At 120 miles, today’s ride is the longest of the tour. So an early start of 6:30 makes good sense. Riding into a bright sunrise, I made an early scenic stop at Boysen State Park, casting a long morning shadow in the picture below:
SAG (Support And Gear) stops are set up every 30 miles or so for filling up water bottles and grabbing some food. On a long ride, it’s essential to stay hydrated and well nourished. A cyclist can burn over 8,000 calories on a ride like this. SAG stops are also great for mid-ride chats and check-ins with fellow riders.
Pace-line groups also tend to form on long rides – groups of similar-speed cyclists that draft off one-another to help preserve energy. I fell in with a steady group of 3 other cyclists today, forming a team-traverse across the wide open Wyoming landscape. Winds were light and the pace was high – until a dreaded flat tire brought us to a halt. No worries, a collaborative group fix and we were back at it… until about 2 miles later when a second flat struck the same rider’s other tire. Double rotten luck!
Eventually we made it to an interesting geological feature in the middle of endless sagebrush prairie, named Hell’s Half Acre. It’s a buffalo-jump site, where native Americans would stampede unsuspecting bison over cliffs and into a ‘pit of misery’.
And speaking of misery, our cursed rider would be rewarded with yet another flat about 13 miles from Casper. Triple rotten luck! But it didn’t dampen our spirits much, as a nice tail wind developed during the second half of our ride and more than made up for the time we lost fixing tires.
After a 120 mile day, we are rewarded with a day off tomorrow. I’m looking forward to sleeping in and giving my legs a well-deserved break.