June 30, 2010 – 63 miles
I found no water in the tent this morning, so I started cooking breakfast. Again, suddenly, another rain shower came in from over the Divide. I sheltered in the tent and packed what I could while waiting for the rain to let up.
Soon the skies were clear and the sun was out, so we packed and rolled out of camp. The road was muddy, but rideable. A few miles down the road we passed the tiny “town” of Lakeview (it was more of a cluster of houses). A half mile later, I realized the mud was starting to stick to my wheels. Each rotation added another layer of mud on top of the previous until it clogged my fork, rack, and chainstay. Forward motion became impossible.
I cleaned off my tires as best as I could and pushed forward. A few rotations later, the wheels – again clogged with mud – no longer turned. We decided to turn back and wait in Lakeview for the roads to dry. There was a ranger station where we maybe could de-mud our bikes.
It was easier said than done. The sun and mosquitoes came out in full force, making for a miserable experience worse. Mathieu detached his trailer and struggled to push his bike back in town. I, with my racks, had a harder time. I decided to push the bike off the road through waist high grass to avoid the mud. It was wet, itchy, and full of bugs. I applied DEET and they more-or-less ignored me. Mathieu, on the other hand, suffered the full effect of those blood suckers.
After what might have been an hour, we made it back to the town and the forest service station. We found a hose to unstick the mud. The locals said the roads dry out very quickly, so we waited (I snacked on an early lunch).
By 11:30 we were ready to try the roads again. I was in no hurry as I didn’t want to push back again. With 55 miles to go at 11:30, I knew this would be a tough day.
We chose our lines carefully and stayed mud free. What a relief.
We crossed a big empty basin and the miles dragged slowly on. The elevation profiles showed this section to be mostly flat. On the contrary, it was many short climbs and descents (see detailed elevation profile below).
We stopped for lunch after battling straight into the wind for a number of miles. Mathieu tied his tent to a fence post to let it dry. The wind was so strong that it acted as a kite. I worried that the fabric might tear, but it never did.
Riding after lunch was no different that before. A strong headwind with small hills to climb.
Finally, after many slow miles, I finally spotted Lima, MT in the distance. Better yet, it was downhill!
Just as I started descending I realized my rear tire was going flat…with one mile to go! I rode on it as long as possible until the bike felt too wobbly. I pumped it up and rode the rest of the way into town on a very splashy tire.
Mathieu rented a motel room for us for the night. I agreed that we deserved the luxury after such a trying day. Not to mention that it had been about a week since my last shower. We cleaned up and went to Jan’s for dinner. It was a feast! After a huge burger, chocolate milkshakes, and lots of soda, we were stuffed. So much that it hurt me to walk. (The half-gallon of soda might have been excessive).
Afterwards, I repaired the flat tube. The tire boot that was supposed to close the tear in my outer tire was gathering dirt which rubbed holes in my tubes. I reinforced the tire boot with duct tape. Hopefully it will hold for 3 days until Butte.