Today was a day of real contrasts. While only 90.9 miles there were times it seemed like 909.0. The first 12 miles were all construction. The road was terribly rough where the top layer of asphalt had been scraped off, and there were sections where it was just gravel and terribly uneven. I took all of my skill to stay upright. Then we turned off towards Flesher Pass. For some reason I had it in my mind that it was at around 45 miles which meant I would have a 33 mile grind at 6 mph it was going to be a long day. As it turned out it was at 19.5 miles and there was only about 3 which were a grind. I saw two deer and a fox on the climb. I got to the summit and the continental divide and was elated. Pictures were taken and congratulations awarded. The terribly steep down hill we had been warned about in rider meeting turned out to be pretty mild as well.
Lunch was at the 49 mile mark and I was there by 10:45. However it was Mexican day and there was so much cilantro being put into everything that it made my eyes water just being near the picnic table. So I grabbed a ham sandwich and hit the road. The smell of cilantro had permeated my clothes and for the next 20 miles that is all I could smell. I know you either love it or hate it and I am in the hate it category.
I rolled in to Helena feeling strong and with just 40 miles to ride I was in great shape. However after I got out of town the dread head wind started and my 2 hours turned into a 4 hour grind. The best I could manage was about 10-12 mph and it was down hill. At the 65 mile mark I ran into more construction and was held up by the flagman for 45 minutes. As I was there this other couple of sectional riders rolled up and when we did get to go they got in front of me. After the construction I am trapped behind them and they are riding two abreast down this incredibly busy road. There is no way to pass with the head winds, and every car blows its horn at them. However they are too into themselves to notice. Finally we came to a little town with a store so I went in and grabbed a coke.
I came out and the wind had died down and with only 15 miles to go I jumped on the pedals and flew into town. There was a huge thunder storm behind me and a lot of the tail end of the ride got hit. I was so glad to be in before the storm.