- Dubois to Riverton, WY
- 81.9 miles
- 17.1 average!
- 102 degrees
- One flat
- One antelope
We’re learning about winds on this trip. Powerful agents of change, they can carve rocks into spectacular formations. They are also ever changing. Don’t think they are going to be steady. What they will do is fool you. I can’t imagine how early sailors managed them.
Today was slated to be 80 miles on a generally downhill run. Dry conditions. Hot in the afternoon. We succeeded in getting ourselves out by 7 and were treated to tailwinds and downhills for quite a while. We were cruising along at 21-23 mph much of the early morning. We stopped often to take pictures of the wild Wyoming scenery. Giant red rock formations flanked our speeding bike. There were no farms here, quite a change from Idaho. It’s all rock and sagebrush. It’s a wonder people can exist out here. But they do. They even use their driveways to park their horses. You can see a Wyoming carport, 2-horse garage pictured at the bottom. Through it all we sailed along at quite a clip.
We stopped often, as for this historical notice about Crowheart Butte. We pulled over into the shade of a gas station and visited with our fellow cyclists, and we still arrived at the lunch stop shortly after 10. It was way too early to eat, so we packed food for later, visited more, stretched and finally took off. Oops.
The winds had shifted. Now we were running into headwinds. Our 21 mph average was dropping rapidly. Then I discovered the back tire was losing air. It’s always the back which is harder to change. Last Saturday we escaped getting a flat climbing Teton Pass despite what appeared to be roofing nails intentionally strewn all along the shoulder we ride in. Today there was no place to get any shade, so we continued baking while I changed the tube. Mechanic Andrew came along in the sag wagon and lent us his floor pump to ease the situation. But now we were facing the prospect of a long afternoon fighting the wind. We should’ve taken advantage of it earlier.
The bright spot was that just after we changed the flat, Sheila called out a stop. There was an antelope standing on the hillside across the highway. It sauntered toward us, then, realizing its natural colorings blended perfectly with the dirt and sage covered hill, it moved onto the crest of the ridge. There it stood patiently waiting for us to snap a picture. We did.
We continued fighting the winds which became cross winds which caused us to lean significantly to the right as we rode. We were getting pretty tired when we suddenly realized we were going 21 mph uphill. The winds were behind us again! Woohoo! Trouble was, we quickly arrived at a water stop. We swapped out our bottles quickly and jumped back on the wind train.
About 10 miles out, we turned back into the wind and trudged the last miles in. We seem to have trouble with the last ten every day. They never seem to go quickly enough. True, there had been hard spots today, but it was a mostly fun day. But it was hot. One temperature reading said 102! We had gotten our expectations up about getting in early and now it was dragging into the afternoon. But we persevered and finally arrived at our school for the night, Riverton Middle School. Home of the Spartans. We’ll sleep in the air conditioned gym tonight. It’ll be nice.