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
Total 1,262.5

The video is on my Facebook page