Friday, July 24, 2009
Spent the morning on pavement/gravel flats. Stopped at a lodge for lunch(at 5). They were in between lunch and dinner, but cooked us lunch anyway. That was the start of people being generous to use. Climbed up Richmond peak. Nice and long, rode with Trevor.
Had to dismount and walk through the snow. On our right was snow and on the left we were barely on the trail. We could ride every now and then, but bashed our shins with small trees. Per even jammed a tree between his crank and frame! The downhill was bad ass. Little jumps the whole way on nice single track. Began the descent as it was getting dark. I of course, was first to the smooth road. I ditched my bag, put on my jacket, and wired up my lights. Another fast descent on a smooth(for once) fire road. I stopped at an intersection and waited. While I stood there I jingled my bear bell. I didn't know if bears were attracted to light or not so I turned them off. Per caught up with me and said that Jacob had a flat(first of many).
We all road into Seely Lake at midnight. Skipped the hotel and made a b line for the bar. Another awesome person, made roast beef for Jacob and Trevor. The best they ever had they said. Per and I carried some heavy food so we ate what we had. Woke up the night attendant at the hotel and passed out.
Caught up with Per and Trevor. They camped out and got wet. Per stayed in a Montana Hilton; a privy. Trevor pitched his tent. After riding with them for a few miles we all noticed a nice big pavilion at another campground. Opportunity missed. Nice big climb, felt very good. Another awesome downhill. They turned out to be my specialty. Free momentum, why not? Got worse with our first encounter of snow. Very annoying to walk and slip down in snow and push a bike. Stopped in Whitefish and ate way too much pizza. Burned my lips too. Stocked up in Columbia Falls and had a very uncomfortable ride to Tom's house. Riding on a full stomach is not fun. Tom was an old road biker, very nice guy. Even made his own bikes for his sons who were national racers at one point. He let the four of us stay in his barn.
Jacob on the left and Per on the right
Later start than the previous day. Jacob ditched his aero bars and setup his gear between his handlebars and saddle. That would last him the rest of the trip. Long Long very hard climb followed by the new single track, which was barely a hiking trail. Unique none the less. The hike-a-bike section was the pits! Something I would expect on a jungle trip. Damn near vertical climb, with no switch-backs, and the icing on the cake; it was went/muddy. After that our new queue sheets said we would crest a climb and descent to highway 93. It did not say how long. We assumed it was short, but that couldn't have been further from the truth. My cyclometer was on the fritz so I don't know how many miles I did that day.
A very tired Jacob
After the climb was a long and windy downhill. I loved it! I think I did 43 or 45mph. But I damn near ended my race when I went around a corner too fast and flew straight over a ditch into a field with stumps and downed trees. No damage though. Plus Jacob caught up and was befuddled to see me climbing up hill! Flew into the border. I couldn't have been happier to see the welcome to the US sign.
The guard power tripped on us because we ignored the stop sign and rode right up to his booth. Had lunch and bought dinner. As we were leaving a storm was rolling in, but we continued on to the grocery store and further down the road. But once we saw more lightening and a nice face full of wind, we decided to call it a day and stay in a hotel. I'm not sure how many miles we did, I'm estimating 71. Kinda disappointed about doing a short day, but happy to be dry.
Left earlyish, but not as early as I would have preferred. Made it to Elkford for 2nd breakfast. I was soaked from sweat, which would bother me for the whole trip. I was freezing from the descent. The local diner/gas station was amazing though. Very nice people asking about the race and wishing us luck. They had a space heater too! The server gave us a free brownie for the road. Nice long climb out of town and another 30 miles to the next town. Stopped in Sparwood to resupply. Rode a very hard 54 miles with a headwind, to stay at another cabin. It was full with Trevor, Per, and the Italians, but there was another cabin with a mosquito free porch. I slept there for the night and Jacob pitched his tent.
Not bad for the second day.
Woke up and had a nice breakfast. Sat around and waited for the start. Met more folks and checked out different gear. Started off nice and easy. Rode with Cricket, who thru-hiked the AT in '96. That is her real name. I was worried about getting hypothermia in my bivy, but she reassured me that I would be fine. Met Eric from Washington; a programmer. Caught up with Trevor but was barely with in eyeshot of him. Saw 3 rams, a moose and a grizzly. I was coming up a hill and saw some bikers point at me. "why?" I thought. I turned around and saw bear ass heading into the woods. Parked at the visitors center at the top and saw the bear again. Cought up with Jacob and road to a quick stop. Saw Trevor again, and the Italians. Couple of serious climbs and awesome downhills; then Jacob's rack broke. I figured it would break, but not so soon. The downhills were very bad though. He managed to lash everything to his handlebars for a day or two. Eventually he found a system that worked quite well. We decided to stop at the Cabin.
Can you blame me?
It looked like rain, and I didn't want to push too hard on the first day. I had enough energy to make a fire, so it was nice and cozy(very hot on the top bunk). Two more guys showed up, I forget their names, one from Flagstaff, and the other from Lexington KY. Honestly I though someone would have been there before us.
I'll post a few images that are relevant to the story; for the rest see my flickr page on the right.