Sunshine, temperatures in the low 80s and lots of green prairie. That sounds pretty pleasant after a week of harsh winter weather. While this nippy weather is here to stay for a while yet, now is the time to plan ahead to when the flowers are blooming and daily attire includes shorts and t-shirts.
While the 2020 Tour de Wyoming is held in July, now is the time to register. The bicycle tour is limited to 300 riders, but more than that hope to participate. Actual riders are randomly selected from those entered in the drawing. Registration for the drawing is open now, and goes to the end of February. After that, the wheel spins and the lucky winners are announced by early March.
Now in its 24th year, the Tour de Wyoming has shown off the state via the seat of a bicycle since 1997. This is the first year, though, where the route circumnavigates one of Wyoming’s true scenic jewels: Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
The 2020 event begins in Rock Springs where cyclists and volunteers gather on July 11 and then head south the next day. For Day 1, riders pedal 72 miles and, in the process, cross into Utah to spend the night at Flaming Gorge Resort, along the banks of this popular reservoir in Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.
The next day riders keep their tents pitched at the resort, but head out for a 55-mile ride that forms a lollipop-route. First cyclists cruise along the shore of the reservoir before turning onto the breathtakingly beautiful Sheep Creek Geologic Loop. With rocky spires and scenic views of Utah and Wyoming, the route descends to Sheep Creek before climbing back up and returning to the resort for the night.
On Day 3, cyclists pedal along the reservoir one last time before heading west and returning to Wyoming. The rolling terrain continues to the town of Mountain View where the riders spend the night at the local high school.
Day 4 is relatively short, covering just 43 miles, through rolling sagebrush prairie and then north along Oyster Ridge. The tour ends the day at the local high school in Kemmerer.
Day 5 is another long one that bisects wildlife migration corridors across the Green River Basin. It also parallels the Oregon Trail with vast views of open sagebrush seas. The final night is in the town of Farson. The community is stepping up to lend a hand as the town swells to more than double its size for the night.
Day 6 is a nearly straight shot south for 43 miles. The route passes through the town of Eden and then offers views of Boar’s Tusk in the distance as cyclists return to Rock Spring once again.
Total distance for the six days is 370 miles with half the week in the area of Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the reminder in the Bear and Green River Valleys.
For anyone who doesn’t feel lucky about winning the drawing, the way to guarantee a slot is to coax a friend or spouse to volunteer for the week. Currently most of the volunteer slots are taken but volunteers are needed to drive water supply vehicles and to help out at the many rest stops provided along each day’s route. Volunteers have free entry, free meals and a free souvenir and t-shirt. They are also likely to receive multitudes of thanks every day.
The Tour de Wyoming is a fully-supported bicycle tour; it is not a race. Riders take off each morning between 6 and 8 a.m. and continue at their own pace. They enjoy rest stops every 15 to 20 miles with food, drink, and toilet facilities.
The $250 entry fee covers rest stops, luggage transport so riders can travel light and road support, called SAGs, where riders can get a lift if needed. Optional meal plans are available with breakfast and dinner provided by local caterers or community organizations.
A bicycle mechanic is available in the evenings for those needing repairs and there’s even the opportunity for a massage from a small team of certified massage therapists headed by Laramie’s Kathy Milks of Dynamic Endeavors.
Information and a link to the registration site are on the Tour de Wyoming website (http://www.tourdewyoming.org). To volunteer for the week, send an email to the Tour Director (firstname.lastname@example.org).