Sent: Saturday, 8/16/03
To: Friends and Family
Subject: Sweetwater River Crossing to Rawlins
August 15 - Sweetwater Crossing to Uranium Mill (73 miles, 3350 feet)
Knowing today's ride would be long, I told Evan right away I wasn't going to race him. I lagged behind, and after a few miles, he stopped to wait for me and we had "The Talk."
"Mary, you have a choice. You can either ride in my slipstream and expend about 60% of the energy or you can ride on your own and fall back several miles," Evan said. He still thinks he can make a road rider out of me.
Even though I've tried riding in a paceline before and didn't like it, I decided to be a good sport about it. "Okay, I'll try it."
We rode this way for a few miles, but it changed the nature of the ride for me. Rather than looking around, enjoying the scenery, and getting lost in my own thoughts, I was concentrating on technique -- a technique that is quite useless on single track, I might add. After a while, I gave up. You tell me, which would you rather do -- concentrate on someone's rear wheel or look for stud piles?
Stud piles are piles of manure that wild horses use to mark their territory. Ray and the other BOB Boys told us these piles could get 5 feet high. Oddly enough, I didn't see any stud piles until Jim caught up with us. We saw one that was about 18 inches high, but most of them were wider than they were high, some scattered in a 3-foot circle. Far more thrilling than the stud piles were watching the wild horses responsible for them. We saw 4 or 5 lone horses and a couple of herds -- if 3 to 6 horses count as a herd -- galloping across the landscape. One morning we awoke to find a wild stallion a short distance from the motorhome. He pranced around like a show horse, perhaps issuing a challenge to the male newcomers.
In the vast, empty, treeless and waterless stretches of Wyoming, we were occasionally reminded of the goodness of human nature. People in two cars, one from Utah and the other from California, stopped to see if we were okay or if we needed water. A third car with an elderly couple from Wyoming offered us sandwiches. In all cases, we were well prepared and didn't need help, but it was refreshing to be asked.
Today's terrain was relatively flat and it seemed like a good day to rack up some miles. We rode for 73 miles, all on dirt roads. The hardest part, besides the constant wind, was the 10+ hours of "chamois" time -- the time spent wearing bicycle shorts with a chamois crotch. One of my priorities is to make sure chamois time isn't much longer than the ride itself.
August 16 - Uranium Mill to Rawlins (48 miles, 1490 feet)
We started our ride shortly after 7:00 to give us plenty of time in Rawlins to run errands. We knocked off 48 miles, most of it on pavement, by noon.
On a 20-mile stretch of empty blacktop into a steady side wind, Evan rode beside me and said, "If you're not going to ride in my slipstream, I'll ride in yours." He did this for a few miles and it was obvious he was enjoying the fruits of my labor. I decided to give this slipstream business one more try. I rode in his slipstream and was amazed at how easy it was. I liked it; sometimes I do open my narrow mind.
The best part of today was being reunited with two more of the BOB Boys. We parked our motorhome in Jeff Sweet's driveway. We had the pleasure of meeting his wife Kim and daughter Carina, although they had to leave for a visit with Kim's mom and dad. While we were driving through town, Kurt Wilson and his daughter Loni caught up with us in Loni's hot new Jeep. Kurt joined Jeff, Evan, Jim and me for dinner. We appreciated Jeff's kind hospitality and the opportunity for hot showers and laundry almost as much as we enjoyed the time spent with him again.
We also appreciated the opportunity for Evan to have his first shave in four weeks. It was amazing to see a Clint Eastwood look-alike who could be cast as a serial killer transformed into a gentle Jimmy Steward character with a few strokes of a disposable razor. I felt like I needed to re-introduce myself and be polite to him all over again.
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