Ennis, MT to Butte, MT
Total Miles: 4671
Last night we met up with a couple of the cyclists from the group we met on the road yesterday and had some drinks at the bar. Near the end of the night they ask us if we want to ride with them the next day, I was a bit hesitant at first since Butte, the city they were heading to next, was off route for us and also because I kind of felt bad for ditching out on Gene, Michael and Terry. Seb and I talked about it and figured, eh, what the hell. This is supposed to be a fucking adventure and making last minute changes and following a pack of feral cyclists is just the kind of thing to spice up any adventure. Besides, we calculated that we could ride along with these guys to Butte and still make it to Missoula before the rest of the gang gets there so long as we do a stupidly long day tomorrow. OFF ROUTE MUTHUFUCKAS!!
We got up this morning at 6, got everything packed up and headed to a little diner for breakfast where I had a rather underwhelming portion of biscuits and gravy. I guess for any other person the portion size would have been adequate but, as we all know, I’m a human garbage disposal and anything less than a pan of biscuits with a gallon of gravy would be pretty inadequate. So with my belly reasonably satiated we set off into the morning. Immediately after heading out of town we were greeted with an absolutely ferocious headwind. I’m normally a giant baby when it comes to wind but this was beyond even my capacity to whine about. To make matters worse there was a monster climb about 5 miles out of town and that combined with the wind made for a fucking miserable first hour of the day. We had 85 miles planned for the day and if it was all going to be like this I knew there was no possible way I could make it with my sanity still attached. When we reached the top of the hill we’d only gone 11 miles in an hour and a half and we were both feeling pretty low. Even the bitching downhill on the other side of the hill didn’t do much to raise my spirits and I fucking love going downhill more than anything in the world. Today was shaping up to be a real bitch.
Once we reached the bottom we were greeted by two cyclists heading in the opposite direction. They were German, father and son, and were heading up towards the Great Lakes area then to New York. We told them that they’d have nice tailwinds once they got over the hill and the father just laughed and said, “We’ve had 500 miles of tailwinds! Not good news for you too.” Yeah, no fucking kidding 🙂 They also told us that we’re the first cyclists they’d seen today which was strange as we were under the impression that the feral cyclists were already on the road. Oops. What can you do though but press on. We exchanged the usual road tips about the way ahead and set off again. The first store we came to I knew it was Dew time. The morning had been pretty lousy so far but I knew if I could get a hit of that sugary yellow smack that all would be right with the world. I’d have collapsed and died thousands of miles ago without my regular doses of dew.
When we got back on the road after the dew break the most miraculous thing happened: the wind stopped. No. It didn’t just stop, it had somehow morphed into a slight tailwind! If there was ever a day that I needed a Turtle Powerup it was today. I pulled over and got my little bluetooth speaker out of my bag so we could jam out to some tunes while we enjoyed the blessed wind. It’s amazing how much the weather can affect my mood. Like an hour ago I was fucking miserable and hating every second of my life but now I was as happy as a Turtle in the sun. It also felt really, really good to be off the main route again. I’d gotten comfortable the last few weeks just waking up and cycling along with the other guys without a care in the world since they had their days planned out weeks in advance. But today it was all uncharted territory, no cycling maps, no tried and true roads, just James, his Bike and only my adventurous spirit to guide me (Also Sebastian and Google Maps).
At about the 60 mile mark Sebastian and I both started to slow down considerably. I kept checking my back tire every 2 minutes to see if it was going flat, that’s how sluggish I felt. I thought I was starting to hit a wall when Sebastian asked, “Are we going uphill?!” It was really weird, like the road looked like it was completely flat ahead of us but, sure enough, when we turned around we were noticeably ascending. Then the road started getting steeper, and steeper, AND STEEPER! It was like this never-ending mountain of pain and misery, every curve in the road I hoped beyond hope that It would finally be the last and that we’d get a nice long downhill but it JUST KEPT GOING! We finally got to the last turn and what looked like a sweet downhill so we pulled over to take a break. We were both completely drenched in sweat and the only thing we could say was, ‘’What the fuck!”. It was bad. After we got rested up we proceeded to our downhill reward. Only it wasn’t our reward. It was this short little downhill of lies and betrayal followed by more god damned uphill. It took us the better part of 2 hours to conquer this beast, 2 hours of sweating, cursing, crying, dodging murderous cars but we did it. The downhill that followed was pretty badass, lots of twists and turns and it was almost fun enough to make up for the last two hours. Almost.
When we got into Butte we heard to Buffalo Wild Wings for our favorite post ride beer: Bud Light. Now I’m kind of a beer snob but there’s just something about an ice cold BL after a long day of riding that just really hits the spot, that and about 20 wings 🙂 Tomorrow we have an especially long day planned, I won’t say the number now lest we fail and I be humiliated. Stay tuned for the next edition of James and his Bike!
Too Drunk; Didn’t Read (TD;DR)
-James goes off route like the badass adventurous mother fucker that he is
-The most torturous hill in all the land bitch slaps me across the face
-Bud Light is the nectar of the gods in certain situations