Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In Pinedale

I rolled into Pinedale, Wyoming, at about 11 p.m. Monday night after a ride that was, like most days on the Tour Divide, sometimes hellish, usually beautiful, and always intriguing. In the past two days, I crossed the borders of both Idaho and Wyoming with little fanfare, but the real sense of accomplishment has come in how much the landscape has been changing. From aspen groves to high alpine drainages to rolling sage valleys, the land is my gauge of progress. Like everyone else in this year's race, I've been caught in a fair amount of weather, but I've been lucky enough to miss most of the rain on trails where dryness is crucial. I did a long push yesterday around the Brooks Lake loop. It took me nearly three hours to go three miles. The snow pushing was fine - I'm used to it, really - but the muddy areas where the snow had melted had become that wheel-sucking, wet cement mud that freezes up my wheels within seconds. By the time I realized it, it was too late. I had to carry my mud-caked bike about a half mile along the rocky sideslope because my feet were sticking to the trail. Of course, I was cursing my 29-inch wheels and the nonexistent clearance they have on my small frame and the whole Adventure Cycling route that makes us go around Brooks Lake when it's so easy to bypass it. :-)

I really enjoyed the climb up Union Pass. Just took it super slow and enjoyed the views. I was slammed by hard winds at the pass. The south wind was mostly in my face, and when it wasn't, random 50 mph gusts were nearly strong enough to knock me off my bike. I just plowed into it, only slightly annoyed because the high alpine landscape was so beautiful, and I knew I was so far out there, and getting farther away. That's one thing about the Great Divide route that I really enjoy - it really puts you out in places that are far away from anywhere you might normally visit. Forty, fifty, sixty miles of nothing but dirt track and landscape that's changed little in hundreds of years. When I reach the Great Divide Basin, hopefully by Wednesday or possibly even tonight, that's going to be much farther from anything. I like that. Lots of space to think.

I'm not sure about the mileage I've covered so far in my 10 days on the route - more than 1,000. Hard miles. Amazing miles. I honestly didn't believe I'd make it this far, but each new day makes me excited to make it farther.

22 comments:

  1. You are doing so great. :)

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  2. You are rocking. I'm impressed at how positive you are about this race. Just keep spinning. You can do it!!!!

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  3. dinglearm8:30 AM

    You are doing very well. Keep up the great work and just enjoy the ride!

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  4. Anonymous8:59 AM

    Mike In WI say's

    If you were my kid, bragging about you would be easy!!!

    Feet to the pedals and nose to the wind...

    The weather is going to start getting HOT soon...please drink plenty of electrolyte H2O and stay safe.
    Mike In WI

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  5. You are doing great, Jill. You're really kicking the female record. Keep up the good riding.

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  6. Your doing great! I'm now a TD junkie.

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  7. Great job Jill - Pinedale area is our snowmobile stomping grounds. Take care and keep safe.

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  8. That's better, sounds amazing. 'cept for the wind. I don't like the sound of that.

    Stay on that wave of self-satisfaction.

    You sure as hell cheered up my day.

    (Is it weird that my word verification for today is an anagram of re-train?)

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  9. This blog gives me space to think.

    Thanks Jill!

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  11. I really like where you wrote, "the land is my gauge of progress". Beautiful!

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  12. Three miles in three hours - you are one tough girl

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  13. You GO, girl! I just went through Pinedale in a truck, the only way I'd ever make it.

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  14. Stud. You are lovin' it, aren't you?

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  15. Great Ride Jill!! Keep the wheels spinning!

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  16. Another epic adventure, nothing but jealousy from me.
    keep turning them over, your leading silly!

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  17. Well Done!! Keep going! You're doing great!

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  18. Awesome Athlete,,Perfect Woman

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  19. Your doing great!!! It sounds like an awesome adventure.

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  20. Your photos are remarkable.

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