June 23, 2010 – 78 miles
We slept in this morning because a diner at which we wanted to eat did not open until 8:00. I was up at 6:30. Strange how a college student can be consider it sleeping in…
While waiting for the diner to open, I performed some standard bike maintenance – cleaned and lubed the chain, oiled the cables, adjusted the brakes, etc.
I ordered way too much food for breakfast. Two eggs, bacon, two hotcakes, and a side of a 3-stacker of pancakes. I thought the hotcakes were biscuits, but they’re actually pancakes. And they were huge.
I gave a pancake to Auke and ate the rest – covered in butter, syrup, and sugar.
I was uncomfortably stuffed upon riding out of town. The first four miles were steep rollers to boot! As we were leaving, Mathieu said, “Meet you in Boulder?” “Alright. I’ll be three hours behind you.”
Atlantic City to Boulder is 75 miles of relatively flat roads. The last 18 of which are paved. It was going to be a long day. Especially after finishing breakfast at 9:30.
Four miles out of Atlantic, I passed through South Pass City (population: 7). It looked interesting, but I did not stop. 10 riding hours without breaks would bring me to Boulder at 19:30. As you may have gathered, I need a lot of rests.
There was a few-mile stretch of pavement in the morning. It was low traffic, but it was all RVs and campers. I stopped at a rest area just before going west, off-road into the desert. I talked with a few ladies who were waiting there. A son of one of theirs asked if I was a “traveler.” I guess I am a traveler (temporarily). He wants to be a drummer, game maker, cement layer, and a lot of other things. Oh, the innocence of childhood.
I left the rest station and turned onto a dirt road leading seemingly to the middle of nowhere. At first I wasn’t sure it was the road I wanted. There were no visible tire tracks to help, either.
My stomach started hurting and feeling like I might puke. Great. I’m heading off into a barren, desolate landscape, feeling like I’m becoming ill, and not even sure if I’m going the correct way.
I rode on anyways and eventually saw tire tracks and passed some TD racers. Some stopped to talk, but most didn’t.
The miles stretched on for what felt like forever, but the scenery was great. To one side was a barren landscape; the other was the high, snow-covered peaks of the Bridger Wilderness.
I often checked my average speed and miles remaining to estimate how late into the night I’d be riding. Some scenarios led to me riding until 23:00!
At 16:00, I had only covered half the distance to Boulder. If this pace continued, I’d be riding until 22:30.
The way the day dragged on reminded me of my Hachita to Silver City mistake. All I wanted to do was make it to the pavement….
At 18:30, I finally reached my long-awaited pavement. Unfortunately, I still had 18 miles to do.
About halfway through it, two guys on a road trip stopped to ask for directions to a certain campground. As we stood behind their car, looking at our maps, hundreds of mosquitoes swarmed us. Almost instantly I had a dozen on each leg, all getting ready to take a drink. I was under the impression that mosquitoes were attracted to body heat and CO2. This event strengthened my that belief.
The sun was just setting as I made it to Boulder (it was 20:00). I found Auke sitting outside a restaurant (the only one in town). He said I should eat there because the food was good. But he also had another motive. He suspected his server had breast implants and wanted me to ask her if it were true. I didn’t ask (but he may have been right).
At first, we thought about staying in the only motel in town, but they charged a non-negotiable $125! The $17 RV park served our needs just fine.
Auke rode to the RV park and Mathieu came to keep me company in the restaurant…and order a second dinner. Afterall, we saved so much money by avoiding the motel.
I rode to the RV park in the dark and assembled my tent. It was almost 23:00 by the time I layed down. This day was very tough for me. Tonight I felt soreness in my legs that I’ve never felt in the past.
I rode from 9:30 to 20:00 with minimal breaks. My only food after breakfast was a few scoops of Nutella and a packet of tuna at 17:00. Riding is all I did. I couldn’t enjoy being on the Great Divide. Maybe I’m frustrated from a tough day, but I think more days like this will force me to leave the others and take a slower pace.