July 6th, Day 18: Riverton, WY to Casper, WY: 119 miles, 2591 ft. ascent

The most interesting thing about today’s 119 mile ride was the almost entire lack of anything visually interesting. I know this because at least 20 people told me I wasn’t missing much.

Sadly, contemplating the sheer enormity of the nothingness was punctuated every 15 seconds or so by someone racing past at 80mph in a desperate bid to reach something approaching civilization in Casper.

I’m reminded of an incident on our Land’s End – John o’Groats end to end across the UK in 2012. We had missed our rendezvous with our support vehicle for lunch and were struggling through driving wind and rain across the Forest of Bowland (not a forest at all, but a desolate moor). We were on a single track road with literally nothing manmade visible or audible around us. When a Landrover miraculously appeared over the hill, my co-rider, Guy, flagged the driver down and asked the local driver for directions to the nearest civilization. After a few seconds pause for thought the driver replied in a strong Yorkshire accent, ‘Laddie, this is civilization.’

But back today… our progress was also punctuated by 2 mechanicals. The second incident was a flat, one mile from the destination hotel, which allowed Alastair to demonstrate his repairmanship without the assistance of Speedy Mike. The first incident was less straightforward: just before our final refreshment stop at 90 miles, Alastair's right pedal bearing completely seized up. Unfortunately the mechanics did not have a compatible spare to hand. One suggestion was that Alastair should simply put his feet up and steer while I did all the work for the final 30 miles. The ride leader vetoed this on the grounds that:

  • She had heard at least 40 people on various occasions shout to Alastair that the old duffer on the back wasn’t pedalling
  • We only had 9 hours of daylight remaining

But fortunately one of the other group riders, Anne, was able to lend us one of her dual purpose pedals and the mechanics did have something she could herself use.

And here’s Anne, snapped an hour earlier, being her usual smiley self at Hell’s Half Acre – the one site of significant interest on the ride today.

Chris and Anne by Hells Half Acre

Sign describing Hell