Yesterday I wasn’t so impressed by Yellowstone, especially after seeing the other national parks that this country has to offer. This morning I changed my opinion. It was extremely foggy and all the hot springs and mud pots seemed to add to the ominous ambience. Two bison strode out of the mist on the other side of the road and I carefully rode past them. Also spotted a tan-coloured fox with a bung hind leg limping through the grass.
I got to Old Faithful Geyser only to find that it had just gone off and wouldn’t go off for about another seventy minutes. I killed time with a few phone calls and had a coffee. Watched the geyser erupt for a few moments and then limped back to bike. As I got to my bike, I hear someone behind me:
“Now here’s a man who knows how to travel right”.
I turn around and there’s an old man, about eighty years old, hobbling, as badly as I was, with his wife by his side. He took my photo with his new digital camera and offered to send it to my folks (though not by email – he hadn’t worked that one out yet).
He told me how he’d broken his hip twenty years ago. He’d been training for a supported bicycle tour from Missoula, Montana to Alaska via the Cassiar Highway. All of a sudden a dog runs out in front of his bike, colliding with his front tire and causing him to fall onto his side. When he tried to get up he found that he couldn’t move his hip or leg. After getting his hip replaced he decided to restart his training. His first ride was just a painful one mile ride down his street, the second ride was for two. Then he did a five mile ride, eventually after some time, a fifty mile trip; camping out overnight and then riding back the next day. “Sign me back up for that ride” he told them. And he did it. When he got to Alaska he thought he should keep exercising to keep his hip in shape. But after only five miles of riding he would be in agony. Turned out that he’d actually worn out his replacement hip. He’s got a second hip now, and he’s still going.
I took the riding very easy today, with the SPD pedals I was able to do most of the pedal turning with my right leg. When I occasionally had to rise from the saddle, I made my thigh and knee do all the work, rather than using the foot to do any work.