110 miles, 2851 feet of climbing
After yesterday’s heat, I decided to get an early start. This far north it’s light before 5 a.m. The sun was peaking over the mountains by 6:30. I was up before 5 and preparing for my ride in the chilly morning. Today felt like a hurdle. I was tired and sore and part of me really didn’t want to go.
I left about 6 a.m. starting up a hill for the first five miles. I found a rabbit at the summit enjoying a light breakfast. This is my favorite time of day to ride. The descent was a nice break and I enjoyed tailwinds most of the way into White Sulfur Springs.
Annie and the kids caught up to me there, since I had left before the kids woke up. While Annie was filling up on gas, a guy walked up, looked at the signs on the truck about our adventure and fundraiser, told her that he has had a lot of family members who fought cancer, and gave her $50. “For gas.” So cool and we appreciate the support.
I continued south on Highway 89, fighting headwinds now. until I got to the junction with Montana State Road 86. This was a point of decision. Heading south to Livingston would continue on 89. I had mapped out a detour on 86 to go to Bozeman, to go to West Yellowstone and around the closure.
About that time, I got a phone call from a reporter that wanted to interview us, and she told me that cyclists and hikers were now allowed through the north entrance. I was excited to hear that and decided to head to Livingston. I really want to follow Highway 89 as much as possible.
Hearing this gave me new energy. I started tearing down the road toward Livingston, maintaining 19 mph for the final hour.
Unfortunately, when I got to the end of the road, there was supposed to be a frontage road by the freeway. But I couldn’t find any access to it. Annie loaded the bike and we went back to a road that the map showed would lead to Livingston, but it was a rough dirt road. We were supposed to meet with a reporter in 15 minutes!
Annie went back to the freeway, drove to the next exit, and dropped me off at the frontage road. I pedaled a few miles into Livingston when a nail went through my tire. I was 110 miles into the ride, but I was done.
So I had the interview with a nice young woman who had been fly fishing with the governor that morning. After that, I wanted to find out about the road conditions going into Yellowstone. What I could find was really confusing so I called the park.
Turns out that cyclists are allowed one mile past the north entrance to a trailhead. There is still no access to Mammoth. I understand that a 1,000-year geological event just hit the park, I get that.
I just wish I had known the truth of the matter earlier in the day so I could have kept to my detour and ridden into Bozeman. That’s where we’ll start tomorrow’s ride. Unfortunately, my map will have a small gap between Livingston and Bozeman. On the bright side, I got to ride on 89 for 20 more miles.
My feet and saddle sores don’t hurt quite as bad today. I switched out kits at lunch. I think I’ll keep doing that.