Day 5 - Missoula, Montana to Butte, Montana
rejoined a smaller Team Extreme for the day. Robert from New York
was starting to have some trouble with his achilles tendon and
was trying to take things easier. Let me regress for a minute
here. It almost seemed that riders could only come on this trip
if they found another rider sharing their name, since in our small
group, we had two Roberts (and a Bob), two Pamelas, two Craigs,
two Martys, two Johns, two Eds, two Kurts, two Jerrys, three Mikes
and three Dans. This is why I sometimes refer to folks by name
Just before lunch, we encountered another friendly policeman
who watched as riders rolled up to a stop sign, looked and turned
right if clear, without coming to a complete stop. He then pulled
up alongside us and announced over the loud speaker that we had
broken the law. This was our last bad encounter with law enforcement
in the 3400 mile trip. I really am a very cautious law abiding
rider, never running traffic lights, and always careful at stop
signs, but when I can clearly see that no cars are approaching
a stop sign, I do not think it is necessary to put a foot down.
Our group shrunk a little after lunch, since we had a major climb.
The climb was about 5 miles of 8% with a few switch backs and
some really great views. We seemed to be following a stream at
first, but as it got steeper, the stream became a waterfall. At
the top we were rewarded with incredible views of Georgetown Lake,
surrounded by beautiful snow covered peaks. I stopped for a few
photos and connected with Ray and Robert. The other riders had
started down the great descent on the other side. A flat about
halfway down gave us a second chance at picture taking and regrouping.
At the final
rest stop, Robert was really starting to have trouble with his
achilles, and I was feeling a bit tired myself. The three of us
tried to stay together, but Robert really seemed to need to ride
alone. He kept insisting we go on. So we split up for the final
20 miles. It was a tough section, with a lot of interstate riding,
headwinds and long gradual grades. The last few miles were kind
of scary, as we hit bridges with only one lane open and no shoulder.
I rolled into the hotel really wiped out. I didn't think I could
feel much worse. (Little did I know that I would consider this
one of my better days later on). I talked to Pete about a booster
shot the next day in the form of a tandem ride. We decided to
ride from the first rest stop to the second. Jim and Diane would
get the pleasure of riding the bike over the Continental Divide.
Then we'd get to change pedals and my saddle and head out.
Robert decided that his tendon needed a day off and planned to
take the sag the next day. It was a tough decision. We all came
to do the whole ride, and it had to be heartbreaking to have to
sag. The flu and various injuries had already taken a lot of riders
down for a few days. Robert would definitely not be the only one
to take a ride in the van. I would certainly do whatever I could
to avoid it short of endangering my life. In the end, it was cool
that no distinction was made between those who rode every inch
and those who didn't. I'm really proud that I made it all under
my own steam, but if that van had come along at the right time
on the West Yellowstone day, it might have been a different story.