Ride, Eat, Sleep, Repeat.

Today, Labour Day, was our 15th day of cycling.  We are in Gillette, Wyoming as I write.  While each day has its own moments, there certainly are patterns.

Alarm:  I wake up to Papa Was A Rolling Stone, usually at 5:40.  This gives me time to make it to breakfast.  But first, bring my suitcase to the van outside the hotel

Breakfast:  almost every day, breakfast is a buffet in the hotel/motel where we stay.  Usually enough scrambled eggs and potatoes and toast to fill the belly if not satisfy it.  Sometimes we walk a block or 2 and order off the menu in a diner - with better eggs and potatoes and toast. 

Start:  the notion is we start at 7:00.  Some of the keeners leave earlier.  For me, making 7:00 is usually a push.  You have to place your day bag in one of the support vans, pump up your tires, fill your water bottles, ...

Latte:  my desire is to ride only as far as the first decent latte shop.  Not always easy to find and not always easy to organize.  Today we left from Sheridan, Wyoming. Last night I walked 8 blocks up Main Street Sheridan and found Java Moon, which opens at 6:30.  This morning, I had a group of about 10 with me on the way there.  Bitter disappointment to find it closed.  Damn Labour Day holiday.

Undaunted, we rode on and found a road side kiosk with signs that read "espresso" and "open". But they lied.  Damn Labour Day.  A few blocks on, we came to a Starbucks - but I have standards, and rode on.  Maybe tomorrow the Latte Gods will shine upon us.

Cycling:  the last several days have been full days.  Long distances or tough climbing or fierce headwinds - making for many hours of riding.  Almost 7 as an average for the last 6 days.  We ride in groups (other than the big climb of Big Horn Pass yesterday, when everyone slogged it out for hours on their own at their own pace).

Riding with others lets us rotate and take turns being at the front breaking the wind.  The groups ebb and flow a bit with various stops, mechanical issues, hills, etc.  But it works and rarely am I alone.

Support:  there are 4 guides with us and 2 support vehicles.  Each day2 guides cycle with us and 2 drive support.  We typically have 2 stops both before and after lunch.  At these, there is water, bananas, snacks, energy bars, etc.  These stops, as well as lunch, are generally just off the side of the road, though sometimes at a park or other amenity by the road.  2 of the guides are good bike mechanics and are always helping should tweaking be necessary.

Lunch:  almost always a "picnic".  Each evening one of the young guides shops for groceries for the next day's lunch and they each take pride in presenting a nice selection.  

Food consumption:  I am astounded at how much I am eating.  I stuff myself at breakfast, eat a sandwich or a banana at the morning stops, eat a big lunch and usually make a sandwich at lunch to carry for one of the later stops.  Plus handfuls of fig newtons, M&Ms, etc.

We finish each afternoon at that night's hotel by having a couple of beers and infinite quantities of munchies.  Then dinner at 6, either a buffet where it is possible to super-over eat or at a restaurant which serves true American sized portions.  Sometimes then a walk for a milkshake or cookies before bed.

The time between post-ride snack and dinner and the time between after-dinner eating and sleep is taken up with sorting out cycle gear for the next day, re-charging bike computers and phone and iPad, phoning home, answering and writing emails, etc.  I fall asleep working on a crossword puzzle - the same one can last days.

Then we start over:  Ride, Eat, Sleep, Repeat.




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