Day Fifteen – Wisdom to Dillon, MT

STATS
Day: 15
Day Mileage: 65.8
Total Miles: 830.2

I woke up to my first frost this morning. Sleeping at higher than 6000ft! It was to be expected. The tent was warm-ish but I was mummied up and with layers on. I knew the cafe would be open at 7am so as I awoke at 6:30, I began to pack. I didn’t do a great job. I shoved a wet tent into its bag, my dirty clothes into a pannier and the rest whenever it could fit before riding the 1/2 mile into town. When I arrived, the cafe had. Sticky not saying hours had changed to 8am. That was there the night before I’m sure, I just read the menu hour saying they opened at 7am. No worries as the sun was beginning to poke out from behind the mountains, I’m not rue what the temperature was overnight but when I got into town with WiFi, it said 41 degrees. I waited outside the bar in town but heard some chatting and walked in where they were serving hot coffee for 50 cents for a tall to-go cup. I welcomed the warmness as I took my coffee and waited outside for the cafe to open. At 7:43 it did.

I never get pancakes at home nor do I make them, but I crave them on this trip. With pancakes,Vegas and bacon I was ready for the day… only after using the restroom to prepare myself for the ride: brushing my teeth, changing, quick sink rinse. I was meandering along trying to convince myself to get in the bike. I put on pants, a jacket, a buff and gloves and I was making my way to Dillon, Montana.

The first 18 miles to Jackson, I kept my warmer riding clothes on. I couldn’t quite figure out the temperature and it was relatively flat with a few climbs and a few descents with temp fluctuating. I stopped in Jackson for a coffee before riding on to the two big passes of the day. The climbing wasn’t to be terrible because I started at higher elevation to begin with but a climb is a climb and I had two of them. I passed a transam’er going west, John, and spoke to him briefly. He started in Massachusetts and is going to Astoria. Day 71 for him. As I approached my first climb out of the Big Hole Valley and over Big Hole pass at 7400 ft, it was a long gradual climb that I handled quite well. The descent for the next 10 miles was terrific. I had 30 more miles  with one more pass.

….and then the weather changed.

As I began the next 10 miles, the wind began to kick up. I was staring off in the distance at some dark clouds and could see rain that direction too. Problem was, I didn’t know the direction it was heading nor the direction I was heading. I just knew that I had wind and I was going directly into it. It made for slow going for the next however many miles. Lots of cursing. Lots of eating on the bike and lots of drinking. As I crossed a Badger Pass at what I’m sure was 4mph, I was ready for the descent into Dillon. 

The downhill was terrific, but was still battling somewhat of a wind, still had storms off in the distance but at least I knew I wouldn’t hit them. I crossed under I-15 and was in my final stretch of what turned out to be a long day. As I pulled into Dillon, I was wind blown and tired. The wind makes rides exponentially tougher and when you’re carrying panniers on both front and back, they act as parachutes and I’m not into track speed training. I made my way to both food and drink before heading to the Bike Walk Southwest Montana Bike Camp.

Once I arrived at the shower house, it was unreal. Just one building in a park, with views of the mountains surrounding Dillon, a bathroom, a shower and a rug where I ended up putting my sleeping pad knowing I was the only one using it tonight. I showered and sat on the porch before settling in and falling asleep just after 9pm.

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