Grave Creek Campground, MT to Whitetail Creek, MT
Daily Mileage: 241 km (149.8 mi)
Riding Time: 17 h 00 m
Standing: 17th place
|Day 3 Map|
I didn’t take a lot of pictures the first few days. I felt since I had ridden much of this in previous years touring I didn’t need to. Also, I was racing. No time for pictures. I took more later in the race.
I woke up a bit earlier than Greg, got ready and was off. I left Greg while he was visiting the little boy’s room and I didn’t say goodbye. I felt a bit bad about that. That was the last I rode with him during the race although I heard his name when Kristin would give me updates.
The climb up to Whitefish Divide was steep, but nice. I got into a nice rhythm grinding the single speed up, up, and up. I passed Luke Bodewes and said hi. He didn’t look too happy. I was surprised the top of the climb seemed to come fast. I recognised parts of the trail from touring it in the past years. The ride past Tuchuck campground was fast and fun.
Another climb up to Red Meadow Lake and met a few more riders including David Stowe. I would see more of him later in the race. There was virtually no snow at the top of the climb and I guess this is one of the areas that is often a hike-a-bike through the snow. Good year!
|Red Meadow Lake - don't stop, keep riding|
It was a nice ride out of the mountains into Whitefish. Passing a campground on the way people cheered. It was cool to see people who know about the race and it was awesome to get some encouragement.
On part of the descent I started talking to myself to pass the time. I started to be free with what I would say to myself as I was riding along. Letting go mentally. I saw a bug on my maps that wouldn’t let go so I named it Seymore Butts. That little bug held on for what seemed like 15 minutes. I made a song about Seymore Butts as I rode along. I tried to take a picture of my new friend but the descent got too fast to do it safely before he let go and flew away. Too bad. Seems crazy as I write this, but it was something to do at the time.
I got into Whitefish and stopped at the first store I saw. I didn’t stop long and was back on the bike to go to Ferndale. I was looking forward to the flat section and some easy spinning. Soon I discovered that after this much riding, spinning was the most uncomfortable for me. My Achilles tendons started to ache as I spun along to Ferndale. I ran into a couple of touring cyclists and it was nice to be able to pass them. Corey caught up to me just outside of Ferndale and we rode around a bit looking for the store. We rode the wrong direction and I asked one of the friendly townsfolk where the store was. Eventually we found it and had a bite with David Stowe on the picnic table outside. It was still pretty early and David, who is a veteran, said the next climb wasn’t too bad. I bought a pizza for supper and a couple of danishes for breakfast. We started the climb and I watched David and Corey slowly ride away from me. I was getting used to everyone riding faster than me, but I would usually catch up to them later. My Achilles were still bothering me and aching a bit on the climb. I chose to ignore it. My research found that aches and pains come and go. Just push through them. I thought if they continue to bother me I would move my cleats back on my shoes.
On the way up the climb, I met up with Jose again. He was having issues with his front tire and it was partially deflated. We started to descend and I pulled away from Jose since he had to go slow with his tire. I caught up Corey and David riding slow down the hill. They said they just scared off a grizzly. I didn’t slow down. I figured if they passed the grizzly, he is behind so there is no point in slowing down. “Hey bear!” all the way down. Kept riding for a while and then I saw my own black bear in the twilight. I blew my whistle and kept riding. I am used to seeing bears on bike rides so I wasn’t too worried. After riding for long enough for me to feel safe enough to stop, I got out my pizza and started eating as I rode. I figured I would eat and ride so I wouldn’t have to eat at my site. Corey and David caught up and they looked a bit freaked out. I am not sure how comfortable David was, but Corey seemed quite nervous. We passed a good spot and decided to camp together. Safety in numbers. I stopped to finish my pizza so there was no eating in camp. Corey was asking the best way to set up camp in bear country. The best thing to do is to hang up your food, but I didn’t want to take the time to do that. We instead put our bikes a good distance away from where we were sleeping. I figured that would be good enough. Once I got into my bivy and said a prayer, I was out. David said later on that he could tell I fell asleep fast so I assumed I was snoring. I talked to Corey on Facebook after the race and he said he barely slept, but my snoring gave him some peace. If I could sleep so well in bear country, the risk couldn’t be that bad.