LW ITT Update: Wamsutter, WY

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Pink dot gains a few hours after her meds kick in, but yellow dot kicks back and races to the border.  Thanks again to GW Neal for his digital artistry.  GW is a friend through the bike community in Anchorage, and the sole employee at Fatbikes.com, which is responsible for 9zero7 fatbike sales over the internet.  GW recently underwent a kidney transplant.  This week, he is cranking out a solo bike tour in Maine to coincide with a friend’s wedding.  GW is a huge inspiration to both Lael and I, and to the Anchorage bike community.  

Lael called in from Wamsutter, reporting light rain.  She rode quickly from Pinedale to Atlantic City.  She recorded one of the fastest times of any rider on that section earlier in the summer as she had wasted two hours at the outdoor store in Pinefale updating her GPX track to include the Wamsutter reroute.  Following a quick stop in Atlantic City yesterday she continued to fight headwinds from the south through the late afternoon and evening, camping early, well before midnight.  She rose early to take advantage of the still, morning air.

Compared to the times of this year’s Tour Divide race, Lael is pacing between the fastest male finishers and the pink dot version of herself, the energetic wheezing version.  She lost almost a half day in the mud before Lima, which is a quantifiable setback but also greatly reduced her excitement as she had been pressing close to record pace until then.  Another few days of lingering rain hasn’t helped morale, although roads have been passable.  This morning, she sounded good and was looking forward to sunny skies in CO and NM.  She was looking forward to finishing.

I haven’t told her yet, but cheap flights to Tucson might enable me to meet her at the border next weekend.  It would be a little out of character, but I would rent a car to meet her, spend a day or two in Silver City with friends, then we’d both fly back to AK before leaving a little later in the season.  I am obligated to work for a few more weeks.  I have never owner a car or rented a car, although I did drive for a few years in high school.  Lael only has a driver’s license so that she could legally operate a pedicab in Key West, FL back in 2008.  Don’t ever let her drive your car– not that she will want to– she’s a terrible driver. 

Hoping for clear skies and dry roads through CO and NM.  

Follow the yellow LW bubble on the Tour Divide 2015 Trackleaders page.

15 thoughts on “LW ITT Update: Wamsutter, WY

  1. This year’s Grand Depart TD was a distinctly aberrant and magical event given its absence of snow, cold, rain, and mud and therefore renders this year’s phenomenal results a little suspect. A repeat of such conditions is unlikely for many years. What Lael is doing this iteration has much more meaning as she’s challenging the “real” Divide. What’s she’s doing now goes down in the pantheon of GREAT TD’s, maybe even the greatest if she pulls back even more time, much like Jefe Branham’s ride in last year’s conditions may be one of the greatest ever. If you factor in the competitive vacuum that an ITT is, Lael is doing a superhuman ride. Again. Gender neutral.

  2. I don’t know you gypsy man and I don’t know Lael but what I do know is that I love to follow your blog but mostly how you share your stories… Y’all must rock the planet. If you’re ever in the Ozarks you have a free enchanted farm to call home for the night with real farm animals, real people and a real meal, take care out there…

  3. It’s so awesome that you might be able to surprise her at the finish. She will need all the hugs and love you can give. I recently re-read Mary G’s (from DC) post and interview with you…you and Lael have such a great bond/history…it’s so enjoyable to read the blogs. I wish Lael blogged more, but you do a great job filling us in…more to come only keeps me looking forward to my breaks at work so I can get updates. I am biding my time until I can quit working and hit the big wide open…

    • I can get Lael to ride more, but not blog more. She enjoys writing, and writes daily on paper and reads a lot more than me, but by the time her words hit the screen she decides it isn’t good enough and doesn’t publish it. I have an entire narrative of the TD that I’ve begun to transcribe which she wrote on the ferry down to Bellingham. I’ll see if I can get that out there in the next few weeks– it is rich!

      • Sounds awesome! I keep a meticulous log of my bike trips but just don’t have time to put it out there. I understand exactly how she feels! I love reading great literature but could never satisfy myself with my writing. I look forward to reading more. Thanks for the update! Go, Lael, Go!

          • Cool. Two of my faves. I love short stories. I spent a year doing a southern literary bike tour back in the 90’s . I should write about it some day. I would love to do one of western US. It would be a blast. I don’t go in for foofy lit… McCarthy’s ‘Blood Meridian’ still haunts me. Right now I am reading ‘Desert Solitaire’ by Edward Abbey. Don’t know what took me so long to read it. Yes, another lit bike tour is in order! Oregon alone could fill several months of it. Later, Jo

          • Lael and I found a great little used book store in Flagstaff. We both wished we could re-read Desert Solitaire at that exact moment. Not that we couldn’t, but you can only experience such feelings once, I think. And I’ll never fall in love with Van Morrison’s “Moondance” album or Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” album for the first time again. But when I hear “Come Running” or “And It Stoned Me” on the radio, I might be wrong.

          • I love finding good books in great tiny stores. I found a 1st edition of ‘Call of The Wild’ in an obscure little back alley antique store in SF for only $50 back in 2009. I treasure it! If you two like short stories, I highly recommend Raymond Carver. Also, for western stories, Thomas McGuane and especially Rick Bass. He has a writing cabin in the Yaak Valley in MT. McGuane also lives in MT. I am nowcre-reading ‘The Meadow’ by James Galvin, set on the CO/WY border. It’s a sublime story. Pick up a copy if you see one. Have a great weekend! Jo

  4. Cyclists everywhere will forgive you your sins of driving if you opt that route, worry not. What a great summer of bike racing this is turning out to be for fans and riders alike.

      • I laughed a little at how guilty you seem to feel about renting the car. If you winter in Austin, I really look forward to observing your car-free lifestyle. Generally Texas is more car-centric than other places in America, in my opinion. Austin has a little bit more awareness, infrastructure as well as a larger active cycling population than other Texas cities. You’ve already proven that you can ride bikes safely just about anywhere, so I’m not threatening you or worried for you. I just look forward to seeing the state that I grew up in through new eyes. I have been in Austin for the past year and a half and in the metro area for longer. Assuming I’m still living in the area, I’d love to ride or play with you guys once you’re around.

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