Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Friday, August 23, 2013

Great Falls to Lincoln, Montana Aug 15

76 miles in 7:35. The three elements that crush bicyclists combined to hit me in waves today, and as I have said before, when all three are present on the same day.....beware. The three elements are headwind, heat, and increasing elevation.  I got whacked by all three today, for the first time since the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. ( if you remember, I cramped up while still in my pedal clips and bonked three miles from my destination. Pam had to come and get me). Today was hot and sunny all day. The high got to 93. That's the first ingredient to disaster. The headwind kicked up as the day went on, to a crescendo of 25-30 mph gusts during the heat of the day. Including rollers and one major mountain pass, I climbed over 4300 ft today. I'll tell you how it ended in a minute.
The day started at about 9 am, with the hunt for a frontage road so I didn't have to ride on I -15.  Montana 200, which I was seeking, runs on the interstate for about 10 miles, and there was construction to make things worse. I found the frontage road just fine, turned onto  Montana 200, and rode through Montana grasslands and cattle ranches to the town of Simms. That was about 32 miles, the weather was still in the 70's, the land was flat, and the wind was calm. I stopped at the store in town and had a Gatorade and an ice cream bar, because the sign said no more food stores for 55 miles, which would be in Lincoln, my destination. When I left Simms, the grasslands began an incessant rolling, two miles up, one mile down, two miles up, one mile down, on and on for another 30 miles. The heat was cranking up and the headwind was beginning to build during this segment, but I was okay. My legs and my brain were slowly getting tenderized as the day went however. The road was great, with areas of wide shoulders, and areas of just sufficient shoulder. Traffic wasn't bad, but there are some Montanans who just don't like bikes on their roads. Since I've been here, even with Buddy, we have had a larger number of horn honkers and finger flippers than anywhere else in the nation. Still, not many, but just more, considering the light traffic and long sight distances that prevail here. I think these cowboys just aren't used to seeing bikes, and none of them have ever ridden one anywhere but in their driveway. They all probably grew up riding  ATVs and horses. Plus my tight biking shorts are not in vogue here.
 The third ingredient was Rogers Pass. It was a long, gradual climb from 4400 feet to 5600 feet. In the heat, with the headwind, and my tenderized quads, it was way more of an effort than it should have been. When I finally summited, and started down the other side, I had to pedal down hills that I should have been flying down, because of the wind. I was working along, wondering when I was going to start  cramping, when Pam came by in the jeep, twelve miles from my destination. Feeling like it was all going to go downhill for me real fast if I tried to ride another twelve miles, I got in the jeep. I am permanently warned and psychologically damaged by that previous cramping incident. Some might say I'm older and wiser. The day ended with no cramps, no disasters, and hopefully I have another 76 in me tomorrow, because that's how far it is to Missoula, our next scheduled stop. There may be a record high tomorrow, and the wind will kick up in the afternoon again, but no ascents. Drink. Drink. Drink. Another side note regarding the wind in this area. I read a roadside plaque speaking about the notorious winds here, always west to east ( which is why 95% of bikers ride that way, but not me). Supposedly hawks, eagles, and all the birds who migrate from the Rockies, use the wind currents in this area to ride east and south because they can float for hundreds of miles effortlessly. The plaque said that there are days in the fall when you can count hundreds of hawks a day, way up in the sky. Then there is me, always leaning into that headwind, because I can...
Pam fed me spaghetti and we spent some time walking around Lincoln, watching the deer in everyone's yard in the evening. She even put her petunias and other plants in the jeep because the deer in our little campground were looking like they were in a petunia kind of mood.

Some guy had this series of signs on his property....



Remember, Montana does have a large population of militia......

This was another of his signs...

And this was at a different place.....these people just aren't right!!!

Now this is a good sign!


And this was just a brutal place to get to!

No comment needed!  We are not spending a winter here!

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