As Kerry had to be up at 5:30 to go to work, it seemed like as good of an excuse as any to get up early for once and do a solid day of riding. A potential century might even be on the cards!
After more chatting, Kerry insisted on paying for breakfast in the nearby cafe and wouldn’t accept no for an answer. With a few parting photos I went to go and stuff my face with some American bacon, sausages, hash browns, eggs and pancakes. That’ll keep me going for a few miles.
10am arrived and after one major kick-ass climb I had made it 30 miles. Thankfully, a well placed rest stop was situated at the top of the hill and as a result, I took a 15 minute break. I got the usual “Where are you travelling to?” conversation with a pleasantly plump fellow who preferred to ride a bike with an engine.
Rock Springs was another 37 miles away and that was my next stop to get something to eat and have a break for a good hour. One of the worst things about riding on the Interstate is the amount of shredded tyre, roadkill and car junk on the shoulder. I can say for certain that most drivers in Wyoming don’t drink enough water because the bottles of piss that get thrown out of the car windows are of a browny yellow disposition.
As a result of all of the paraphernalia on the shoulder you have to concentrate so hard on the lines you’re riding and plan your weaving 100ft ahead, especially if you’re going at speeds of 30mph which I was hitting on a few short downhill sections. It was on one of these sections when the inevitable happened. A tyre shredded. Not mine, a truck, right beside me.
Rubber was flying everywhere, small chunks were flying in front of me causing me to dodge and swerve through them. The majority of the tyre was in the middle of the road – thankfully the truck had moved into the left hand lane to pass me which resulted in 10ft of space for most of the debris to occupy. After I’d finished removing the rubber from my teeth I caught up to the truck who had stopped about half a mile down the road. The driver made sure I was OK, and I asked if he needed a hand with anything. For those unsure, I was pretty fortunate and didn’t actually get hit by any of the tyre, only bugs in my teeth.
After that hairy incident it wasn’t too much longer before I’d made the 67 miles to Rock Springs. Still feeling good, it was now just 40 miles to my goal for the day. I had a break for an hour and a half and limbered up to get back on the bike. I’m still making sure a do a stretch routine when I’ve been stationary for a while. I can even touch my toes now!
Getting back onto the Interstate and I was greeted with not only a lovely, delightful climb, but some egit had cranked the wind right up to 11. It was blowing a gale and no matter how much grunting and cursing I did, it would not subside. There were times when I was going slower than walking pace – down to a lowly 2.6mph I seem to recall whilst nearly sobbing.
The wind didn’t subside but the climbs got less frequent. Approaching a tunnel at one of the more rigorous climbs, I noticed there was no shoulder – just the two lanes. I waited until the traffic eased a bit before I raced through it as fast as I could to avoid becoming part of the bug collection on the grill of a truck. The sound was deafening as a truck passed me in the next lane, the reverberations continued to get louder until I emerged with bleeding ears on the other side of the half mile long tunnel.
The evening progressed and I was still only managing a pace of around 8mph until the sun decided to go to bed. Once the sun disappears the wind drops considerably and you can get back up to a reasonable speed again. After donning my headtorch a shrill buzz from my GPS alerted me that I’d done 100 miles. I mustered a pathetic “Whoop”, because at that point I was pretty tired – I was just pushing my way through to 105 miles where my destination lay.
10pm – Little America’s neon sign was a welcome sight, and not a moment too soon. I went into the hotel in time for last orders at the bar and congratulated myself on a grand days ride. I then asked at reception if it was OK to pitch my tent on the grass in front of the hotel. I didn’t even bother asking for a room, I could’ve slept anywhere after the ride. And so I did – like a baby.