived well ahead of the bikers. Even had time to stop at the convenience store for some more ice. We staked out the only picnic table that was in the shade. Our efforts were much appreciated!

Even the hard ol’ ground feels good, just to stretch out.

 The girls provided Daddy with a pillow!

 Uncle Les gets acquainted with Rebecca’s doggy puppet.

 Loren uses his helmet for a pillow.

 On the road again!

 This part of the trail has more frequent rest stops, and the trailheads are closer together. Enaville Trailhead Mile Marker 47.1. They didn’t stop here, we just waved to them as they went by.

Pine Creek Trailhead (Mile Marker 48.7).

 Another wave by, Smelterville Trailhead (Mile Marker 51.1.)

 Silver Mountain Trailhead (Mile Marker 53.1) at Kellogg. This was a wave-by as we went just a little further down the street to a city park to stop!

 We arrived at the park just a minute or so behind our bikers to this lovely view of Cook shins! Can you recognize them from this angle?

 Lyle taking a breather.

 Loren and Les resting their legs.

Shont Trailhead (Mile Marker 57.4) at Big Creek.

 Gene Day Park just outside of Osburn. Boy, that grassy shade is welcome!

Getting up their courage to keep going!

 Waiting at Wallace. The bike route goes under the interstate through here. More welcome shade! Wallace Trailhead (Mile Marker 64.6)

 The Wallace Depot which is now a railroad museum for the Union Pacific Railroad, which is now the bike trail!

 And here they come!

 Loren applies more sunscreen to his nose and checks in with Sue.

 Les needs more sunscreen, too!

The bikers went 2 miles past Wallace before turning around. It is approximately 25 miles back to Cataldo. They’ve put in 100 miles so far!

 Approaching the Osburn Trailhead (Mile Marker 60.4).

 Elizabeth Park Trailhead. (Mile Marker 55.2) The bikers are needing more frequent breaks by now.

 And finally, back to Cataldo! Sue and the 7 children (Loren’s 5 and Les’ 2) met us and the daddies there.

The time was 6:45 p.m. It had taken 12 hours and 15 minutes to ride 125 miles.

The brothers reported

  • seeing something over 500 other bikers
  • various wildlife including deer, snakes, ducks
  • being involved in a cow chase at one point
  • a section of the trail that was completely white from sea-gull droppings (along the lake)

It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that they still talk about!

One Comment

  • rachelgoingcreative

    That is an absolutely awesome story, memory maker and documentation of their adventure. I loved seeing the pictures of Laura standing off to the side “observing them” at the stops. I think it is neat you followed along to “help”.

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