Today's Miles = 86.2
Average Speed = 10.4 mph
Maximum Speed = 43.1 mph
Total Miles = 3483.6
Today I woke up hoping to push myself to ride a hundred mile day. The offices of Adventure Cycling lay ahead in Missoula and I'd like to give them a visit, but they are only open Monday through Friday. So I decided that if I push myself hard over the next few days I might be able to get to Missoula on Saturday, take Sunday off, and then visit Adventure Cycling and depart Missoula on Monday morning. Pretty good as far as plans go, but breaking a hundred miles just wasn't in the cards for today.
It still isn't very easy for me to be able to predict how far I can travel in a day. I never know what the wind is going to do, it is hard to know how well my body is going to feel, and I haven't figured out how to account for the effort spent climbing when trying to forecast distance. And although I was feeling pretty strong today, between the constant headwind and a 2,000 foot climb I just wasn't able to push as far as I hoped.
I've heard from a few other cyclists that they think Montana is the most beautiful state they have passed through so far. The people who say this are typically from the east, and I think it is interesting how what they are accustomed to shapes their perceptions. I have found Montana since Yellowstone, although beautiful, to be somewhat mundane. But then I realized that I have Nevada in my blood, and I take for granted wide mountain spaces and views that go forever. Montana reminds me quite a bit of Nevada, only perhaps the sagebrush is more healthy here. But just as I was swept away by the lushness of Virginia and Kentucky, someone who has never enjoyed the vistas of the West will be seeing and enjoying all this for the first time. The same terrain that for me feels almost like home is for them another taste of the exotic great wide open.
When I got to Dillon I finally had to accept that I wasn't going to get any further today. Dillon sits at the foot of a 1,600 foot climb that would be between me and any possible place to camp, and although I wasn't exhausted I didn't think I had three more hours of riding in me. With no parks or public lands nearby to camp in, I headed towards the RV park where I would be spending the night.
Twice during the day's ride I had crossed paths with a couple from Belgium, and they pulled into the RV park only minutes after me. Albert and Sophie are on their honeymoon and spending it bicycling from Colorado to Montana. Talking with them gave me yet another perspective on the type of living I take for granted. To them, the West still seems new and untamed, full of opportunity for discovery. They picked my mind for what I knew of the wildlife and the fate of the native tribes, before I left them alone so that I could find dinner and they could do their honeymoon thing.