I forgot to mention something in yesterday’s post. I met a family from Spain. Ding! Another country added to Don’s United Nations. That makes France, Germany, Israel, Scotland and now Spain. They are pulling their 3 or 4 year old in a trailer. Yikes!
I have had a couple short days in a row and wanted to lay down some miles today. My plan was to leave Dillon early and make it past Ennis, MT. That alone is a 71.5 mile ride but I had ambitions for 80, 90 maybe 100. I was on the road by 6:45 AM, good start. From Dillion to Twin Bridges was downhill to flat. By the time I got to Twin Bridges I had logged close to 30 miles in two hours. I made a turn to the east toward Sheridan and that is when the proverbial “_____ hit the fan”. Headwind coming out of Sheridan. I went from averaging 15 miles and hour to about 8. Before noon I had hit a headwind, crosswind and tailwind. So my great start is starting to lose it’s greatness.
I stopped in Alder to refresh my water bottles and get a Gatorade. Right when I was gettting ready to mount my bike a Pepsi guy approaches me, lol. For those of you who read the Day 3 blog post you will know about the Pepsi guy. It was funny. This Pepsi guy says, I saw you coming out of Dillion this morning and past you 2 times after that. These Pepsi guys are slow, lol. He was driving an unmarked Pepsi truck so that is why I had not noticed. He didn’t think he’d see me again. I got a kick out of that and got back on the road. I was fighting the wind all the way to Nevada City and Virginia City, they are right next to each other. I took some pictures of a couple of old buildings in town. Both cities were old gold mining towns.
Coming out of Virginia City began my climb for the day. This is when the language got a little salty. In less than 5 miles I gained 1,000 feet of elevation, pulling 100+ pounds, in a 20+ mph headwind. You know those guys in the gym that scream and yell when they throw up weight. I was that guy. I really am not that kind of guy. I have never yelled when climbing a hill, pass, summit or parking curb. I yelled. I clinched my teeth. I told the wind where to go with multiple loud FYou’s. I have never had such a difficult time climbing as I did with the Montana wind. I was going so slow that I told myself if my speed went below 3 mph I needed to unclip or else I would tip over. I stopped once and almost could not get back on the bike. I don’t walk summits!
I made it to the top! And no summit elevation sign. I was going to stop and take a picture of me giving the sign the middle finger. Sorry folks it was that brutle. At the top, OMG. What a view! I love coming over a pass and the landscape just opens up. I wish I could have stayed longer but I was literally getting wind blasted off my bike. Wait till you see the video. I had phone service so I called Audrey and tried to show her the view on Messenger but it was not coming through well. I told Audrey I had to go, I had to get down. The wind literally hurt.
Yeah! Going down, what fun! Nope! How about that same 20+ wind now coming as a crosswind from my right? It took everything to keep my bike hugging the shoulder. I would catch an extra strong crosswind and it would push me to the road centerline. Safety became a concern. I did not want to get blown into traffic. I must have stopped 4 times going down just to keep myself, Bike and Bob from becoming a hood ornament. I shakingly rode into Ennis, MT with half my wits. I had lunch still wanting to strive for 80 to 90 today, it was only 3:30. I finished lunch and left the coverage of the town’s buildings and about got blown off my bike. So Ennis it is!
Day 17 – 71.5 miles
The video is on my Facebook page