Woke up to another perfect Montana blue sky.
The forecast was for a 50% chance of showers. Hmmmm…
The climb out of Basin on Cataract Creek Rd was beautiful but very tough.
Despite the climb, things were going pretty well until the Lava Mountain Trail. It was brutal! I had to push the bike up the first 1/10th of a mile or so and I was barely moving.
After the initial climb it became much better:
Then began a sustained downhill over lots of tree roots, big ruts, and some muddy or flooded sections. I had one minor fall as I attempted to stay far right to clear a rut and accidentally caught one of my fork mounted bags on a branch of a downed tree. No biggie, I just sort of sat down on my left butt cheek but I must have whacked my shin on the pedal on the way down because I noticed a nice big bruise there a while later.. Plus I discovered that my “bio-pesticide” insect repellant didn’t really work. (First place I stopped in Helena was a sporting goods store to buy some real chemical repellant.)
Just when I was getting real tired of the trail I met a guy going the other way. He started in Banff and he was going all the way! I felt sorry for him about to have to ride up what I had just come down! He told me I had some pretty nice reward coming for my efforts and wow he was right! Once I hit park lake it was smooth dirt road the rest of the way. Mostly downhill too!
There was one more climb before the last downhill into Helena and I did get rained on a bit.
When I got to town the first hotel I passed was the holiday Inn downtown. Too expensive, I thought. Well, after many phone calls I ended up there anyway. Expensive but worth it :
A bed for me and a bed for my bike. 🙂
Tomorrow is a long tough ride to Lincoln. Today was 40 miles and 3k feet of climbing and it about killed me; tomorrow is 60 miles and 5k feet! But tomorrow should be a lot smoother so we’ll see.