Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Tour Divide 2016: Day 9

Turpin Meadow Campground, WY  to outskirts of Boulder, WY
Mileage: 210.7 km (130.9 mi)
Riding Time: 18h 30m
Standing: 12th place 
 
Day 9 Map
 
Up at the regular time around 4:30am and on the road I went.  The gravel road climbed steadily up Togwotee Pass.  It was a long climb and didn’t feel too good first thing in the morning on stiff legs.  The gravel road met up with pavement at a hotel and gas station.  It was too early for the gas station which was too bad.  I was looking forward to a coffee.  I went to the bathroom at the hotel and continued on.  The climb on the highway was nice compared to the gravel.  



Divide Crossing near Togwotee Pass


I almost missed the turn to Brooks Lake.  The trail paralleled the highway and was a really nice stretch.  



On the way to Brooks Lake


Eventually I summited the climb and headed down to the hotel/ store on the highway.  I got some more food and continued on.  I thought after the big climb up Togwotee, the rest of the day should be easy.  If you ever choose to do the Tour Divide, don’t say that to yourself.   Unless you are standing at the border of Mexico, assume the next section will be harder.  Then you will never be disappointed.  The Warm River alternate was hot and steep up loose gravel.  Lots of walking for the guy riding a single speed.  


The gravel road eventually levelled out and was a series of ups and downs.  I reached a section that took my breath away.  I didn’t realise it at the time, but I was at Union Pass.  The view stretched on for miles in all directions.  I got passed by an older couple on a quad and it surprised me. It seemed like I was in the middle of nowhere to see someone so clean casually driving around.  I guess there was lots of camping in the area.



Wide open expanse at the top of Union Pass


The road continued down a fun, fast descent.  The road was full of these little kamikaze gophers that would zip across the road right in front of my tire.  I started calling out, “Watch out Fred!”  I thought I might as well name them…why not?  The rocky terrain would remind me of a show the kids used to watch with a rock monster.  It looked like the piles of rocks could shift and start walking around any minute.  Rocks, gophers, and then cows.  So many cows.  



So many cows

The grade leveled out as it paralleled the Green River.  I tried to keep a good pace into a decent wind.  The resistance worked out well with my gear ratio.  The gravel turned into pavement and I continued to ride toward Cora.  Sleepiness set in again as I talked to the many Freds (gophers) and cows.  Then all of a sudden Pavel rode up beside me.  He surprised me a bit and I wasn’t in the mood to talk.  We rode together for a bit and then he pulled away.  I rode into Pinedale near dusk and stopped at the combination Subway and gas station.  I called Kristin and talked about how I hardly saw anyone that day and my sanity seemed to be slipping a bit.  I still felt pretty good physically, but the times I felt alert and awake were getting few and far between.  There were a few hours left in the day so I kept riding.  I thought I could find a place to bivy near Boulder.  


I stopped at an outhouse at the river near Boulder, but it was full of ants.  I looked around a bit and didn’t see a good place to stop.  Boulder had a hotel and I tried to find out how to get a room.  It was late and I couldn’t find anyone around.  I was a bit disappointed, but also glad.  I like that I had not stayed in a hotel and didn’t want to compromise.  I kept riding on the route and found a nice, cozy spot in a sage bush.  



Cozy little nook inside a bush


I unrolled my bivy inside the bush and slept great.  I felt so cozy and secure.

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