Happy 4th of July y’all! We hope everyone enjoys the holiday. If you’re driving anywhere, please be careful and give cyclists space as you pass!
We’ll be trekking across a long stretch of open landscape without many (if any) services along the way. Our stopping point today depends mostly on the wind, but also on the terrain (elevation gain) and where we can find to pitch a tent.
We’re past the interstate now, so we will be riding on old highway 26.
Check back for updates…
Update (Day’s end): When we first announced this trip to our friends and family, we joked (to anyone who is on Strava, at least) that we might snag some KOMs. (On Strava, if you’re the fastest to complete a segment–whether a hill or flat–you get a KOM. We thought it unlikely–hence the joke–that our fully-loaded touring bikes would outpace road cyclists.) Well, the joke’s on us: Nate achieved a KOM today! He had the fastest time for a 50-mile segment out of Casper. Awesome.
We each stopped at Hell’s Half Acre along the route, briefly, to see the rock formations.
Nate determined the endpoint for the day by getting to Shoshoni with energy to spare. After stopping at “Malt’s” in town for a bite to eat, he pushed on to Riverton, WY, and secured a room for us for the night. It’s conveniently across from Walmart, so we can restock food supplies–and, in Michael’s case, get some bike-maintenance items.
Michael’s day was quite different, and can best be summarized by timeline:
- A great breakfast – (2) bagel halves with cheese and bacon; English muffin with strawberry jam; yogurt; (4) turkey sausage links; (3) mini cinnamon rolls; apple and banana (to go); coffee; orange juice
- A false start – After breakfast, Michael packed and loaded his bike only to discover that his rear tire was completely deflated. (Flat #1) He unloaded the bike, removed the wheel and tire, and patched the tube, reassembled, reloaded, and headed out the door.
- Mile 7 (or so) – Flat again. Michael found a shaded area off the road and went through the process to replace the tube this time. Ride resumed.
- Miles 20-35 – Punishing headwinds. Michael pushed through, losing a little of his pace, but otherwise felt strong. The terrain was increasingly desolate, with no towns or structures for miles around. The winds subsided, allowing Michael to make up for some lost time.
- Mile 50 – A quick stop to refill a water bottle at the only rest area between Casper and Shoshoni, at the halfway point. (Michael carried 265 oz. of water today, and kept to a schedule of drinking 25 ounces every 10 miles through Shoshoni. The refill was “banked” for the push to Riverton.)
- Mile 63 – Michael stopped at “Steelman’s Bright Spot,” a roadside bar/store/gas station/eatery that Amy identified as a potential place to get food. Michael met a cool couple from Cape Town, South Africa (by way of Colorado) who were on their way to Yellowstone. The wife was an ultramarathon runner, and shared a few good stories about her experiences.
- Mile 70 – Flat #3. Michael found a highway building–the only structure for 15 miles in any direction!–to get a little shade. Without a new spare, Michael swapped-out the punctured tube for the patched tube he’d started the day with, re-inflated, reloaded the bike, and continued on.
- Mile 99 – Shoshoni! Michael made it to the original stopping point of the day, but knew that Nate had already continued on. So, without stopping, Michael rode through aiming for Riverton. Nate had texted Michael that he’d have “a climb out of Shoshoni,” but then it’d be downhill. Nursing a patched tube, hills are significant. By the 5th climb, Michael began to wonder whether he’d reach Riverton.
- Miles 105-121 – Michael continued riding until the tube deflated, then stopped to pump it full again. Ride. Stop. Pump. Repeat. It was exhausting!
- Mile 121 – Riverton, just in time for the fireworks (ahem)! With his tire at about 20 psi, Michael arrived at the hotel.
The Bright Spot in Hyman, WY (pop. 10) reminded Michael of places in the remote southern-Utah town, Hanksville–complete with a five-room motel made from bolting together aluminum sheds (not pictured):
In the morning, Michael will have to get new tubes at Walmart, and possibly make a trip to a local bike shop to ensure a correct repair–before continuing on to Dubois, WY, some 72 miles away.
Check back the Relive video.