STATS Day: 24 Day Mileage: 67.6 Total Miles: 1,403.7
Waking up in the empty church in the middle of the night is pretty scary. I slept in one of the back rooms but kept the gym lights on and the bathroom lights on. You could hear every single thing, including the animals in the walls, one of which I saw as I prepared for the day at 5:45am. The sleep I did get was terrific however. I did wake up early in hopes to get a beat on the sun and the wind. I made coffee in the coffee pot in the church kitchen and cooked ramen on my camp stove. As the sun came up, I was nearing ready to go and by 7:10, I was out the door.
I ended up having to walk my bike up to the main road because the road to the church was mostly sand. Sand and bicycles don’t mix really well. I stumbled upon many antelope in the field and not one of them seemed to care that I was there. The first qt miles flew by as I had a tailwind. Initially I was in my rain jacket to cut the wind and pants but both of those immediately went in the bag and I was in shorts and a jersey in no time. I was the only one on the road for the majority of the time coming upon Split Rock where it was used as a landmark with the pony express. As I approached Muddy Gap Junction, I was welcomed into a terrific wind that I’d come to know well.
From muddy gap, I was to head almost directly south to Rawlins. With the wind at 19mph out of the west, it was hard to keep the bike heading in the right direction. Getting blown off the shoulder into the lane and leaning into the wind was extremely tough. There some climbs into the wind that add things slow going and once I caught the downhill, I couldn’t relax thanks to the wind. From mile 15 to the end, wind played a large factor in my mentality for the day’s ride.
As I was approaching my final climb for the day and reaching the Continental Divide for the final time in Wyoming, a car was pulled with a blown tire. It was an older lady in s Toyota Tacoma whose front tire completely blew out with the car sitting on the rim. The jack wouldn’t fit where it’s designed to fit because of the blown tire so we had to get creative. Once up and the tire off, the spare tire was about 1/2 too tall from where we were able to get the car up with the jack. I had to keep cranking not knowing if it would go and then finally, with digging out some gravel and a little angling of the tire, we were able to get the spare on. Billy/ie offered some tea she had in a small cooler and a homemade rice krispy treat. I took her up on her offer and enjoyed every bit of it. She offered a ride into town which I probably should have taken but I needed to muscle it out on my own.
The last little bit wasn’t too bad of a struggle but again the wind was persistent. As I rolled into town, I made a stop to see what the college football scores were. I ran into some cyclists on the a Great Divide trail who were resupplying in town. We chatted for a bit, mostly about the storm from the previous day that they got caught in and I was able to wait out. I had some snacks before heading out to wal-mart where, on our maps, allowed cyclists to pitch a tent in a grassy area near the store. I read about people doing so also on CrazyGuyOnABike. I called to get permission, which apparently was my first and only mistake. The lady on the other end said that the maps were outdated and that’s no longer the case. I got upset knowing that I would have to pedal on or find something else and pay for a place to sleep. I called the sheriff to see if any park in town allowed camping and she said that all parks had curfews and the best bet would be the KOA. I called and for $35, I could set up my tent. So I looked on Priceline and for $30 additional dollars, I could get s cheap hotel. So I did that. Upset initially with spending that money that wasn’t planned, turned into relief quickly as I was able to shower and enjoy the indoors while the wind was still howling outside.