Wanna Take You Higher

We awoke to 46 degrees and a strong breeze in Townsend, MT. Staying warm while packing up was the first order of business.

Breakfast was at the same bar as dinner last night. I missed the sign for the “Gun raffle of the month”. Charles got a picture of it.

We left town slightly underdressed (tights and jacket, but not arm warmers). A paper towel from the bar’s bathroom added a layer of insulation under the jersey.

The wind had shifted but was just as strong. I left town at 13 mph, after entering it at 24.

It stayed chilly for the first couple of hours but I was eventually able to shed the extra layers. There was a mid-morning stop at a famous bakery. Lesson learned: when your route planner recommends the bear claw, don’t order a croissant, especially in Montana. It was crescent-shaped but that’s as close as it got. The espresso was OK, though not up to Tim’s standards.

Lunch featured a slice of fresh tomato topped with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil, along with risotto. Today’s lunch cook usually plays symphonic music, but today started with metal; playlist by the mechanic.

Today featured a couple of long climbs. We rode with the snowy slopes of the Tobacco Root Mountains looming in the distance. Eventually we passed those and the Bridger and Gallatin ranges loomed.C044A210-24EE-4BDF-AD7E-890B6DDB7524

I took my chances with one photo after saving and updating. Worked so far!

The last climb featured interesting winds as we topped Bozeman Pass. We had to pedal down the 7% grade due to the headwind.

The last ten miles of flats after the descent (Kevin later told me we were actually going up, despite appearances – Garmin never lies) were among the hardest miles I have ridden.

I like climbing mountains. I’m not a fan of headwinds. I probably said this before, but as you go up a mountain, the scenery changes. As you ride into a headwind, you’re going slowly and working hard, but nothing seems to change except the distance traveled; tenths of a mile take forever.

We rolled into Ennis and set up camp.

A word about roads, left out of yesterday’s post, though it was in the original. We are routinely riding on the sort of roads I studiously avoid at home.

Today featured varying shoulders (wide with rumble strips down the middle, 6-12 inches to the right of the fog line, fog line painted right on the edge of the pavement) all with 70 mph speed limits.

The wider the shoulder, the more ubiquitous the debris. Hence more flat tires in the first 9 days than in the last 9 years of recreational riding – I do get occasional flats while commuting.

Going up continues – 9000 feet awaits. Tomorrow – West Yellowstone.