Sunday, August 06, 2006

Friday June 30 – Day 41 – Columbia Falls, MT

Well, I did make it to Columbia Falls. But after 2450 miles the bike is starting to crap out on me. The rear brake pads went out this morning – worn right down to metal on metal – so I’ve been running with them wide open all day. Then later on the back wheel started making noise – grinding and crunching like there’s sand in the bearings. So the bike shop will be looking at that tomorrow.

Tonight I can hear all the trains rolling through from my site here. One, sometime early this morning, was the Amtrak train. It sucks to be this close but still have three days of riding. There’s a part of me that just wants to be on the train and done right now. But, I have 100 miles of gorgeous riding (and some tough climbing) ahead of me. I intend to enjoy it.

So today I got up early and was rolling by quarter to 7 through puddles and stuff. It was one of these moisty, overcast mornings and stayed overcast until 10:30 or so – long enough to get me to the only big climb of the day. The morning ride was all through this old-growth timber with little creeks and swamps – really a very nice way to spend a morning.

The climb was a long one, with some loose gravel here and there, but otherwise not bad. I was over the top by 1 and into Columbia Falls (after a stop for lunch) by 6. I’m staying at a little RV park where the only spot available was a corner of the lot. But there’s a shower and laundry – brilliant!

One more random note: my mother went and called all the local media – the newspaper and TV station in Kalispell and a paper in Whitefish – and tried to convince them to do a story about me. I don’t think it’s much of a news story anyway – lots of people do this route – but apparently she got at least one person interested. But, even if they would have thought about it, I got trumped by a better bike story – the Divide racer who had his bike stolen while he was sleeping on the side of the road.

Everybody on the route had been talking about this for a week now, but the papers just got a hold of it today, and the people of Montana are outraged that something like this could happen in their state. It blows their minds – I think most of them don’t even lock their doors, especially the old timers. So they took up a collection for this fellow and are going to buy him a new bike.

But, they aren’t going to run two bike stories in the same day, and his is better. It’s probably for the best anyway. I don’t know what I would have said to those guys anyway. “Yeah, my butt really hurts. But it was pretty fun…” The thought of seeing my mug on the tube saying that crap makes me cringe. Although of course it probably would have been kind of fun…

Day 41 stats:

85 miles
3000 feet up


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