Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Friday, July 19, 2013

Flaming Gorge to Rock Springs, Wyoming July 16

59.57 in 5:30-----talk about a roller coaster! Up 4025 ft, down 4024 ft! With yesterday's 4287 ft climb, I have pedaled up over 8300 ft in two days. Unheard of for an old man like me. My legs need a rest, and I'm going to get it tomorrow.  That's over a mile and a half straight up, of elevation gain. No wonder that my particular path of travel is not on any bicycle tour route. The only other biker I have seen is my son, Buddy the Mountain Climber. In the Tour de France, the main rider on a team lets his teammates do the work going up hills, or into the wind, or just leading a pack so he can draft along and not work as hard until it counts. That's what Buddy has done since he's been riding with me. He starts out every morning with me, and has worked every hard climb with me, often exhausting his conditioning, and quitting before the fun parts, the downhills, much beautiful scenery. But, he is always there the next morning. Thanks, Bud. I'm having a great time riding with you.
     Today's ride started with, guess what? A climb. We rolled for a little while before a 9% climb onto a plateau that led us to the Wyoming state line. After some more rollers, we hit another monster climb which put us at 8200 ft, and if we looked back, we could still see Flaming Gorge and the beautiful snow caps way off in the distance. After the second climb, in some steady sun, Buddy said the tank was empty as we saw our support RV at the top of the hill with Pam patiently waiting, as it took us over two hours to ride just under 20 miles. After the brutal part of the day, Bud became Pam's shotgun rider, (we ARE in Wyoming!), and I was off for the best part of the ride. 
I rode along a mountainside, at about 7800 ft for about 6 miles, all the time looking over my right shoulder at a beautiful valley, so far down there that I could have had the same view from an airplane. I then descended into that valley, and had some nice rollers, until it came time to make a four mile climb back up over 8000 ft. The ascent was so beautiful, as Wyoming displayed a totally different type of mountainous terrain. It was grassland and sagebrush with very few trees. There were ten foot tall wooden snow fences everywhere, not making sense to me in their placement and their seeming randomness. They made me think of the crazy blizzards and snow drifts that must happen there. On the way up the hill, I saw a solitary pronghorn, who jogged along and checked me out for a while, before sprinting straight up a mountainside to the safety of higher elevations. He didn't have any problem going up! He was a good example for me to try to mentally overcome my tenderized quads! After completing that climb, I was on another plateau, and cruised about fifteen miles with a gradual descent, snow fences all around, and a powerful tailwind. I was very lucky to catch that stretch with a tailwind. That wind as a headwind would have been very, very difficult task for fifteen miles. I have been so lucky with the weather on this entire trip. Not only was the temperature perfect this week, the wind was cooperative, and the timing of the rain was even perfect the other day. As I rode the plateau, the road, US 191, was smooth with very little traffic, with almost no trucks. At times, it was just me, the mountain tops, and the clouds with their shady designs passing over my head, and changing the views in the distant valleys. Finally I descended below 7000 ft into the Rock Springs area, where the heat ratcheted up, and the rollers were beating my legs up, then giving them a downhill rest with relentless consistency. I got within view of town, and was getting into a nasty construction area near Interstate 80, when Pam came by in the Jeep, with perfect timing, and rode me the last mile to the campground, rather than me backing up traffic in the narrow, gravel lane that was the only path of travel through the work area. 
 Supper a Pizza Hut after cruising through Rock Springs to check it out, preceded more rain. The amount of rain that we have been encountering in this area is unusual, from what I gather, but welcomed by all, I'm sure.

Welcome to Wyoming!  Since leaving Pennsylvania (state #1), we are now officially in our 17th state!!

Land is flatter, with mountains in the distance.

They have serious snow fences out here!!

More snow fences (in background).

Sorry there aren't more pictures but Mike was too busy riding!!!

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