Cycling Date: Thursday 03-July-14
Mileage: 120 miles
Weather: 60s to start. 90s to end. Sunny all day. Winds out of the west south west. We headed east. Mostly tail.
Highlights of the day:
We have been absolutely spoiled by seasonally low temperatures. Sure some were a little chilly but no one could really complain. With temperatures that climbed into the 90s, we had a good reminder today that it is summer and we are in the month of July. It wasn’t super hot but the quick shift and contrast with the cool 70s made it feel quite toasty. It is time for the riders to really heed Pam’s reminders on hydration and staying cool.
Yet again, we had favorable winds. Winds that mostly seemed to be blowing us into Casper. The winds were occasionally buffeted around the hills giving us something that felt like a headwind. These were brief and only caused the infrequent “Hey!” from overly sensitive riders (she types while looking in the mirror). The net results were many conversations discussing how fast riders were able to finish the longest ride of the tour and their cycling career.
Today was the longest ride of the trip, and the last of a nine-day leg, so everyone was a bit apprehensive. All of the riders were on the road by 6:30. This was another challenging cue sheet day: Turn right out of the motel, ride 116 miles, and turn onto a bike path that leads right to the next motel. The reason for the 120-mile day is that there is nothing between Riverton and Casper but some cattle, some antelope, a few oil wells, and a couple of tiny towns, complete with defunct stores. The road stretches out over the plains to the horizon.
Hell’s Half Acre provided a strikingly different vista for those who made the quick stop. It’s a misnomer as it actually encompasses over 300 acres. It got its name from some lost cowboy who thought he was in Hell’s Half Acre, an alkali and bog area southwest of Casper. Confusing this place, that is northwest of Casper and a depression in the earth filled with sharp craggy rocks, with a bog? Not sure why. Perhaps a saloon or two were involved. Or perhaps the story was completely made up??
Our second SAG was in the tiny town of Hiland, right next to its one store. It is a town with a posted population of 10. We increased the population by nearly five-fold. I think it was one of the busiest days of the year for that little store.
After the third SAG stop, it was 30 miles into the hotel. Time for the riders to spend a day off the bike and prepping for our next leg.