Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Day 59: Seeking Wisdom

Day 59
Dillon to Wisdom 68miles

Today I truly discovered Wisdom. To be honest, it wasnt that hard. It was clearly marked on my maps. Just take highway 287 out of Dillon and you cant miss it! Although actually locating hwy 287 was a little tricky. The turning out of Dillon wasnt that well signposted, so it took a bit of backtracking to find it. But once I did, I was on the path to Wisdom!

The path to Wisdom was also quite hilly! The first part of the day involved a couple of pretty big climbs. The first one was around 1,500ft, rising out of Dillon. The initial approach was quite gradual but it got steeper as I got higher. Progress was pretty steady, and I eventually reached the top of Badger Pass, at a height of 6,760ft. Then followed a short descent and then I was straight into climb number 2. The ride up to Big Hole Pass was tougher, and coming so soon after the previous one, pretty tiring. On the way up I passed a few different cyclists coming the other way. Was just stopping to take a photo of the scenery when the first one came round a corner. As ever, we had a bit of chat. Art was off to Wisconsin, starting from Astoria. Soon after I encountered a Dutch couple who were riding from Portland, OR to New York. Then, as I was slowly nearing what I hoped was the summit, a group of 5 riders were coming down the hill, strung out along the road. That equals my highest number of people passed in a day!
The view heading up Big Hole Pass

The last little bit of hill was very steep, and slow going. From the lowest point after Badger Pass, this was about another 1,400ft of climbing. Stopped at the top to take a photo. The view was pretty amazing – snow capped mountains in the background. Apparently it actually snowed yesterday in a part of Colorado I had ridden through!
And the view going down the other side!

By this point I had done almost 40miles, and it was tough going. I think my legs are feeling all the recent climbing. Its been 8 days and almost 450miles since my last day off. Im looking forward to Missoula and having some time off.

When I crossed over Big Hole Pass, I had also reached the highest point that I will encounter for the rest of my travels. I have Chief Joseph Pass tomorrow which is just a little lower, but then after that I dont think I have anything over 6,000ft.

Getting to Wisdom was important in my plan of getting to Missoula soon. The first town after the summit, Jackson, was a potential stopping point. But I reached there by about 12:45, do decided to push on and do the 18miles to Wisdom. The good thing about doing that was that it would be 18 less miles to do tomorrow!

And actually, the last stint wasnt too tough. Road was flat, with a very slight downhill grade. And I think I even had that rarest of beasts – a tailwind!

Pulled into Wisdom about 2:30 and managed to find somewhere to stay. As I was heading out later, I saw another cyclist who was looking for somewhere to stay, so we agreed to split the room. Jerry is doing the Lewis and Clark route (which follows a famous exploration of the States) from west to east. Im not sure if that means technically its 9 people passed today. Since we ended up in the same town, I guess we havent actually crossed paths!

A good day today. Definitely feeling a bit tired, but still made it up a couple of big hills. Tomorrow I have a nice long downhill section – Im looking forward to it!

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