Mileage from start: 1,258
We joined U.S. Route 2 in Cut Bank and have been following it for the last couple hundred miles.
It is mainly chip and seal pavement of various ages and roughness. It doesn’t make for the worst riding ever (that’s large pieces of gravel) but it does properly shake you up.
The shoulder width has varied from six feet wide to nonexistent. Mostly it’s about three feet wide with a foot-plus taken up by deep rumble strips. That leaves us with about a foot to roll over random rocks, broken glass, other debris and the least smooshed down sections of chip and seal. I’m honestly surprised we haven’t gotten more flats.
Riding in these conditions isn’t all bad. We’ve had a steady tailwind for the last two days, which has been great. We make awesome time with very little effort. But speed on these roads takes considerable concentration. So while the biking isn’t very physically demanding, it takes it’s toll mentally. There are just so many decisions to be made in very little time, which increases the faster you travel.
Fortunately, our brains are getting used to the work along with our bodies. Things that ached at the beginning, like sit bones, have adjusted. My knees are still making some noise, but I think they are coming to terms with what I’m asking of them. My hands are better adjusted to the rattling, but they still don’t like it.
It was super windy last night. At 7 a.m. the tent was smaller from the wind coming at 16 m.p.h. steady from the southwest.
We got up and moving earlier than usual which brought us to 109 miles covered by 5 p.m.
We stopped for ice cream at the half way point for the day. The temperature was still chilly enough that the wind made my hairs raise. But by 3 p.m. I was down to just shorts and a shirt, the first time in Montana that I’ve biked without a layer on my arms.
We stopped for the night at a B and B that allows campers. This area of Montana has gotten an unusual amount of rain this spring, our host said, so the mosquitoes are out in force.
We showered and snacked and listened to podcasts. Now Richard is asleep and the underside of our tent fly is teeming with black flies and mosquitos that can’t find their way inside.