115.22 miles, 4728 feet of elevation gain
The first day, you’re full of energy. Half of your effort is holding back so you don’t go too hard. That’s not a problem on day two.
I woke up this morning with some saddle sores and a sunburn, so I used the sun sleeves to protect my arms. A burn on day one is not great. The sun comes up so early here that I was up before five. I slowly got ready and said goodbye to Micah and Joanna Martin. They were such gracious hosts and so kind. I started my ride at the Teton County Courthouse at 8 a.m.
I started out with crosswinds for the first 25 miles until I got to Fairview, then I turned and enjoyed tailwinds to Vaughn. I stopped and changed my kit in Great Falls, hoping to swap out the bacteria box I’m riding in and get some relief for my tender seat.
But then the climbing began. Yesterday, the hills were mostly at the front end. Today they were all on the last half. The winds also started becoming crosswinds and occasionally headwinds.
We went through more construction around Belt, but they let me stay on my bike. Just after the construction we turned south again and headed into the mountains. The hills felt more punishing in the heat of the afternoon. There was almost no wind on the floor of the canyon.
The idea of another thirty miles seemed overwhelming. My feet and bottom were burning.
Finally I looked to see that the hill I was climbing would end in another nine miles, so I began counting down to the top of the hill, then enjoyed a nice descent into Monarch.
I was out of water and Annie and the kids had gone ahead to secure a campsite (which turned out not to be necessary because the campground is almost empty). I saw a skidsteer working and went to ask for some water. An older gentleman offered me a bottle and went inside to get me a colder one too. He was very kind.
I’ve been by myself most of the time. I rarely see Kelly since we ride at different speeds. All that time alone gave me plenty of time to think. I pondered many things, including the apathy and laziness of the road crew that striped the road. They didn’t move anything. The white stripe went over loose rocks, bits of tire, and even some roadkill.
After 7.5 hours of riding, I arrived at the Many Pines Campground. I soaked in the freezing river to help my tired legs and ate. I met another guy in the campground named Rico. He’s been walking around the world since 2015. Wow. I admire his ambition. He has a cart that he straps to his waist. It has a solar panel. Pretty cool.
I’m beat this evening so I’m going to bed. I’m getting an early start tomorrow in hopes of finishing my ride earlier and avoiding some heat. Because of the detour around Yellowstone, tomorrow is longer and has more climbing than originally planned. But the big climb starts the ride.