Ride 89 Day 1

It’s finally here! I’ve been thinking, dreaming, and planning about doing this ride for 25 years and today the day finally came.

Because of some problems with me rim on Saturday, I’ve been pretty worried. Last night I felt like I had told all my friends I was going to dive off the 30-foot cliff. Then once I got to the edge it felt like a horrible idea and I should just walk away. But of course at that point you have to jump because everyone is watching.

We were staying in Lethbridge, Canada so it took us about 90 minutes to get to the border. We arrived at the border just before our planned start time of 7 a.m., but I didn’t realize the border crossing doesn’t open until 8 a.m.

Kelly rode up to the locked gate from the U.S. side and waved to us. Then she rode away.

Once the gate opened, I rode my bike across and handed my passport to the agent. He asked where I rode from and where I was going. I excitedly told him I I was heading for Mexico. Then I started my ride.

120 miles, 5,698 feet of climbing

About a mile later, I saw a herd of bison next to a fence. As I approached, they edged away from the fence and began moving south. Then they started running. They ran with me for about two minutes before turning away. It was an amazing experience and I’m taking it as a good omen for our cross-country trip.

I made my way south to St. Mary and began climbing. The road is the seventh hardest road climb in the state. It was 4.4 miles long with 1,244 feet of climbing. At the top the road was under construction. I knew that was the case. I had researched the MDOT website, looked for signage, but couldn’t find anything that said there would be any troubles for bicycles. But when I got there, they told me my bike wasn’t allowed and I would have to go through the zone in a vehicle.

We had nice tailwinds for a few dozen miles, then rolling hills into Choteau (pronounced show-tow). When we got here, there was a reporter waiting to interview us for the local paper.

This evening we stayed with Micah and Joanna Martin from Warmshowers.org. They’re a delightful family and were very hospitable.

I’m a little tired but feel good. One down, 15 to go.