Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back in Missoula, MT (Letter 3)

Letter 1
Letter 2

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Well here I am, back in Missoula, Montana! Spent the last week pedaling up to Glacier National Park and back. I've put in about 400 miles or so and it's some of the hardest cycling I've ever done. But all is GREAT! The ER Doc has been awesome, I've only had to mace him a couple of times. He carries my tent now and most of the food--it evens out our paces pretty well. He is very attentive to my blood-sugar needs (it's in his best interest) and patient with my bear fears. Mostly I draft him all day long but I'm starting to gain some strength. Yesterday on the 60-ish miles from Seeley Lake to Missoula in 90 degree heat with a headwind I was even able to pull a few times and give him a few 5-8 minute breaks. We tend to move along at a pretty good clip, usually averaging 15 or so MPH (which is fast when you're carrying nearly 100 pounds of gear/food/water/bike). On our 3rd day (heading north to Glacier) I bonked with about 12 miles to go until camp. I pulled over, knowing I needed to eat and before I knew it I ingested about 800 calories in under a minute: an entire jumbo-size can of smoked oysters, half a block of Tillamook cheddar cheese (I have long since given up slicing it and just bite straight off the block), one bag of peanut M&Ms, AkMak crackers, half a turkey cheese tortilla wrap--all in under a minute. Doc knew the situation was dire but I truly thought I'd be fine. About 15 minutes later I was done for. I popped my ipod into my ear and he towed me the rest of the way to camp, where I promptly collapsed in the parking lot. After half a dozen cheeseburgers and a day of rest I perked right back up, stronger than ever. Yesterday I invented the "Cheez-it Trough" so now I can stuff my face while riding at the same time. Excellent bonk prevention! I also discovered that mustard is best straight out of the bottle, squirted directly into the mouth. I have become a total savage. My legs are hairier than any man's, and maybe stronger, too. Lily the llama has been a stellar co-pilot and didn't complain once about the mud, rain, or sleet that we encountered on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. We climbed up Logan Pass at 6646 feet without issue and donned every garment of clothing we brought for the 22 mile descent back to Lake MacDonald on a day that snow was in the forecast (luckily we were spared). We've got some provisions to pick up this morning and we're off toward Lolo hot springs this afternoon. Today will be a leisurely 15 or 20 miles (we've been averaging about 55 each day). I am having the time of my life and there's nowhere I'd rather be! Next major town is Bend, Oregon and I'll try to send word from there. Sorry for the Morse Code nature of this email but time is of the essence and this air conditioning is cold and weird! I'm thinking of you all!

Much Much Love,

Darcy, Lily, Ginger, & Doc


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