Today is the day. If you make it to day seven and Butte Montana, you are more than likely going to finish the race. I can make it. I can make it. I can make it. I wake up smelling like piss for some reason. I pack my gear, eat some food and hit the road. I have miles to make it to Butte.
The miles are rolling. I have came to terms with having to walk my bike up some of the hills. The idea that I am going to be able to maintain 10 miles per hours is out the window.I am feeling good and the temperatures are warming up. Around midday I make it town and take a photo of the icon Butt Stuff Shop. Giggle.
I casually pedal toward the downtown area and scope out the restaurants. There is a pizza shop that will do just fine. I eat and nap for an hour or so. It is very pleasant. Up until this point I haven’t had any music and all I have is my phone. The hours on the road have been getting lonely. On the way out of town I stop at a gas station to resupply and buy some headphones. The sound of something other than my heavy breathing is nice. Heading out of town there is a cyclist headed toward me. This is a long steep hill that I will not ride twice if I don’t have to.
I stop to make sure I am not headed in the wrong direction. He comes back down the hill to me and he stops and asks if I have seen his glove. Nope. He zooms off back into town. Screw that glove. I would have never went back for a glove. Especially down a hill like this one. I slowly climb and enjoy the view. As I crest the first set of hills I am passed by Brian. He is a TD veteran and is also in the Inspired to Ride movie. His first TD he finished the last 2000 miles or so with a broken wrist. Badass. He chats for a bit. He has been laid up sick with some sort of respiratory problem. He now has a bandana over his face and is trying to keep the dust down. We also chat about Fleecer Ridge. It is coming up and is supposed to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. He reminds me how lucky I am to be riding the ridge as the sun is setting. “Once in a lifetime dude”. He pedals off into the distance. Even sick he is one bad brother on a bike.
As my songs shuffle and I enjoy the ride, Mumford and Sons comes on. It breaks my heart. All I can think about is my buddy Flynn. We were supposed to ride this race together. He passed away in an accident a couple years before. I am currently pedaling the Lynksey Frame and lefty fork he purchased for it. I stop and sit on the side of the road sobbing like a baby. I really miss Flynn. He was one of the best men you could ask for as a friend. I remember that I am going to die at some point too. Now I am crying more.
I finally shake the feeling and remind myself that I need to keep pedaling. As I make the climb up the hill the sun is going down. There is a part during the Ride the Divide movie where they show people crashing riding down the trail on the other side of the ridge. I won’t, I am a way better rider than that. As soon as I start the descent, I flip over my handlebars and crash hard. I lay there for a minute or two trying to catch my composure.
When I get up I notice that there is only a few minutes of light left. I am not going to risk flipping again and decide to set up camp. I walk off the trail and across a wide open field to a tree next to a fence. When I get everything settled, I remember we are in bear country. I could hang my food from the tree. Right above my tent. So I do the only thing I could think of. I threw my dry bag full of food out into the field. At least then if a bear came I would hear it eating my food away from my tent and not directly next to it. Sleep comes easily.