When we began planning our 2021 Midsommar Retreat, turning a corner on the pandemic seemed far away, and where we might be able to travel to still seemed unknown. So we decided to return to The Bighorns again because we knew we could stay ‘covid’ safe, we knew the gravel biking would be fantastic, and we knew we could unwind in a beautiful setting. We were definitely once again not disappointed.
Not much changed in the last year as far as our Scouting Notes go, except:
- We were truly able to relax!
- I was in much better shape
First, some of the relaxing…
Because we were both fully vaccinated on this trip, and we knew more about covid ~ the ability to truly relax was such a relief. After a year of so much stress and so many concerns, sitting in the camper one day truly relaxing ~ it dawned on me how great it felt to actually, truly relax. [I read the ENTIRE book "Pachinko' on this trip, a significant feat of relaxation for me (I am a horribly slow reader).]. For that we were thankful.
Second, about being in better shape…
Since October 2020 I have been virtually working out with a new group of people, and with a new place ~ The Fix Studio. I knew well before the pandemic that I wanted to change up my ‘gym’ routine, ride with people who were more serious about cycling, and up my fitness game so that I could have better endurance for these very days ~ gravel riding on vacation. Making this change has been worth it for all these reasons, and more. Not only was I able to ride further on this trip, I felt like I was in much better shape than a year ago (probably also due to a reduced pandemic stress), and I have made some good friends who I hope to eventually see in person more and more.
So about that riding…
We did the same routes as last year, and did 3 good days of riding (our favorite route twice). But, we took what we learned in 2020 and changed things up a bit.
- Instead of going up the steady climb on the first day, we moved this ride to day 2.
- When you do go for that ride on day 2, if you don’t hear the ‘bear’ (or whatever it is we heard last year), you will discover a historic village of what must have been a logger camp of log cabins, and it will be a fun stop instead of your heart racing about that ‘bear’.
- Doing our favorite route on day one and taking it slow is a good idea. And we now know that our favorite route involves a first mile that takes the air out of our lungs and leaves us gasping, especially after being in the car for a few days. That’s called acclimating to altitude (around 8,000 ft) and getting your bike legs back in the game. It’s OK to stop; after you get past that first mile things will feel better and you WILL catch your breath.
- Your favorite route is even better when you go further! This year we kept going up the climb, past the 9,000 ft mark to find that it levels out and there is a VIEW.
- You don’t get here alone - ALL those indoor virtual cycling rides PAY OFF. BIG TIME.
Hej! Public Restrooms are an option this year!
At the Splash Dam again, but in two days we will go FURTHER!
up, up, up!
Same turn around spot at the top this year, but on the way down...
Stumbling across No Bear sounds, instead, a historic site.
This view, we knew it was up there somewhere!
All of these routes are saved on Strava and public. Click on each route image to be linked.
If you didn’t want to read all that, here is basically a summary of our scouting notes...
We encourage you to go back to our 2020 Scouting Notes for more detail (here).