Climbing: 735 ft (ha!)
Ill just come out and say it: today was an easy day, haha.
I actually slept really well, with the sound of the river lulling me to sleep. I woke up, made coffee, and got packed up in pretty good time, and headed toward Pinedale. Of the 35 or so miles of the morning, about 25 were on a paved road with a sweet shoulder. Plus, while there were some little hills, it trended downhill all the way into town.
Though I was riding in a big open valley, I got some great views of the snow-capped Wind River Mountain Range to my East. These dramatic snowy mountaintops (almost) rival the Tetons, and the tallest peak–Gannet Peak–is only 33ft shorter than Grand Teton.
I needed to do a big restock in Pinedale, since I only have convenience stores between me and the Notorious Great Basin (coming up in 2 days), so I got a bunch of food, ate lunch, and even grabbed a fancy coffee.
The last 12 miles out to Boulder, where I’m camping, were also on excellent paved roads–the first 5 or so were even on a separate cycle way! Nice! I’m getting spoiled by these short, paved days.
When I got to the campground, the super-nice owners let me take the walled tent for no extra charge (I’ll take any excuse not to set up my tent), and I got a shower and did some laundry–last chance for a few days.
It was nice to finish up my ride earlier than usual, which gave me some time to take stock (of the way-excessive amount of food I’m always carrying), and reflect a little.
Here are some surprising revelations I’ve had on the trip so far:
- Mosquitos are maybe the worst thing on planet earth. I knew this before, but have never quite FELT it so acutely. I am covered (literally COVERED) with bites. They especially like to bite me (while riding) on my lower back/upper butt, where I guess it’s easier to get through my bike shorts? UGHHHH. Today I gave up and bought a full-sized bottle of the extra-DEET spray. I’m so sick of being bitten all day, all the time, everywhere. Pack-weight-watching be damned.
- You have to take care of your lips. Again, I don’t know why this surprised me. When Arthur picked me up last week, I had been plagued for weeks with chapped, split, blistered, sunburned lips. It took 5 full days (and a lot of trial-and-error with products) to get them back to a semblance of normal. Now I’m applying SPF30 lip balm every hour.
- When I’ve been biking all day, I sleep REALLY WELL, even when camping. Although I’ve always loved camping, I’ve never slept quite well while doing it–turns out when you exercise for 8-10 hours a day, it’s easy to get a good night’s sleep! I think part of it is the nice sleeping pad I bought (Thermarest NeoAir Lite), but it’s mostly just exhaustion.
Here are some surprising things I have NOT done yet:
- Built a fire. And I love building fires! But, I haven’t camped in many areas with a lot of dead wood/trees. (In fact, in Canada, it was against the rules to collect dead wood). More importantly, I’m too tired and go to bed too early to stay up enjoying and/or maintaining it.
- Dug a cat hole. There have been enough pit toilets, gas stations, and public restrooms that I haven’t needed to. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- (I can say this now since I’m out of their territory) SEEN A GRIZZLY. Amazingly, one of my greatest fears leading up to the trip never even came close! Although cyclists only a short distance in front of and behind me saw them, I never saw a single one!! There was even a mama and 3 cubs at a campground like a mile from me, but I didn’t catch a glimpse. ARE GRIZZLY BEARS A MYTH? Granted, by listening to loud podcasts and having my bear bell jinging at all times, I was making a ton of noise, so I probably scared off any lurking bear friends. I’m still in black bear territory for the rest of the trip, but feel wayyyyy less nervous about them. They eat a lot less people, per capita.