mandag 30. juni 2014

Day 18: Beautiful Wyoming

200.5 km

Pleased to see all my stuff had dried, I packed up and was on the road by 7:30. The hostel was located just by the foot of a big hill and after about 400 m of cycling I started a climb that was going to last 28 km. There was not a single cloud to be seen and the cool morning air made me enjoy every bit of the climb to Togwotee Pass towering at 2920 m. The climb offered some incredible last views of the Teton mountains and since it was a Sunday morning, there were very few cars on the road. As I gained altitude the air felt so fresh and clean that I wanted to take some home with me in a jar. I'm not sure if it was just imagination but I got the feeling that the air was thinner and made me panting more than I would have in the lowland.

The descent - spectacular as always - was dragged out over a long stretch and taking me below where I had started the climb. I was about to get out on the more worn down remnants in the outskirts of the Rockies before I get into it again in Colorado. The wind picked up as I got to the warmer flatter terrain in a direction to my favor. 

I coasted on the really strong tailwind into the town of Dubois (locally pronounced "Dew-Boys") where I pounded down a small pizza, a yoghurt and some fruits. I was really in a rush today because I wanted to get as much use as I could out of this fierce tailwind and there wasn't really much to come by in a distnace I would normally go, so i had some cycling to do. I met a couple of cyclists going the opposite direction, struggling with the wind and I could only imagine the agony. 

The scenery on this side of the mountains was so beautiful. Personally, I find desert scenery very fascinating and this combination of wide open ranges with these painted canyons where you could see the different colors of the segments (much like in the southwest), was right up my alley. I rolled fast through some amazing Wyoming landscape on this ridiculously nice tailwind. It was like all forces of nature was looking after that I would have an enjoyable ride. The temperature was considerably higher than that of the last week, so I had to increase my water intake and I ate a lot of sweet and sugary fruits while on the bike. Although the scenery was beautiful, it was a drag to come to a stop to take pictures, while going 55 km/h across the arrid grasslands.

Except from the climb to Togwotee pass, only the last 50 km I experienced some more challenging cycling. My legs felt strong but I was tired from the heat and I started to get some unpleasant crosswinds, but fueled by the thought of rounding 200 km and getting to Lander I pushed out the last kilometers.

I got into the lovely town of Lander at 5:30 pm and sat down at a restaurant and ate a nice pasta meal, served by a very nice waitress who was also into bike touring and gave me directions to the city park where you could camp for free. I had 199.6 km on my speedometer so i took a lap around the park to round it up. Feeling exhausted from the long day on the bike, I started walking my bike onto the lawn to find a place to put my tent, when out of nowhere a guy comes over offering me a beer telling me in a British accent "you look like you need it". This was just too good to be true! I joyfully accepted and after putting up my tent, I went over to hang out with Keran and his brother Callum from England who had bought a car and were traveling around the US and Canada to climb rocks. 

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