Winnie-the-Pooh and the Blustery Day

Our caterer failed to show up in Riverton Tuesday night, apparently thinking we were having breakfast Wednesday and then dinner Wednesday night. We were ferried into town and dropped at a seemingly random intersection, with no restaurants in sight.

I found a Thai restaurant and discovered three other riders there. While the food was good, the service was so slow I think they cooked the rice after I placed my order.

The caterer showed up for a breakfast that I’d rather forget. We headed out of town and were soon on new asphalt for 1/2 mile. It is amazing what a difference the road surface makes. I ride 3-5 mph faster on new asphalt than on chipseal. We hit another stretch of new asphalt later, which lasted longer.

Mountains loomed ahead and our cue sheet said 12 mile descent. It was hard to believe. We turned parallel to the range and continued on some up and down which began to feel like a slog. Leaving a water stop my rear tire began to feel spongy. Before I could get back it had gone flat. I walked the last 100 yards, removed a wire from my tire, changed the tube, used the van’s floor pump to reinflate, and was soon on my way. We turned toward the mountains and into a gap and were suddenly in the beautiful Wind River Canyon. While it wasn’t really a 12 mile descent, it was more down than up.

The third of three closely-spaced tunnels. Note mine shaft openings in wall at right.
Mine shaft a bit closer up.

We only caught glimpses of the river below and never in a spot where photography was an option.

Out of the canyon we came upon Thermopolis which claims to be home to the world’s largest mineral hot springs. Fearing that once I got into a hot spring my legs would turn to rubber with 35 miles left to ride, I opted for an espresso instead.

The ride got long after 85 miles. Arriving in town I spotted 4 familiar faces on the patio of a Mexican Restaurant. Beer was in sight, so I stopped before setting up camp.

I texted a photo of my post-ride beer to my co-workers. It was still working hours. This was their reply.

I set up my tent and clothesline, then took a shower. Storm clouds loomed on the horizon but appeared to be passing us by. They didn’t. Fat raindrops began to fall. Within minutes of hanging my clothes, I took them back down and ran to the tent to batten down the hatches. My head was holding up the tent against the onslaught of gusty winds. Since the last storm bent a pole, I did my best to hold the tent in shape with my body. The rain was minimal but the wind continues to blow. The sun is shining, the weather app says 22 mph winds, but the gusts are more like 40 mph. Each gust flattens the tent against me. At least I feel useful;) Soon I will have to leave the tent to its own devices to go eat dinner.

The camera operator (or director) never seemed to figure out that David Hidalgo was playing the guitar solos, so the camera avoids him.
Happy birthday JU!