The MANA trip
Some things in America
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  • Wyoming

    Gosh dang ya Wyoming. You’re beautiful but such a beast.

    The last few days have been spotty at best with respect to cell service, hence my lack of updates. It’s kind of a blur now but I’ll try to run over some highlights and memorable thingies.

    So I’ve had some Achilles tendonitis issues or something. The last couple of days every pedal stroke has felt like a stabbing sensation in my heel. I got a ton of different pain killers and decided to ride it out because I haven’t liked my recent stops. I’m taking a rest day in the coolest city I’ve been in (in Wyoming), Lander.

    Rawlins is the worst.

    Saratoga, Wyoming. If you ever find yourself near here stop in and take a soak in the hot springs downtown. The water comes in a 118 but has varying temperature pools. I think the day coming in I broke some speed limits on a few descents going a little over 40. That was terrifying with my wobbly aluminum frame loaded with all my crap bungied to it.

    I had pretty good camping the first couple days in the state. Camping illegally in city parks. It’s easy to spot towns from a distance because its the only green around for a trillion miles. Hammocking has been difficult in this environment, I’ve spent most days on the ground.

    There has been abundant wildlife around. Loads of rabbits, mice, ungulates, horses, rattlensnakes and stuff.

    Uhhhh most days are rather repetitive. The winds here are absolutely brutal and in the afternoon, its like a cycling nightmare. This country is wide open and I feel like I’m riding across the moon. It’s sun on the face alllll day and sparse resources so I have to be careful of water supply. Incredibly beautiful though. It can average around 40 mph winds with gusts on that. I’ve been battling headwinds the entire time in the state. I am forced to get up extra early and pound out 40-50 miles before noon, trying to fuel up while riding.

    Being on the Trans Am route has been super rad because I’ve seen a good amount of bike tourers every day on the roads and at camp. I’ve made some great work contacts actually and had some wild convos with some international folks. In Rawlins, the Trans Am meets up with the off-road Continental Divide route and it was insane to hear stories from those nut-balls.

    Yesterday was the craziest day of cycling I’ve ever had. Most of the day was me just scream cursing at the sky and blasting metal music to not hear the wind. I did 127 miles and had some serious climbs and wind to deal with. I saw the sun rise and set on the bike and was on it for about 13 hours, I think. I met the town drunk in Jeffrey City and dodged rattlesnakes in the road at sun down. I saw the sun set over this incredible 5 mile descent through these wild rolling hill mountain formations. So wild and beautiful. I finally got to Lander and stayed in the greeeeeziest motel I could find. Absolutely toasted today. I can’t really speak to motivations for some reason but I’m proud.

    I should be in the Tetons in the next couple of days.

    Cranked out 127 miles yesterday. Never thought my longest ride would be fighting the wind in Wyoming, climbing 4,000 feet, and being fully loaded.

    First Day

    I finally got on the bike today and it turned out to be one of the best days of riding I’ve ever had.

    I descended a bit out of Granby then climbed a couple thousand feet through the Arapaho National Forest to Willow Creek Pass. At 9,683 feet its the highest I’ve ever ridden and my lungs were dying from the altitude. The forest road followed some beautiful creeks and would occasionally open up to glorious valleys enclosed by snow caps.

    This area brought me back to my summer in eastern Oregon. The coniferous trees and sage brush added a sweetness to the cool dry air. Within a couple hundred feet of water you could feel it in the air and pick up its odor. In the sun it felt hot but not scorching and when a cloud or canyon wall would give shade, the temp dropped pleasantly.

    I descended fast from the continental divide, reaching speeds of 34ish at a cruise. The land leveled out to a sage brush high desert type ecosystem. No trees and gently rolling hills with massive peaks in the distance. In this I rode right through the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge.

    I ended up in a small town called Walden (town of 800 and hub of the county) that is the birthplace of the 1990 national Christmas tree that was in Washington and is also apparently the moose viewing capital of Colorado. I met another super chill solo tourer and two older tourer guys just arrived at the city park I’m camping at (I got to talk to the sheriff to get permission).

    I was really anxious about getting back on in this altitude and dealing with the mountains but I felt good today with the climbs and the 55 miles I put out.

    I’ll be in Wyoming tomorrow night.

    First day back on the bike and it was one of the best. I did 55 miles and climbed my first big pass to cross the continental divide at 9,600 feet. I rode straight through the Arapaho National Forest and Wildlife Refuge and ended up going from alpine forest to scrub highlands. Too cool. Also, Colorado is cool and stuff but they have to work on their oxygen deficiency.

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