Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | July 5, 2016

Day 23: Expect the unexpected

Day 23
Destination: Casper, Wyoming
Tuesday’s mileage: 102. Total: 1,307

Today was one of those days when you think you’ve got it all figured out and you quickly learn that learning to adapt is the biggest part of “winning” this journey. I had expected a long ride. I had expected to push nearly 100 miles. Here’s what I didn’t expect:

  • 12-18 mph headwinds for the first four hours.
  • more climbing. I thought this was relatively flat, if not mostly downhill. Ooops.
  • another flat tire.
  • rain, lightning, road construction, and a late mudslide on a very pleasant Casper city bike path

The beauty of being ready for the unexpected? The joy you feel when you roll into a hotel parking lot in Casper and your loving wife is there to greet your with a hug, a kiss, a beer in the fridge, pizza, a warm shower and soft beds calling my name. It was a good day.

riding in the rain

Yeah, into each sunny day a little rain must fall. Or something like that.

I pushed through the first four hours of today’s ride and only had made it 40 miles. Part of that time was spent changing a tire (thanks to another small hunk of metal piercing my very good touring tires). But most of that time was spent grinding into the wind and up more hills than I care to count. I did see dozens and dozens of antelope (no pics because of a small GoPro malfunction). But that was small consolation for the hard work I was putting into those miles. I figured there was no way I’d get to Casper; that I’d have to have Melody drive me into the city and then back out to where I had stopped.

But I made a pitstop for a grilled cheese sandwich at a road-side greasy spoon and while I was chewing my cheese and contemplating my misery, the wind shifted. It went from a east/northeast wind to a straight west wind. A tailwind! Hurray!

I jumped back on my bike and started cruising, feeling better knowing I could start putting miles on the odometer but still uncertain if I could make it all the way to Casper. About 90 minutes (and 30 miles) later, I hit rain. It drizzled first, then started to rain heavy with little bits of hail thrown in. Add to that some road construction, where they basically cut off my shoulder and forced me to ride in the construction zone, and I was forced to make some decisions.

By that time, Melody had caught up to me and was urging me to wait out the storm inside the car. But I was determined to push on. After all, what’s the point of rain gear if you’re not willing to use it? So I pushed on. I got wet, a friendly Wyoming driver asked me if I wanted to throw the bike in the back of his truck and take a ride with him. I declined. That’d be cheating, after all. I thanked him and kept pushing forward.

Soon, the weather cleared and I convinced Melody I was good to go for the last 30 miles. She headed forward to secure our housing for the night and I pedaled on. There were a few more weather scares. I put the rain gear on, took it off and put it on again. But I finally made it. I left Shoshoni at about 7:45 a.m. and pulled into Casper sometime around 7 p.m. It was a long day, but when you’re done — as my many biking friends know — it all feels good. I’m a little sore, a little weary. I’m going to sleep well tonight. But I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.

dirty feet

Shoes dirty. Feet smelly. Legs muddy (and dirty from chain grease). It was that kind of day.

I found a guy who does bike repairs out of his house here. He’s going to clean up my bike (I ended up riding through a mini-mud slide on a bike bath in Casper). I need to get every tidied up for whatever comes next. So he’ll fix me up (my sixth bike shop visit; these guys are sooo00 nice). And we’ll be on our way again. It’s kind of amazing that we’ve gone 1,300 miles already. Still lots more miles to do, but it’s feels pretty good right now.

But whatever I think tomorrow might be, I’m not going to go predicting how it’ll turn out. In the end, in biking — as in life — we know that’s a fool’s errand.

For more pictures from today — and pix and video from the rest of the ride — please check out our website: 55andalive.com

 

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Responses

  1. Well, the pizza and beer sound good….

  2. Proud of you brother… Keep on truckin’! We’re all following and with you, I even think I saw you for a couple seconds on google earth! Haha

  3. Amazing ride so far! Proud of you. Just listened to the archived broadcast with the sport guys. Hope they contact you again because you did an interesting interview.


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