Somewhere in the Basin – Brush Mountain Lodge, Co. ; 204km distance, 1,450m climbing, 11hrs 30mins moving time.
Cold again. Slept through later than planned. Sun already rising. Not smart. I clamber out of the bivi and break it all down and into bags. No bush to hide behind for my early morning duties. No real need, no one else around. Dig a hole with a view – pack out the remainder. I ride the first hour or so with my warm jacket on, the dips are cold, the higher points less cold. As the sun settles above the horizon it starts to get warm and the layers go away – I’d rather be chilly for an hour or so and drop my core temperature than let it get high early in the day. I spy a dot moving towards me on the horizon. It takes about an hour, but I finally meet up with the first northbounder of the trip.
We stop and chat for a bit both stripping layers, eating food, doing the things that are easier with your feet down. It’s a nice break and good to speak to another person for a few minutes. He tells me of two riders ahead who were only getting up as he passed by. That’d be Bailey and Justin I reckon – slightly surprised they didn’t manage to push the whole way through to Wamsutter either. We part ways and I push just that little bit harder on the pedals, hoping to catch the guys at the truck stop.
Early morning solitude gives way to more fracking land. Fracking means traffic, and sure enough within a few minutes I have to deal with a steady stream of gas trucks failing to share the road with me. Thankfully it’s downhill and I can see the truckstop which will feed me. I coast up to the entrance of the biggest gas station I’ve seen yet and see another two bikes looking lost among the trucks. I wander in and find the guys doing some resupply. We chat, I do the Subway thing, we fill up on fluid and try to cool down in the shade. They are as baked as I am. It’s getting warmer again. I opt to stay a little longer as I need to get my temperature down and use the facilities again. We part, I suspect this will be the last time I’ll see them.
I stay a bit longer than I really needed to not wanting to go back into the Basin. This next section is an unknown having only been added the year before. I fill all my bottles, my bladder, and my stomach to the top and roll out into the torturous heat. It’s not long until the sound of the interstate is gone and it’s just me and the wind. Oddly, still a tail wind. Time to apply rule #1 again. I pedal. And pedal. And pedal. At some point I get past the half way mark in the race – I had a plan for this, the one milestone I cared about. Tunnocks Caramel Bar time. It’d seen better days.
On and on it went. The temperature kept climbing and I kept pedalling. At one point i had to stop for a dirt nap in the sun – no shade anywhere. All it did was make me feel sick and want to spew. So I got back on my bike and rode, stumbled, moved forward. I was leaving Wyoming today – I was sick of this stupid state. Finally the horizon started to drop and I could see mountains beyond. That is Colorado. I know this, I can’t be far from the road now.
Eventually I got to Savery – the last town in Wyoming. I rolled onto the road and drank the last of the water I had. I managed to miss the water that the locals had left out. Rookie error. I wandered along the road and past the state line. Bye bye Wyoming, you’ve been emotional, and hot, mostly hot. But not the good kind of hot. Turning right and dropping down by the river afforded some shade and a drop in temperature. But as you can guess, mosquitoes. The flying bastards.
I managed to ride on despite wanting water. Cattle country – mining upstream – houses all around. My brain knew not to drink this water – my body was craving it though. As I passed the mines I saw an opportunity to get into the river and cool off. Into the glacial water I go. I’ve never given less of a shit about being eaten alive by mosquitoes – I was cooling down and it was utterly amazing.
Back on the road, still no water but cooler. I knew this would take me to Brush Mountain Lodge and the trail angel that is Kirsten. I had no idea how far it was, only that I’d get there eventually. I rode, and rode until I smelt something familiar on the wind. Pizza, I can smell pizza. I round the corner, hop onto the dirt path to the house and get greeted by Billy Rice. A pint of water, and two others are required before I get a beer. But only after I check that Bailey, Justin and Dave Stowe are not planning on moving on. Their eyes answer the question before they respond. And yes, I will have some French Toast please.