Sunday, August 06, 2006

Saturday July 1 – Day 42

Glacier Cyclery in Whitefish fixed the bike by 11. Apparently they took off the cassette and freewheel and there was muddy water in there. Poor bike. So they regreased the hub, put new brake pads on (both front and rear) and sent me on my merry way. The mechanic said it was actually in pretty good shape for how far it’s been ridden, which makes me feel a little better about the whole thing. In any case, the bike was good to go again before lunch, and I was on my merry way.

What a gorgeous day – I never wanted to stop. The first climb got into the trees and out of the heat right away, and never looked back. It’s sort of a temperate rain forest up there – a lot like Juneau, and on the way down it rained on me pretty good for a little while. Then it cleared up, the sun came out, and I was riding through trees again on a gradual up to the campground. I thought about trying to make it all the way to the border, but why? It seemed appropriate to spend one more night out in the woods, the campground was excellent, and I just had to coast down the hill tomorrow to be ready to catch my train. So no worries.

When I got to the campsite, there were two guys doing the Divide right by the entrance, so I stopped and said hi. Turns out they were two guys from Australia named Wilf (short for Wilfred) and Nick. They just started today, and are pretty fired up about the whole thing. I gave them some info on the route ahead, and they filled me in on the latest World Cup and Tour news (they say Basso and Ulrich are out because of doping – go figure). So a great day all around. I feel like I came full circle here meeting these guys – knowing everything they’re going to be up against in the next couple of months. It’s a shame I didn’t run into more people because of the timing of it all.

I don’t know what I’ll do when I finish here. I was talking to Wilf about this – it’s going to be strange to have a car to take me wherever I want to – uphill or downhill – and a fridge with food, running water, my own bed, and so on. I’m so used to being self-contained on the bike – having everything I need right with me like this – that it’s going to be strange to have to learn to manage a whole house full of crap again.

Also, I don’t know what the sensation crossing the line will be. A buddy of mine who did the AT talked about finishing in the rain and how it just sort of happened, without a lot of positive or negative attached. Then he didn’t know what to do, so he went to law school. I’m in a little bit different situation – this trip has been a little shorter (his was five or six months) – and so I still have a sense of what’s out there beyond just riding the bike. I also really am looking forward to seeing Sarah and my dog. So I think this will be a little more of a concrete turning point. We will see.

Day 42 stats:

70 miles
3500 feet up

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