July 12, 2010 – 50 miles
We rode on pavement out of town along Whitefish Lake. It reminded me a lot of Lake Paw Paw in Michigan were I spent a lot of summer weekends at my grandparents lake-house.
The pavement ended after 10 miles. As we started on the dirt road, a cherry red Corvette followed slowly behind us. Once again, I was proud to be on the mountain bike, not in a mid-life crisis vehicle.
We passed through some old burn areas and started climbing toward Red Meadow Pass. After 15 miles of gradual climbing we stopped for a quick lunch. The sky looked as if a storm may come soon.
The steepest three miles to the pass lay ahead. Overall, the climb was not too difficult. But there were a few short 100-ft sections that were just too steep for me to climb. So I resorted to pushing. Even after 6-weeks of riding, the Great Divide was still forcing me to walk!
The backside of the pass was a fast descent through pine forest.
After a while, we turned off-route to go to the town of Polebridge. Here, we encountered the worse roads so far. Imagine paving a road with cement. Before the cement dries, drop baseball to basketball sized rocks into the cement and let it dry. This road was worse than riding on washboard! The rocks absolutely killed forward momentum.
After 6 miles we made it to Polebridge. My first stop was the bakery in the Polebridge Mercantile. They had dozens of different breads to try.
We rented bunks at the North Fork Hostel – a unique off-the-grid cabin. Oliver, the current owner, retrofitted the cabin with composting toilets, a green house, and solar panels. They even offered Wifi!
We went to the local restaurant for burgers and sodas. Again, I was plagued with stomach and chest pain. I forced myself to eat, though. I’d pay for it worse on tomorrow’s ride if I didn’t eat properly today.