Hello from Wyoming.
Specifically, hello from a lovely campground nestled along the banks of the Snake River 10 miles south of Jackson.
I thought that I would make it all the way to downtown Jackson this evening; however, after 80 miles of riding, 4,400 feet of climbing, and a MAJOR brush with disaster today, I am staying put where I am for the night.
Even though today’s riding featured some significant elevation gain, the miles practically flew by. My route up into the Tetons paralleled the Snake River, so I had plenty of beautiful mountains to distract me from my hurting hamstrings.
However, if I’ve learned anything at all on this bike tour, I’ve learned the inevitability of Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will! Sixty miles into my ride, while I gaped at the gob-smackingly beautiful scenery I heard the noise that strikes fear into every biker’s heart: Pffffffftttttttt HISSSSSS thwap thwap thwap thwap!
In case you’re keeping score, this is the SECOND tire failure since I left Seattle.
I let fly a few choice expletives, then pulled over to determine the identity of the insult to my vulcanized-rubber. I did not have to look very hard to identify the culprit.
My close encounter with errant carpentry supplies happened five miles along highway 89 north. I summoned up all of my grit, gumption, and MacGuyver-abilities, got out my knife, and fashioned an ersatz patch from the busted tube.
Duct-tape played an important role in this particular chapter of my saga, too.
Patch-job completed, I hopped back in the saddle for a few tenuous turns of the wheels. When it became apparent that my insane jury-rigged solutions might actually hold air, I pedaled like a bat out of hell for 18 miles, reciting prayers to the bike-gods and homilies to the Angels of Rubber & Adhesives.
Eighteen stressful miles later, I pulled in to the first campsite I saw, ten miles south of Jackson.
I immediately grabbed a taxi and made my way to the closest bike shop.
The friendly fellows at Hoback Sports hooked me up with a seriously Kevlar-armored tire. THE TOUR WILL GO ON!
Today was beautiful, challenging, frightening, and exhilarating. Yet again I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for my incredible luck, and the genuinely wonderful people who have helped me along the way. I’ve had many moments over the past 13 days where I thought that my trip was dead in the water, but somehow I just keep counting my blessings and trucking along.
It’s time for me to eat some dinner and go to sleep, tomorrow I’m pointed towards Pinedale.