Monday, July 5, 2010

July 5, 2010: St. Mary to Cut Bank, MT. 64 miles

We were promised a tail wind yesterday, and were sorely disappointed to get out on the road to an immediate 6 mile climb with a cross wind! But we knuckled down and did it--what are our choices after all?

We left the mountains behind us this morning, which is always a sad thing to do. (Above is Laura at the end of the 6 mile climb, leaving the mountains behind her). Perhaps it is only the flatlanders among us who feel sad... At mile 6 we reached the top of the climb, and had a sweet downhill stretch for about 4 miles before we reached the second climb. This time it was only a 1.2 mile climb with several miles of downhill after that. Even though we thought we were leaving the mountains behind us, it is never as abrupt as it seems....but we could see the plains spread out before us as we entered some serious cattle ranching lands.

At mile 13.9 we turned off US 89 on to an unsigned road that runs along Cut Bank Creek, and suddenly there was the tail wind! It was 9 AM when I made that turn, and after stopping at a 20 mile sag for snacks, where Marti was having a close encounter with some Montana cattle.... I met up with CJ. We rode together with that glorious tailwind and we were at the 40 mile point by 11:00. We ate again and continued on toward Cut Bank, our destination for this night.

We were on US 2 by then, and will be on this road for days to come. We flew through with a tail wind until 3 miles from Cut Bank when the wind shifted and the rain we had been watching approach finally reached us... there was a strong cross wind, rain pelting us in the face, but we made it in to the hotel. Shortly after we arrived the sun was shining again.
Dianne had had a flat tire about mid point in the ride, and a nice young man named Trevor stopped to see if she was OK--he saw her and her bike (the bike lying on the ground) and thought she had been hit by a car! He stayed and helped her change the flat tire---how nice!

We all got here, many of us did laundry, and now we're getting ready for tomorrow's ride. We will be on US 2 for many days, and local wisdom is that 6 days out of 7 the wind is from the west. Let's hope that today was day 1, not day 6!

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