We awoke to an email from the Salsa rep. This was awesome news. G and the reps (Aaron + Zach) exchanged a few emails regarding the logistics and we were all set… A new rack will await us in Rawlins (the next town we hit). We were all set to hit this basin – the origin of most Wyoming complaints. This is a 150 mile ride with:
-winds never less than 60km/h
-schizophrenic winds always managing to be a headwind.
-washboard. Miles of washboard. About 150 miles of washboard to be exact.
-Lots of turnoffs to get lost on.
-A number of wild horses.
-Lightning storms. Lots of lightning storms.
-oh yah…. Only 2 water sources – a well and a reservoir.
So… after the mammoth climb out of Atlantic City, we were officially beginning this monster. The first 10 miles were pretty awesome. It really felt like we were in the desert. Alone in the wilderness. This sensation of new territory overcame the anguish caused by the deadly W’s (wind & washboard).
We filled our water up at the well site, and headed for the reservoir. The reservoir was 55 miles past the well, making for a 75 mile day or so in the basin. This may have been a little unrealistic as we only started moving at 2pm or so after the rack situation was dealt with (note the foreshadowing…).
We pedaled and pedaled through the sandy road noting antelope after antelope and gust after gust. We hit a fork in the road and decided to go left (long story…). We continued pedaling for 10 km or so until we realized we had made a mistake. After witnessing a gust blow Geoff off his bike (not kidding), we decided our only option was to backtrack. All in all this costed us about 20 km of pedaling and maybe 2 hours (headwind, uphill…). We got back to the junction, peed on the sign that pointed us in the wrong direction, then marched on into the sunset. We were about 30 miles short of the reservoir and short on water at sundown. We sat down to capture the sunset to relieve some of the stress and decide on a plan. Conclusion: strap on the headlamps and begin our first real night ride.
Guided by Geoff’s really strong headlamp, Cam’s moderately powered lamp, and Jacob’s negligible lamp, we headed for the reservoir. An hour or so of this passed and then boooooooooooooooooooosh. Down goes Cam. C fell off his bike pretty good and scraped up his arm and hand. No big deal thanks to the sandy road. As we rode on at a slightly slower pace, thunderstorms approached us from both left and right. This was actually super awesome. Imagine biking in the pitch black surrounded by lightning and echoing thunder. As the storms got closer and closer, we decided it was best to pitch tents at the road side and just bunker down for the night. We were about 15 miles short of the reservoir and pretty low on water. We pitched our tents in complete darkness, snacked on some dry food and passed on out.
Beginning of the Basin.