Posts Tagged With: bicycle

Frying Pans and Hiking Boots

For the Tetons, we’ll let our friend Bill do the introduction:

“I drove on to Grand Teton National Park. And there’s another arresting name for you. Tetons means tits in French. … The first French explorers who passed through northwestern Wyoming took one look at the mountains and said, “Zut alors! Hey, Jacques, clock those mountains. They look just like my wife’s tetons.” Isn’t it typical of the French to reduce everything to a level of sexual vulgarity? Thank goodness, they didn’t discover the Grand Canyon, that’s all I can say. And the remarkable thing is that the Tetons look about as much like tits as … well, as a frying pan or a pair of hiking boots. In a word, they don’t look like tits at all, except perhaps to desperately lonely men who have been away from home for a very long time. They looked a little bit like tits to me.” – Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent

Well, the name sure doesn’t fit, but the Tetons mountain range is simply stunning. Back in the summer of 2012, when we decided we would go on this expedition, I changed my desktop wallpaper on my work computer to a picture of the Tetons. Every day at work, I could take a few moments to daydream about our journey to come. 

Now, we’re finally there. The Tetons. And it’s almost like a day back in the office! Yay!

Categories: Rockies, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Forever Wind

– “Well, you’ll see, Wyoming is a really nice place to live… If you can tolerate the isolation. And the long winters. And the hot summers… And the wind”

– “Oh it gets windy around here?”

– “Hahaha! Did you hear that, dear? He asked if it gets windy around here!! You’ll see…”

As if the words of our first host in the state weren’t warning enough, in the “Climate” section of our Wyoming cycling map, you could read the following: “Winds in Wyoming basin easily blow 40 to 60 mph. What’s worse, conditions can change randomly, so expect it to blow in your face at all time. Expect to whimper and struggle all the way through your ride. It’s gonna hurt”.

OK, it maybe didn’t exactly say that. But that was pretty much the point.

The state motto of Wyoming – forever West – should be corrected.

We had to face it. We needed help. So we joined forces with another group of cross-country cyclists! As a pack of 6 (a.k.a. The 6-pack), we found strength and supported each other through a couple of gruesome days.

Our tracks took us along the paths followed by persecution-fleeing-Mormons, Gold-Rushing-49ers, and Trail-Blazing-Explorers. After all, it’s the only way to go West avoiding the high Rocky mountain passes and finding reliable sources of water & grass for the cattle. But I guess explorers mostly saw the state as somewhere to go through, not to stay. In a state the size of the UK, there are more antelopes than people. With a mere 572,000 people, Wyoming is the least populated state of the country.

Although the journey must have been desolate and rough for the early explorers, we must admit times have made things more enjoyable for us bike travelers. For us, crossing the state was a ride punctuated by strawberry-peach pie & ice cream, otter pops with firemen around a bonfire, and a night in a tipi! And guess what reward awaits when you’re done crossing the Wyoming basin…

 

Categories: Rockies, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Colors Galore

  • Our chains after a snowy day. The Canyon of the Gunnison. Nights above 3000 meters. The endless ribbon of tar crossing the state, our route. Black.
  • Rocks and cliffs in the San Miguel river valley. Beans in chili sauce. Tail lights in the fog. The flower on Fireworks’s handlebar. Our cheeks after a climb. Red.
  • Snow capped peaks over 4000 meters high. Snow and hail falling on 2 bikers attempting to pass over the Dallas Divide. Clouds looming over us, saying “Watch out”. White. (Well… whitish gray).
  • Spruces, pines and budding aspen leaves finally coming out after an 8-month winter. Fireworks. Green.
  • Granola. Dry wintering grass. Log cabins. Wood fences. Elks (were they really?). Brown
  • Our windbreakers. Clear skies on happy days. Water, whether it’s ice cold rivers or hot springs and tubs. Dynamite. Blue.

As we crossed the state border, they said “Welcome to Colorful Colorado”. A land inviting us to paint our own adventures, climb every mountain and ford every stream.

But some of Colorado’s best treats don’t come in colors: downhills, full & happy bellies after a day’s ride, tailwinds, and catching your breath at the summit of a mountain pass.

So ride on.

Categories: Colorado, Rockies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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