Follow-up to Hiawatha Trail ride

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Six of us biked the incredible Route of the Hiawatha Rail-Trail a week ago. (See entry 9/8/09 for details on trail).

Long-time bicyclist Jimmy Smith (works at Wheel Sport in Spokane, Wash.) and I started off from the East Portal Trailhead (elev. 4147) in Montana and headed through the 1.7 mile Taft Tunnel. (The others elected to drive five miles along Forest Service road 506 to the Roland [elev. 4150] Trailhead.)

We made it through the very dark, damp tunnel, thanks in large part to Jimmy’s powerful light.

After emerging from the tunnel, we were pulling over to remove our rain gear when my front brake grabbed, resulting in my front wheel pulling sharply to my left and me hitting hard on my right side. What hurt the most was the handlebars slamming into my chest.

Thinking I was alright I got back on my bike and finished the 15-mile trail and continued on Route 456 the 8 miles to Avery, Idaho. The compact dirt and gravel road was a rough, washboard of a ride.

It wasn’t until four days after the ride, when the ache in my chest didn’t lessen, that I learned I had fractured a rib. Lessen learned … tap lightly on my brakes to test them when coming out of wet tunnels.

Photos: Vistas along the Route of the Hiawatha. Source: Friends of the Coeur d’Alene Trails.

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