If you’re not already familiar with The Ultra Life, you will be after reading this. Eight weeks ago, Richelle and Shane packed up their lives in Melbourne and embarked on their biggest adventure yet – riding their bikes from Canada to Mexico and maybe even beyond with their ultimate goal being to reach Patagonia. They’re now exactly half way across the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route having reached Wyoming, and have taken some time out of their busy schedule to give us an update.
By Richelle Olsen, The Ultra Life
Well tomorrow marks 8 weeks since we started our ride in Whistler, but more importantly, as we depart Pinedale, Wyoming, it marks exactly halfway through the Great Dividing MTB Route! Holy crap, I can’t believe we have made it this far!
Since we last checked in, we have left the beautiful Montana, spent a couple of days in Idaho, and are now deep in the cowboy heartland of Wyoming. There’s been a ton of ups, and a few downs.
Every corner we turn continues to show us how amazing the landscapes are here, snow capped mountains, mountains that look like icebergs, crystal clear lakes, rock formations that look like they are from Mars and skies filled with a zillion stars.
The people we are riding with…we are now riding everyday with Chris from Montana, a 66yo bundle of energy who is keeping Shane on his toes, and he’s great company! Then on and off we are riding with the three English, Sam, Claire and Andy. Then there’s the crazy kiwis, Sammy and Josh, and the English nutter Joe….every now and then others wizz by, Wolt, JD and Sanjay, all much faster than us, but keep showing up somehow.
Instant mash potato with a tin of chili…dinner most nights yum!
Random restaurants in the wilderness….marked with nothing more than a knife and fork on the map…we are obsessed with the knife and fork, and it’s the end of the world to find they are closed!
Sunny days…see below for the downs, but man we are loving the sunny days!
Camping in the middle of nowhere, and being buzzed at sunset by a pair of low flying USAF fighter jets what a buzz!
Moose! We saw 2 young moose! Shane also made friends with a bear! Finally! I still haven’t seen one, gutted!
The downs (from Richelle’s point of view!):
Torrential rain, muddy dirt roads and freezing temps from Upper Red Rock Lake to Island Park. I cracked it big time that day I was so wet and miserable. Luckily we waited out the rain for 2 days in a wonderful warm apartment!
The freezing nights. We have been so blessed these last four days or so with spectacular warm sunny days…but it means spectacularly freezing nights, with the tent covered in ice inside and out each morning! I have a great -4 degree C sleeping bag, but I’m still cold at night, even wearing my whole wardrobe to bed! I think I’m getting used to it, but I can’t wait for our special delivery of winter weight ioMerino gear when we hit Colorado in a few weeks!
Climbing, climbing and climbing some more, nearly 3,000m in the past 2 days, I think the kms are finally catching up, my little legs managed an average of 3.4km per hr on the last 7km climb. (With a number of midway meltdowns…why am I doing this again?!) I did consider today taking a week off and meeting Shane in Colorado (and miss the Great Basin), but I’m sucking it up and keeping at it…I’m not allowed to whinge that I’m tired/cold/dead, and Shane’s not allowed to whinge about me being too slow….wish us luck!
Tomorrow we leave Pinedale and begin our trek toward the Great Basin, pulling some big kms each day to ensure we get to a water source each day. It will be flat but long as we head south to Colorado!