Sunday, 16 October 2016

Tour Divide 2016: Day 11

Outskirts of Wamsutter, WY to the Outskirts of Clark, CO
Mileage: 201.4 km (125.1 mi)
Riding Time: 18h 23m
Standing: 14th place

Day 11 Map

Back on the road around 5am.  Jose started off a bit quicker than I like to so I encouraged him to go ahead.  I rode slow with the double vision still lingering.  I rolled into the huge gas station in Wamsutter to get some food.  This place was massive.  It services a lot of truckers so it was bustling at 6am.  There were showers, a Subway and lots of food to choose from.  I cleaned up in the bathroom and had a burrito roll thing for breakfast.  Jose left the station a bit earlier than me and I saw him ride off into the distance.  The road leading out of Wamsutter is soul sucking.  Straight with loose pea gravel and not much to see except oil infrastructure and the odd antelope.  It reminded me of Alberta with the rig rockets blasting past me.  All the drivers were pretty considerate and gave a wave when they drove by. 

The road curved among some rolling hills that went through more desert-like conditions.  At every little bridge over a blue line on a map there was nothing but dry sand in the creek bed.  It was getting hotter and hotter and it felt like the moisture was being sucked from every pore in my body.   For the first time in the race, I finished my bladder and had to refill from the water bottle reserves. Hot and dry.  I came over a rise and down into an area with some farms.   The trail went down into a valley and back up a really long, straight hill that I had to walk.  It felt good to see other cycling shoe prints in the dry gravel.  I’m not the only one walking!  After that hill, the road led down into Savery. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as resupply. I just really need water.  That stretch seemed way tougher than the Basin.  I am sure the conditions came into play.  I think my time in the Basin was really good with the cooler temperatures and favourable wind.  Then I saw Jose at a community center of some kind. I stopped and he said there was food in the basement. Cool!  Jose didn’t stay long and was on his way as I went down to get some food.  This was the Little Snake River Museum that I saw in some pictures.  What a nice spread.  Some volunteers offer food for donations.  You can go into the kitchen and make yourself some sandwiches and eat various snacks.  It was great!  I talked to Kristin while munching down on some chips and vegetables.  I probably stayed a bit too long, but not too long, and was on my way again.  More beautiful countryside as I made my way to the Brush Mountain Lodge. 

On the way to Brush Mountain Lodge

Brush Mountain Lodge

Brush Mountain Lodge is a must-stop.  I rolled up and was met with a big hug from Kirsten and found out I had a nickname: Dean the Machine.  Cool!  I had some watermelon as I talked to Billy and Lina Rice.  David Stowe rode up shortly after and joined us.  Kirsten made me 5 PB&Js for supper and breakfast and I was on my way to the sound of cowbells and cheers.  Uplifting!  I rolled along dodging piles of cow poo and enjoyed the evening. 

Cows a plenty (poo too)

The road steadily climbed up to Meaden Peak.  I talked to a northbounder couple on the way.  They looked so clean.  The sun was setting as the gentle climbing turned into a steep hike-a-bike.  Lots of big rocks and a bit of mud.

Looking back to the sunset

Pushing up the rocky trail

I kept climbing as the setting sun turned into darkness.  I reached the top and there was a campground.  I rode slowly looking to see if I recognised any campers, but didn’t even see any tents.  The forest was too thick.  Someone called out, “Are you okay?”  It’s probably odd to have someone rolling up to the top of a mountain late at night.  I reassured the voice that I was okay as I started the descent.  “Be safe!” they yelled as I rode away.  I descended fast and maybe a bit reckless in the dark.  The trail was rocky with sections of softball and basketball sized rocks all over the trail. My lights were pretty bright so I could keep a good speed.  I made it down into Clark safe and sound, but a bit sore from gripping my handlebars and standing on the pedals all the way down.  I rode past the Clark Store and continued down the pavement looking for a bivy spot.  I found one on the side of the road in a stand of trees. 

Bivy in the trees

The PB&Js were delicious as I set up camp.  My sleep was great as I settled into my bivy.   I was really starting to look forward to my bivy during the day.  So cozy and warm.

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