Texas Hill Country
October 12, 2020
Elevation: 7,243 ft.
Distance: 66.9 mi.
Odometer: 1,405.0 mi.
Heading to Laramie was the first day of the entire ride that headed into the mountains, rather than going somewhere alongside them. It also involved some major elevation change, and as I was told, headwind.
I started gaining ground right away, but was doing well, all things considered. It wasn't until somewhere around mile 20 that things started getting tough. That's when you come around a corner and face the headwind.
Today was only 67 miles but was still a darn tough day. Consistent climbing for about 30 miles, topping out at somewhere around 8,200 ft. And reaching that elevation, as well as staying over 7,000 ft. for almost the entire day, can leave you out of breath.
But the real killer was the wind. Right in my face the entire day, 20 mph, gusting to 30. Made an already tough hill hard enough that I had to use my granny gear at one point. First time I've had to do that since Palo Duro Canyon, and this hill was less than half as steep (4% grade compared to 10%).
One of the few things that kept me going in the middle of the day was the fact that I was crossing the Wyoming border today. But when I got there, there wasn't even a "Welcome to Wyoming" sign! I felt ripped off. In its place, someone had drawn a line in chalk with "CO" and "WY" on the appropriate sides. Probably a Texas 4,000 member so they could have a finish line for the border race. Kudos to whoever won it, because I had a hell of a time just making it there.
Finally crested the hill, but had to pedal down the backside because of the wind. Never topped 16 mph. If you live in Wyoming, go plant eight dozen trees. Now. I don't care if you already have eight dozen trees, plant eight dozen more. Something needs to stop this wind. You'd think they'd eventually run out of air wherever it's coming from. There were a few fence-looking wind barricades along some sections of the highway, but they didn't seem to do much. Especially since the wind is strong enough that large sections of the barricades have been blown down.
Finally got into Laramie, where the buildings filtered out at least some of the wind. Rode through the University of Wyoming campus, which was small, but pretty. Went past their football stadium, where my beloved Longhorns will be playing on my birthday in a few months. The gates were open, and you could even walk on the field! I'm sure I stood in some spot where Colt's gonna make some badass play. Awesome.
Staying with Evan and Kennedy O'Toole, who I also found by some means through WarmShowers.org. Nice people, and young. And Evan's really into biking. Nice to have someone to talk to about what I've been doing all day, every day for the last three weeks. Big thanks to Evan and Kennedy. Maybe Texas 4,000 will stay with you again next year.
from Pedal for Potatoes