I had just crossed the Tetons at Jackson Hole and the continental divide the following day; I was ready for a good night's rest in Dubois, Wyoming. I was part way across America on a solo ride back to my home in south Florida. This particular morning was one of those rides where everything came together and made you feel like you never wanted it to end. The long, mild descent, the gorgeous red rock vistas, perfect temperature, and a super smooth, wide shoulder to ride on made me feel like I had wings.
About noon I was riding in my aero bars, only looking up often enough to see what was ahead (which was usually nothing but more perfect conditions), when I hit something that threw me over the handlebars and tacoed my front wheel. An Indian woman had stepped up on to the shoulder of the road, coming from her small home set back off the highway, waiting for her ride. I was silent in my pedaling and she had neither seen nor heard my approach. I left a perfect impression of my front tire on the side of her lower leg, but she was a large woman and never went down.
As I gathered my equipment and assessed the damage, I apologized to her, to which she remained silent and stoic, arms folded, waiting for her ride. If this wasn't all weird enough, within one minute, the only vehicle to pass in quite awhile was a pickup from a utility company which stopped to help and gave me a ride into Riverton. Riverton is the only town of any size in that part of the state and has one sporting good store that sells a few mountain bikes and alot of boots and sweatshirts.
I was dropped off with my damaged bike at the store and was told by the teen behind the counter that there was someone that might be able to help me, working in the back room. A long haired, pony-tailed guy in a work apron came to the front to check the bike out. He said he was a roadie that was doing time wrenching in mountain bike country, having left south Florida a few years before. He knew what he was doing and soon had a new wheel on the bike, having checked everything out for possible problems from the crash. It had been one hour since the accident and I was back on the road! I was even a little further down the road than if I had pedaled it. Unbelievable! By the way, I was left with only a small scuff on my wrist and a flat spot on my helmet from the fall. I kept the Samaritan mechanic posted on the remainder of my trip, which he would have wanted to ride himself if circumstance had permitted it.
I completed my transcontinetal in a few more weeks, averaging 132 miles a day. I camped 2 nights then got a motel the third and so on. It was a great trip with many other memorable moments. Maybe another story for another day.
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