About 2 miles!
Pretty relaxed rest day today. Went out to a bar last night which had a pub quiz. Was the most high tech one I have ever been to. They had all the questions up on a powerpoint presentation, and recorded all the scores on a spreadsheet! Didnt help us much though. First couple of rounds were ok, but we tanked in the last two!
This morning I hung around the hostel till about midday. One cyclist turned up who had spent the previous night ninja camping n the university campus somewhere. He didnt want to stay at the hostel, but just use the showers! He was planning to cycle through all 49 states on the mainland, and had been going for 11weeks so far. It kind of seemed like he wasnt really enjoying himself. He said he was thinking of quitting when he got to Missoula! He was also complaining about the heat, despite the fact that he was wearing thermal tights, a long sleeve top and various other hot clothes. Apparently he was doing it to save money on suncream, but it didnt seem a very sensible trade off!
Although when I was leaving, I did get reminded that no matter how much kit you're carrying, there is always someone with carrying more!
I was toying with the idea of doing a short day, maybe just back down to Lolo, and then getting ready to start from there. But in the the end, decided to just head a little out of Missoula and get a room. The hostel was good fun, and it was a great place to meet people. But it can be a bit hard to rest up sometimes as people are always coming and going in the rooms. This wasnt a problem the last couple of nights since I was doing anything, but tomorrow is back to the important business of riding, so a goods night sleep will be good.
By the time I had packed up, got a room and sorted a few things out, it was already early afternoon. Popped to a shopping mall and got myself a new t-shirt. I only had one 'going out' t-shirt and it was getting a bit dirty, so I am now the proud owner of a Montana Grizzlies (thats the university's sports teams nickname) t-shirt! Also did a bit of food shopping. The next couple of days I wont have many services on route, and will probably be camping in quite remote, forestry commision campsites, so stocked up on a bit of food to get me through.
Tomorrow I start what feels like the fourth and final chapter in my trip. I feel the journey so far can be split into 3 distinct parts.
The steep, windy roads of Virginia, Kentuck, Illinois and Eastern Missouri. This was when I was still getting used to what I was doing. The roads were generally challenging, with very little in the way of long flat sections. It was also quite a indirect route. There was lots of heading north and south, picking my way through the Appalachians.
Then came the Western Missouri to Pueblo section. Defined by generally much flatter, straighter routes, I was now heading on a much more directly western direction. This was also by far the hottest part of my entire ride.
Then the last section has been when I started heading north from Pueblo. This was the 'high elevation' section of the route. Lots of mountain passes, stunning scenery and the beauty of the National Parks.
Then this last 1,000miles will be heading more west again. I'm also expecting it to be quite green and lush (I may be wrong though!) and possibly a bit wetter too.
It also feels like the opposite of when I was at the start – back then I was seemingly always saying “once I get to the next section of maps I'll start upping the mileage” as I was struggling to do the required amount. Now it's more a case of “I'll just do this one next section at a quick pace, and then I can slow down”! Although I guess its a nice position to be in!
If everything goes well, the next time I post an update, I'll be in Idaho!