Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 18 - Riverton to Casper - 120 miles!

120 Miles!

And a headwind!

I'm gonna die!

Or I would if I didn't have friends.

Sandy knew I'd been having problems.

So she told me the "Bad Pennies" would help draft me (lead me into the headwind).

- But Sandy, I'm so slow!

-We can slow down, she says.

I don't think she realizes that on a good day in Indiana 120 miles takes me 12 hours!

So I tell her I'll start early and latch on when they catch up with me.

I start out early - leave Al to load the luggage.

I'm leaving breakfast just as she arrives at The Trailhead.

No photos today...

Head down...

Eyes on the road..

Crunchin' out the miles.

Potty break at mile 20 - town of Shosoni -

Get to snap one photo -

Cowboy at the gas station.

Wyoming is all about cowboys...

Indians, too...

This trail connects the Wind River reservation with Sand Creek, the site of the infamous massacre of a peaceful village of women, children and elders.

How I would like to explore the trail - read the signs along the length of it.

But I have so many miles to go....

I find the first SAG stop -

in the middle of nowhere...

full of bikers...

Bikers full of energy and enthusiasm.

And I find Katie!

She is thrilled to be back on bike - although she's only riding part of this long day.

I'm not sure I'm so thrilled...

I bike with Nan for a while...

We chat...She's an ER nurse - she has stories to tell that can't be included on this blog.

The miles are going so slowly.

I must have missed the Bad Pennies at my bathroom break.
The wind is picking up with the afternoon sun.

Nan and I arrive at HiLand, which is the highest elevation mark of our 120 miles - the rest is downhill...

...into the wind!

We get to meet many of the residents of HiLand because they both work at the cafe.

And to my surprise, I find Alex and the Bad Pennies there!

Leo, here, has been drafting them all for the last 8 miles.

And he's ready for more!

I jump on as does Allison.

We are both worried that we might go too slow.

But Leo takes the lead on his little Bike Friday...

And Sandy rides behind him keeping an eye on their "flock" in her rear view mirror.

If I start to fall back she tells Leo to slow down - usually on hills.

As the weakest rider they keep me right behind Sandy.

If I can keep up, anyone can.

Behind me is my friend, Rod.

He is also quick to call out to slow down or even stop for a drink if he sees me lagging.

Is this a great bunch of people or what?

And Leo is awesome...

We start calling him the "Leomotive" as he pulls his train of bikes along the desert.

Andrew is the caboose.

He has the heaviest bike on the tour and he loses ground on the uphills...

....but he catches up with us as soon as it's flat.

We do take a few rest stops (not enough for me, but I can't afford to lose them).

One stop is at Hell's Half Acre - a huge rocky hole in the ground where the native Americans would run bison off the cliff to get food for the winter.

And we do stop when a badger crosses the road.

We watch him scamper up the bank with his two siblings...

I'd never seen a real badger before.

Leo carries us all the way to Casper.

The last ten miles I can't keep up the pace.

So Sandy and Leo go side by side...

Their bikes create some kind of suction and it just pulls my bike along with no effort.

I get dizzy trying to focus on their two spinning back wheels, just inches from my own going 20 mph.

If I waver, things could get ugly.

But I manage to stay upright and we spin into Casper safe and sound every one of us...

Our hotel - along the North Platte River - is a sight for sore eyes.

It's been a long day...

I'm tired...

....and I'm not the only one...
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