Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ennis to Butte

So I made it to butte.  I was pretty glad to be here.  I had gotten to a point where I didn't want to ride anymore, right up to when I actually got on the bike, and then I felt at home.  At home is not a feeling I have very often, so that was nice.  

After all those states (5) and all those miles (1,234), I finally encountered rain, and thunder, and (gasp!) lightening!  I'm very superstitious about riding a bicycle or motorcycle during lightning.  Something about the quick death...   Anyway, I pulled off the road and looked for a place to set up my tent to get out of the weather.   A place eventually turned up but by the time I planted the second (of 6) stakes in the ground, the rain was barely noticeable.  The thunder (and presumably, the lightning) was moving away.  And I was less than 15 miles from my destination.  Pack it up!  

The break while I fooled around with my tent had been enough to give me a second wind and I resumed what had been about 17 miles of uphill. Amazingly, I was less than a mile from the summit.  There I stopped to read a sign about the trails and struck up a conversation with a cool guy who was getting ready for a trip of his own.  He's going to ride the Al-Can highway with some friends as soon as he works out the logistics.  Makes me feel like a poser.  

From the summit to the end of this first half of my ride was almost entirely downhill.  An awesome finish to a tough day.  

And good timing too. The next day Butte had sun in the morning but rain after that.  And snow forecasted the following day (snowing starts as I write this).  Sure, I'm tough as nails and everything, but who really wants to ride in the snow?

Anyway, here's the stats:
1,234 miles ridden, 19 days on the bike, 6 days off, averaged 65 miles per day.  Climbed 49,387 feet uphill. 

After a break in Butte, I'll be heading back south, this time following the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. 

That'll be 2000 miles to the Mexican border. Read about it here. 

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