Day 11, July 28th

Start: Sheridan, WY

Finish: Gillette, WY

Miles: 114

Elevation Gain: 4400'


Best Value Inn

608 East 2nd Street

Gillette, WY 82716


Click on an image to see a larger view

Today was a fast day. I set a new personal best speed for a century long ride - more on this in a bit.

We came out for breakfast this morning with the roads still wet from the overnight thunderstorms. Fortunately, that's the only sign of rain we saw today. The air was fairly still and the temperatures in the low 60's as we rolled out shortly after 7:00AM.

The hillsides were dotted with ranches

I was trying my new aerobars for the first time so I decided to ride by myself today. Aerobars allow you to ride in a tuck position with your forearms resting on pads and your hands holding extension bars that stick out in front of your normal handlebars. This position doesn't give you as much steering control as a normal handlebar, but takes the weight off your hands (the main reason I wanted them) and gets you into a more aerodynamic position (hence the name).

I accelerated out in front of the group and after about an hour I started to feel pretty comfortable using the aerobars even at higher speeds on the descents. As you

We stopped next to the Spotted Horse for our lunch stop

can see from the photos, the scenery was quite pleasant and the terrain was rolling. No killer climbs today - just lots of small ups and downs. The elevation in Gillette is a little higher than Sheridan so we didn't have the advantage of loosing elevation, but we did have a very nice tailwind during the second half of the ride.

I got to the lunch stop about 10 minutes before they were ready to start serving, and by the time food was ready several other people were pulling in. The last 40 miles after lunch into Gillette were a blast - with a healthy tailwind it was easy to maintain a pace in the high 20's and even ride up the hills at 18-20mph.

I arrived at the motel at 1:35PM, only about 10-15 minutes after the luggage van had arrived. This is the first time I've been first to the motel. I was really happy with the way the aerobars worked, particularly on this kind of terrain. My ride pace was 21.8 mph, bettering my previous best of 20mph for a century length ride by a considerable margin - it's amazing what a good tailwind can do.

My replacement wheel from home came, so I got that installed with a fresh tire and the correct cassette. And I got my cellphone back - I had left it at a restaurant somewhere near the beginning of the trip. The restaurant was nice enough to mail it home and my wife Diana included it in the package with the wheel.

I also had time this afternoon to catch up on my laundry and get a one hour massage. I also added six more photos of the scenery to yesterday's report. I put them all at the bottom of the page so it would be easier to tell which ones are new.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day - 160 miles with a lot of climbing. We're also going to go by Mt. Rushmore so we'll probably spend a little time there. So don't count on too long a report tomorrow :-).

One of many ranches along our route today Many of the fields were being watered to grow hay The roads were all but deserted today

Still more wildflowers The Shady Lane Ranch You can get a sense for the rolling terrain in this shot

Cows grazing in the pasture along the roadside Lunch stop - that's Rich from NY with his eyes closed Susan cooked up burgers for us today

Another scene from the roadside When we get to the motel, our room assignments are printed on this board Lon updates the map with our progress and writes important info on the white board - breakfast time, laundry facilities, good restaurants in the area, etc.