Day 20 Fort Collins CO to Cheyenne WY
I stayed in Fort Collins for three nights with Al and Jane, bicyclists I met last year. I got to visit with two other friends who live in the area, visit the Fort Collins museum - they have a neat 100 years of bicycling in Fort Collins exibit - and generally have a good time. Fort Collins is a great place for bicycling and a good place to visit. I needed some R+R for me and my bike and Al has a great bike workshop, so I was able to improve the roundness of my front wheel and repair my bike computer which had a broken wire.
Al and I left this morning about 8:30 planning to ride together first to Wellington for a second breakfast and then on to Nunn where I would head north on US 85 and Al would head south to make a loop back to Fort Collins. It was a cool cloudy morning unlike the sunny clear weather we had been having, but the forecast wasn't bad. There was moderate wind from the south - southeast.
Our ride didn't work out quite the way we expected. Al was riding an almost new bike that had just had its rims replaced by a Fort Collins bike shop. About 10 miles into our ride, Al's rear tire went flat. We were able to find the flat by listening to escaping air. The hole was on the inside of the tube. I repaired it, but we almost immediately had another flat. This time we removed the tire and took out the tube. Oh-Oh, there were lots of cuts in the tube from the spoke holes in the rim - it had a bad rim strip which is one of the things I don't carry while touring (Jim, I should have taken that Velox strip with me..). The tube ended up with six patches and I hope Al made it home without needing to use the last patch in his patch kit. The store had put the cheap rubber rim strip (the bike is a Bianchi) from the original rim and put it on the new rim, but the new rim needed a wider rim strip and the narrow one had slid over to the side in some places exposing the tube to the sharp edges of the spoke holes. We were close to Wellington when all this happened so Al rode with me to Wellington and then headed home. Not a great start to the ride, but we did get to Wellington in time to have good breakfast together. It took us two hours, instead of one, but breakfast was served till 11 AM.
When we left Wellington it was nearly noon. I headed north briefly on the I-25 frontage road (Al headed south on the frontage road on the other side) and then turned east on Nunn Road. This starts as a good dirt road, but changes to a paved road at the county line in maybe two miles. It was a great ten miles of bicycling. Cool, with a cross wind, but beautiful prairie with a car or truck every ten minutes or so. The road climbed for the first few miles, then was on a plateau for several miles before descending a few miles from Nunn. It was still cloudy, but clearing and I knew that cross wind would become a tail wind when I got to Nunn and turned north on US 85. I really enjoyed that part of todays ride.
I had ridden Us 85 north to Cheyenne last summer, so I knew it was good riding. I also knew that there was a restaurant at Rockport, about fourteen mile north of Nunn, so I didn't stop in Nunn. There is a bridge over train tracks (no train this year) and a lot of gently rolling hills between Nunn and Rockport. There were also beautiful field of sunflowers mixed with grasses. Traffic was light and not problem, although there are a few bridges with no shoulders. Good riding, but not as peaceful as Nunn Rd.
The Rockport restaurant is closed on Sunday and Monday and this ride was on a Sunday. Ah well, I still stopped and has a snack sitting in the shade. There is no shade, or much of anything else taller than grass, on US 85 and by this time it was quite sunny. Shortly before Rockport I noticed what appeared to be a large windfarm on the northern horizon. It was at least thirty machine and they were huge. I first saw these machines about ten miles from the Wyoming border. When I finally reached them I was in Wyoming. I'm impressed - I'd guess those thirty six machines could produce at least twenty megawatts of wind generated electricity. That wind farm wasn't there last year. There are three groups of twelve machines, each group arranged in a line and the lines looked to be roughly SE - NE, SE-S - NE-N, and N - S.
Just beyond Rockport there is a really neat rock formation off to the east. I guess it is part of the rock formations that extend east through the Pawnee Grasslands. As US 85 approaches Wyoming, it climbs a lot - Cheyenne is in a valley, yet it is over 1000 feet higher than Fort Collins. This climb was a bit hot since the tail wind and my climbing speed were similar. After you get into Wyoming you reach a plateau ride on it for while, and then descend into Cheyenne. It is nice descent, but Cheyenne, despite being a city of 50000 people, isn't very exciting. If you like trains you may enjoy Cheyenne - lots of train tracks and trains go through here. I got to my motel, on the western edge of Cheyenne about 4 PM. Tomorrow I ride north and a little bit north east on US 85. Right now the wind in Cheyenne is from the south at 15 to 20 mph. I'll have a fast ride tomorrow if that keeps up!