Day 9, July 26th

Start: Columbus, MT

Finish: Cody, WY

Miles: 116

Elevation Gain: 6200'


Skyline Motor Inn

1919 17th Street

Cody, WY 82414


As we ate breakfast in the motel parking lot in Columbus, the skies looked very threatening. I was sure we'd get nice and wet before the morning's end. Our route was primarily south today, and we could see rain showers across the entire horizon looking in this direction.

In the end, we got very lucky. There were times when we rode on rain-soaked roads and other times when you could smell the rain in the air, but we only felt very light sprinkles as we pulled out of the second rest stop and again as we pulled into lunch. Just as we left lunch at the Wyoming border, the sun came out and the temperatures went up.

Yes, we crossed into another state today. After five days of riding through Montana, we're now in Wyoming for a few. It was startling to see the change in terrain, almost right at the border. While the part of Montana that we rode through was green and lush, Wyoming was largely dry with scrub plants.

Today was billed as a day with 3100 ft of elevation gain. Over 115 miles, this is a relatively flat route. But the route sheet we got indicated 6200 ft.  It turned out that today's

ride was much closer to the 6200' than 3100'. The first part of the day was very hilly with lots of rolling hills. The climbs were often just long enough that you couldn't carry your momentum over them and had to shift down to lower gears. I don't think I've ever done so much shifting on a ride.

The scenery in the morning was breathtaking. The overcast skies made the green hillsides look even lusher and made the skies over the nearby mountains more dramatic. But all morning, we watched the rain storms along the horizon and waited to put on our rain jackets. I took more photos today than any day on the trip so far. One of these days, I'll have to come back to this area with all my photography gear

The rusted metal roof on this barn was a dramatic contrast to the lush greenery surrounding it

and do some more serious photography. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy some of the photos I took with my little digital point and shoot.

To go with all the climbing today, we had some great descents - the tandems were able to get up to 60 mph. I reached just over 50 and could have probably

We're now in Wyoming

have gone just a bit faster but I was getting a bit nervous. The ride from the second rest stop to lunch was mostly flat or slightly downhill and was another opportunity to open it up and really fly. I think the only time I was under 25mph during this stretch was at a stop sign intersection.

After lunch, we picked up a bit of a headwind and had a long hard ride along an incredibly straight section of highway to our last rest stop. It seemed to go on forever as there was nothing interesting along the road to differentiate one section from the next. Everyone was checking to see if they had a flat tire or a rubbing brake because progress seemed to go so slow on what appeared to be a flat level rode. In reality, we were gaining a fair amount of elevation.

After the final stop, we had a long gradual climb up another 1000 feet and then a nice descent into Cody. The descent would have been even nicer if we hadn't had a strong headwind limiting our top speed.

Tomorrow is going to be a long tough day. We're doing 150 miles with 7300 feet of elevation gain, and a good chunk of this will be in a single climb up the Bighorn mountains. It's billed as a 4 hour climb over 30 miles. We're going to start the ride tomorrow at 6:00AM to try to give everyone enough time to complete the day, but I'm sure there will be riders that arrive to the motel tomorrow pretty late.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer article I mentioned yesterday did get published. You can read it online here. One error in the article I should mention is that Karl and Anne Marie have known each other for many years.

If you're also following Doug's website, his computer had a problem yesterday and he hasn't been able to make any updates. He's having a new computer shipped to him so he'll be back on line in a couple days.

The rain storms on the horizon looked awfully threatening A typical ranch along our route Karl and Andrew

We had a great vista on the climb right before our first rest stop You can get an idea of the rolling hills in this shot Cameron, Daniel, Phil and Bena in a paceline
The varying shades of green on the hillsides was quite dramatic I had to stop to photograph these wildflowers Mike and Nancy on a tandem
More pretty scenery One of many nice descents today A teepee in the backyard was a common site today
I thought this ranch looked pretty Wouldn't you love to live in such beautiful surroundings? As we entered Wyoming, the vegetation became a little browner, but the scenery no less dramatic
This long straight highway after lunch seemed to go on forever - Daniel, Bena, Phil and Walt Cowboys in action I cracked the rim of my rear wheel - I'm using a spare until my replacement wheel arrives from home