BOBBY AND THANE TACKLE THE TRANSAM Day 50 Riverside to Rawlins

Day Fifty Thanes blog: pinball wizzard

Wednesday June 19, 2013, 60 miles (97 km) – Total so far: 2,614 miles (4,207 km)
We did our usual get up early and hit the road. We were turning pedals around 6 am. Our map showed a restaurant around 20 miles from us so we made that our first stop. The morning wind was slight and a three quarter tail wind. Unfortunately, all that went to hell for the last 20 miles or our day.

We made the left turn that put us on I-80 and felt the wrath of Mother Nature at her finest. For my family and friends that don’t cycle I am going to try to paint a picture for you. I did this one other time during my journaling and its time to paint again.

I-80 is obviously the fan favorite for anyone driving an 18 wheeler for a living. It is also a fan favorite for anyone pulling a huge freaking rv camper. The right side of this interstate is littered with blown out tires, broken beer bottles and countless pieces of metal. It is also strewn with rocks, nails, broken plastic kids toys, cigarette packages, bolts and god knows what else.

How do I know all this, simple. For the vast majority of time I spent cycling this little piece of hell on earth I was absolutely forced to keep my head down. The cross wind was blowing from left to right at a conservative estimate of 25-35 mph. What that means in real time is that a cyclist is forced to physically lean into the wind in order to try to keep themselves and their bicycles from being physically blown off the right side of the highway.

The wind tunnels that are created when semi after semi come screaming by a cyclist at 70 mph are the equivalent of being in the vortex of a small tornado. Often times a cyclist gets sucked in the direction of the semi. More than once today I ended up hugging the rumble strips which were located four feet from where I had been riding.

The amount of concentration needed to navigate through this mess is unreal. After a few miles your hands and forearms are on fire. Your upper back is as tight as your Uncle Ted who only gave you a dollar to cut his one acre lawn when you were 10 years old.

Your mind simply cannot process the physical pain so it shuts down and its only focus is on getting you through these miles in one piece. I equated this adventure on I-80 to being stuck inside a pinball machine. You seriously get bounced from one side of the highway shoulder toward the traffic zone on a regular basis. When the wind is not pulling or pushing you, your bicycle handling skills are put into hyper activity with dodging the freaking road debris.

At the end of the 60 mile day we opted out of a campground and found the closest motel. We all looked at each other and said “Holy crap, that was damn dangerous”.

Tomorrow we have our sights set on the tiny ghost town of Jeffery City. Weatherman says fierce winds until Saturday. And the locals agree. I have found that the locals are far better at predicting such things.

Tonight I will probably dream of fierce head winds combined with crazy cross winds. Yuck!

good morning wyoming

good morning Wyoming

the view from I-80

the view from I-80

the view from the main street of sinclar

the view from the main street of sinclar

old glory dancing with the wind

old glory dancing with the wind

yes boys. the wind is not blowing inside this macdonalds restaurant

yes boys. the wind is not blowing inside this macdonalds restaurant

Day Fiifty Bobby’s Blog

Wednesday June 19, 2013, 60 miles (97 km) – Total so far: 2,614 miles (4,207 km)

What a lovely morning. We broke camp at 5 am had a little breakfast in the laundry room at the Lazy Acres campground and was on the road a little after 6 am.It was brisk but not cold and the sun came up and it warmed real quick. We were all feeling great as we were pretty much going downhill with a pretty sweet tail wind all the way to Saratoga where we had the real breakfast.Belly full of oatmeal and brown sugar and two slices of wheat toast (ya I know it sounds boring but the bacon was messing with me on the climbs) we hit the road again toward Walcott. More downhill and sweet tail wind.

Antelope it seemed were as plentiful as white tail in Michigan. When we reached Walcott our map put us on I-80 as in interstate for 13 miles. First I ever heard of bicycles being on an interstate. Apparently it’s allowed here cause we passed a police officer (he was stopped) without a hitch.

To add insult to injury the wind was out of the south gusting to 40 miles an hour and we are heading West. Had all we could do to stay on the bike. If you have ever been on I-80 you know that there more trucks than cars.

We had to actually lean sideways into the wind while riding and when a truck would pass and block the wind it would suck you right towards it. Got off at Sinclair and worked our way another 6 miles to Rawlins where we ducked into the first motel we saw.

I asked the gal at the check in desk what’s with the wind and she said well it’s not too bad right now. Go figure.