Starting Location: Jeffrey City, WY
Ending Location: Rawlins, WY
Lowest Elevation: 6188
Highest Elevation: 7244
I got up really early today to try to get some of the cooler morning temperature in my ride. I got everything together, signed the wall of cyclists, and headed out.
About a mile or two down the road I was faced with headwinds, which continued throughout the rest of the day making the ride a whole lot tougher on the legs. I knew I had had 22 miles to make it to Muddy Gap where there would be a convenience store that I could get some food at. Not too far down the road, I came up to a nice view of Split Rock. Makes sense why the cafe/bar in Jeffrey City was called the Split Rock!
When I got to Muddy Gap I got myself a sandwich and a few snacks to hold me over until Lamont, where I planned on getting lunch at the cafe. I ate my sandwich at the picnic bench outside the store and talked with a man while he was filling up on gas. My bike is always an easy conversation starter for people.
Leaving Muddy Gap I had a fairly decent hill to climb, where I would cross the continental divide. The incline wasn't too bad but the wind was still making me go much slower than usual. And once I got to the top of the hill onto the flats, the wind got even worse! I found myself taking a whole lot more breaks than usual, and needing frequent snacks for energy to keep my legs going to find the resistance of the wind.
A few miles into the flats while I was stretching out my legs a man in a truck (Greg) who was going the opposite way as me turned around and pulled up behind me. He came out of his truck asking if I was broken down or hurt, and I told him that I was just stretching out. He went back to his truck and grabbed a water bottle and asked me if I needed any water. I told him that I had some but I could always use more. He then went and grabbed a couple more, giving me three water bottles and said "yeah, you can't be getting cramped or broken down out here! Is there anything else I can give you to help?" I said that the water was enough unless he had small snacks of some kind. He then took me back to his truck where he had a variety of energy bars and trail mix that he let me pick out from. He also gave me a map of Wyoming!
I was very glad to have extra water and snacks with me since the riding today was so tough. I was drinking a lot more to keep myself hydrated during the hot day. When I got into Lamont and saw that the cafe was closed down I was especially happy that I had run into Greg earlier.
A couple miles out of Lamont while riding on a pretty terrible section of the shoulder, I was stopped for a quick snack when a couple of guys with British accents pulled over to see if I was okay. They ended up topping off one of my water bottles on my bike before driving off. Not too long after that a couple driving in a truck slowed down to ask me if I needed any water. As with the last two times, I said that I had water but could always use more. I figured it wouldn't hurt to drink a lot of water and give people the opportunity to help a stranger. This one was especially fun, she held a liter water bottle out the window and we did a moving hand off while riding down the road.
After rearranging my bags a little to make space for the water bottle, I rode for maybe thirty seconds before seeing a fellow cyclist coming the opposite way. I crossed the road to introduce myself. Brian was a really nice man in his late 40s or early 50s from North Carolina. We talked for at least 15 minutes and it was really enjoyable. He was so happy to see another cyclist and to hear that there was a church for him to stay at in Jeffrey City.
A few miles after talking with Brian I got the the end of the flats where I would have to climb a pretty big hill to cross the continental divide again. Climbing the hill was actually really enjoyable for the most part. There was a lot of orange rock to my left, and the wind wasn't quite as bad either though that made the heat feel a bit more intense. Near the top of the hill I stopped for lunch, hiding under the little bit of shade put off by a big "Buckle Up!" sign. This lunch was pretty funny. For the first time, I tried a peanut butter and banana burrito. This was something that Eddy the Canadian rider had told me that he started doing as an efficient way to eat. Using tortillas instead of bread took up less space but still the same calories, and you dont have the cut up the banana to make the sandwich. As weird as I felt eating the peanut butter and banana burritos, I had to admit that it was really efficient and easy!
After getting over the top of the hill the wind picked up again and lasted until I got into Rawlins. I was pretty exhausted by the time I rolled into town. I went to the Western Hills Campground and got checked in and set up my tent. I then took a shower to clean myself off and headed to the closest restarant to get food. I ordered a beer and burger and left with a full stomach which doesn't happen all too often anymore. When I got back to my tent I talked to a friend on the phone for a little bit before watching part of a movie and passing out.