Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 47: Ennis, MT to Dillon, MT (76 Miles)

I woke up this morning to find a chilly 35 degrees of frigid temperature outside the door. I wasn't prepared to encounter such coldness, so I decided to wait until 9:30AM to leave. I met a local guy last night at Subway and we talked it up a bit about how some drivers can be really rude to cyclists around here. I told him I've yet to run into any of these encounters... it seems I spoke too soon. I had about seven notable "rough encounters" with other automobiles. Most of them consist of laying on their horns and giving me only inches of clearance... and each time there was no shoulder and no oncoming traffic. I try my best at not being visibly angry, to not even give them the pleasure. But it does put me in a funk. I become perplexed with how and why anyone would do something like that? Such blatant disregard for human life... and for what? A laugh? It's not like I'm making some political statement they can disagree with... or that I'm inconveniencing them in any way... then what is it? Sadly, I think human nature is open to inexplicable crudeness to the other for no just reason... not race, not ideologies... just "because."

This morning was spent climbing over 3,000 feet from Ennis to Virginia City. The climb was long, but not very difficult. I was proud to note that I didn't have to switch into "granny gear" and I never stood up the entire ascent. I also limited myself to one picture/water break, and that was only a minute. I can't wait to get back to my little 25 mile loop through Quincy and see how well I manage. I also can't wait to get back into running. I feel like I've built enough stamina to overcome the "hump" of getting back into the hobby (I often become extremely discouraged when barely surviving a three mile jog) and now it seems all I need is some new running shoes (May, if you're reading this.. maybe we could go shopping for some when I get back?).

I rode down a thrilling and very fuh-fuh-fuh-freezing 7% grade descent into Virginia City, a cool little tourist town that was once a mining village. I stopped into a small diner for breakfast and had a long conversation with the owner. She was very supportive of what I was doing and told me that she had MS, and that a few riders came through and it touched her greatly. I also interacted with an interesting fellow who is a self-described retired cowboy, tourism guide, and aspiring television narrator. He told me he has "work" on PBS and is working on getting some work with the History Channel. We then talked about inflection, tone of voice, and accents. I wish I could've talked for longer, but I had miles to bike. Today's riding wasn't very thrilling, besides the aforementioned "rough encounters" I had with a few cars. It mostly consisted of riding through a large valley and, yes, against the wind. To make things more tolerable, today's wind only ranged from 5 to 10 mph and for that I was thankful.

I stopped again in Twin Bridges for a taco salad. The service here was slow and I was antsy to get back on the road. The last 25 miles or so were the most challenging. The wind became more consistent and resistant. I rode up to a scenic overlook area and the couple there said they had met me at Old Faithful. It clicked and we had a "small world" moment. They told me I must've been "hauling it" to make it here, and I assured them I've certainly been trying.

I rode into Dillon at 4:30PM, feeling rather tired. I couldn't find any place for WiFi.. so I'm here at McDonald's, getting nickel'd and dime'd with their charging for internet, sauce packets, etc. First they indoctrinate you to obesity at a young age with their "Happy" Meals and then they have the gull to charge you for internet! Damn you, Ronald.

There's a small cineplex in town that's playing Michael Mann's "Public Enemies." I might see this film, despite mixed reviews, and call it an early night. I'd love to put in a long day tomorrow, God willing, and make it into Stevensville; however, two passes and the wind may have something to say about that. Wish me luck!

5 comments:

Aaron said...

Awesome blog, Blake... I just finished catching up with reading it and enjoyed every minute. Thanks for posting and good luck finishing your trip!!! Come to Maine when you're back and we'll go for a run!

Momma said...

Don't let those drivers steal your joy, Blake. They have no idea why and what you are doing out there. You and your maker know and that is all that matters. I have learned to pray for those who are missing the happiness in life, that they might get to experience it before they leave this earth. You keep smiling and stay safe!! love you Momma

Anonymous said...

So... You want to run across the country next summer?

may said...

P.S. That last comment was from me. And yes we can go shopping for running sneakers, but don't think new shoes will make you suddenly able to outrun me. :)

Grandma said...

You must be feeling a little bit like a little boy in the back seat of a car on a family vacation--asking "are we there yet? are we there yet?" What a grand excitement you will feel when you actually reach your destination! We're so excited for you.

Love, Grandma & Gramps

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