Sunday, 24 July 2011

Day 52: Taking the p***

Day 52
Lander to Dubois 76miles

Another early start. Im actually hoping that once I get over the Togwotee pass (which should be tomorrow), the weather will be cooler so I can start out later. A quick check of the forecast does seem to show that might be the case. Predicted high in Dubois, where I finished today is 32c, compared with only 24c in Grand Teton national park, where I hope to be in a days time.

Setting off so early, it was actually quite chilly until the sun got up a little. But this morning the weather wasnt my main problem. The big problem was my 'plumbing'! After about 7miles or so, just after entering Wind River Indian Reservation, I had to stop for a leak. I didnt think anything of it. Until another 7-8miles later I had to stop again. And then again another 8 miles down the road.

For those who dont know me as well, I have spent most of my working life in the field of medical research. I like what I do, and feel I am helping to make a difference. When I was an author on a paper published in the most prestigious medical journal in the world, where we showed the results of the first ever large trial for patients with a particularly nasty type of cancer1 I was very proud. The downside to this type of work though is that you always find out about lots of horrible conditions and ailments, so my brain immediately went into panic mode and I thought “Oh crap, my poor American diet has caused me to develop diabetes!” (excessive urine production is a symptom of new onset diabetes). Anyway, I soldiered on and got to the small town of Crowheart (birthday place of Lost's Matthew Fox apparently), which was about 45miles into my day. By this point, I had stopped no less than 6 times to relieve myself! Thankfully, I dont think I have diabetes. I think it was just my body having to work overtime. I went a bit crazy drinking milk last night – ended up drinking about 4pints over the course of the evening. I cant even blame it on alcohol, as I didnt have any last night!

But on the plus side, I got through 45miles of mainly uphill riding without thinking too much about the effort I was putting in, and all the constant stopping allowed me to take some nice pictures!

And it was a very scenic ride today. The road I was on was surrounded on both sides by high, steep hills for much of the day. And then towards the end of the day, I was riding along next to the Wind River (I cant for one moment how it came to get its name...) as it cut its way through the hills.
I think this was stop number 3

Crowheart Butte: The scene of a fight between 2 Indian Chiefs apparently

The Wind River

And again

Considering that I spent most of the day going uphill, it was actually very nice riding. I think it actually says a lot about how far I have progressed that I could do a 76mile ride, gain around 1,500ft in elevation and still fell pretty fresh at the end. The only reason I didnt go on is that there isnt much else on the road until it goes over the Togwotee pass, and the climb gets steeper near the top. But a very successful day, and a good example of making use of a rest day to ensure I was fresh to take on a reasonably challenging ride. Even the wind behaved itself more or less today. It started playing up when I had about 4miles to go, but by then I didnt really care.

Got to Dubois, and got chatting with some guys who were driving their classic cars around the country. I think this was my favourite.
Sweet ride...

...but I'm sure you'll all agree this one is better!

Probably head out for a beer later. Then the next few days are in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. Now I have been to both of these before, so I know just how stunning they will be. And Im very much looking forward to it. Blog updates will probably cease online for a couple of days, as they dont have things like internet in Yellowstone (at least they didnt last year), because the whole idea is to celebrate the wilderness for being wild. Im also planning some short days in the park, so I can spend a couple of days enjoying the scenery. I think of it as like a little reward for travelling almost 3,000miles. All being well, next time I resurface I'll be in Montana!

1) paper

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