Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 5 Bitterroot Wilderness, ID to Hamilton, MT 124.01 miles

The days seem to get harder, probably because I forget the actual feelings of prior days. But, no one should have to do two consecutive uphill days in a row. I misjudged my placement leading up to Lolo Pass by about 10 or so miles. I thought I had 40 to go. Adding extra insult the wind was in my face for the 50 miles up to the top. The views were great, but after 160 miles of going around the bend and around the bend again, I was ready to leave the mountains. Just as I was about to get to Lolo Pass at 5,200 +/- feet (not a lot of snow this time like Chinook) I met my first cross country cyclist headed to Florida, and later met a couple more at the top. They were supported and from Iowa/Illinois. They told stories of close calls and diving off the road to avoid getting hit. I didn’t have any to share. So far I had one car buzz me which was today, and 6 hecklers total for the entire ride, mostly all from the Seattle area. I don’t know what they’re doing different to draw the ire of drivers. For the equivalent 500 miles I get buzzed and heckled in Charlotte far more in that amount of space. US-12 has been great. One of the cyclists also said he was out of tubes, I offered one of mine since I only used one due to a bur imbedded into the front tire back at the hotel in Kennewick. He declined saying he had a patch kit. Personally I wouldn’t patch a tube when I would rely on it to keep me loaded upright on a downhill at 40 mph…
The downhill into Lolo, MT was easy, 25mph was the norm with the wind at my back. It was nice country with signs of moose crossings. I rolled into the intersection at US-93 and saw the wind in the 8 ft length US flags on the buildings indicating my southbound journey was going to be a hard one. I elected to stop and eat at the McDonald’s at the intersection. There was a casino there too along with a gas station and gift shop in the same building, so let me take a moment to vent: A casino has tables with dealers, a gaming hall has a bunch of electronic equipment that takes your money. There should be some kind of truth in labeling for gambling because I did not see humans. That’s my definition, probably not someone else’s.
So, of the 124 miles I rode today, maybe 35 were downhill. Like I said, no one should have to do two days of uphill. I did 125 miles yesterday, and about 90 today with a headwind. I should have done my homework a little more, southbound US-93 is all uphill, and where you can see the trees in the Carolinas to know the profile of the hills you are riding through, the Montana hill was just uphill with no profile to see if it was going to end. It just kept going. I would say to myself, “I’ll take a rest when I get to the top of that hill”, and when I did, there’s just more uphill. And, 15 mph wind in my face. I passed a woman loaded on a bike turning onto the highway, I think she said something to me but I kept pushing. I wanted to get somewhere with no wind. Plus, forget about the bike path provided if you’re loaded, you’ll also need a flotilla to get through the flooded parts. When I arrived in Hamilton an hour later than I thought I would, the desk attendant at the Days Inn (very nice) warned me of the hill I will face in the morning. Which is fine. I always love a good challenging hill like Chinook Pass, it was a pleasant surprise. Pointless uphills in the wind on broken tar patched pavement aggravates me.
Maybe what’s got me in a tiff is I went to the local brewery in town and it had closed at 8. I had tried to get in town by 7 but the wind and relentless uphill kept me from getting to Hamilton. The 10-12 hour days on the bike is tiring, I think I’m good for 100 miles or 6-8 hours. Anything after those parameters and I’m susceptible to sour moods brought on by environmental factors. I tried to sing my way through it with the blackberry but it was just through my teeth.
Twitter and Facebook folks have asked how I’m holding up. I apologize for not getting back to every inquiry individually, but here’s the overall basis of what I’ve done so far in concerns to my body:
On Day 1 I used the Chamois butt’r twice and it seemed to work. I neglected the second application on Day 2 and I’m still paying for it. I had a nickel sized blister burst a couple days ago and last night I awoke a couple times with some biting pains in the undercarriage. I went to Safe-Way today and bought some hydrogen peroxide, I’m a big fan of it and I know I’ll sit just right in the morning. As a reference for overall saddle time, I’m riding between 10-12 hours a day, so I think 3 applications of chamois butt’r should work.
When I get off the bike, the first thing I do is fill up the “dirty” water bottle (the water bottle with extra ingredients as opposed to the other one I never mix anything in) with Endurox for recovery. I haven’t had any muscle cramping or soreness to prevent performance. I have noticed an overall decrease in output though.
I typically do heavy carbs during the day with protein in the evening. I was thinking today that I haven’t had any cramps as I sometimes do, especially now that I’m swinging my leg over all my gear to mount the bike. If I did that after a race I would be on the ground in pain. I haven’t had any fruit in days, which I thought has been a big source of potassium to assuage any cramps. Maybe it doesn’t help.
During the ride I stretch the calves and also after the ride. I used to stretch the quads but I think it aggravates the tendons in my knees. I don’t stretch them anymore and I don’t have the knee problems (specific to that area in the knee, the problems I have now are due to gearing I believe)
My knees are my biggest problem right now which I assume is due to gearing. I’m running a 48 (I think, not a compact) on a 12/27. I could use some more teeth every now and then. My knees are reminding me of it each night.
Today’s calorie intake is a good one: 64 oz Powerade, ~120 oz of water, 1 clif bar, 1 McD’s Big-n-Tasty burger (x all the stuff added on it), Med Fry, a M&Ms McFlurry, a SafeWay ham & cheese sub, a chef salad x eggs, and 96 oz of beer.
Tomorrow’s trek is going to be very hard, all uphill and into the wind. I’m going to try for Jackson, MT at 91 miles. It’s 2 hours and 9 minutes according to Google. It’s a shorter day because of losing an hour in Mountain Time. I also want to hang out for a bit and visit a local bike shop next to the Best Western I’m staying in Hamilton. I think my chain’s lifespan is reaching a zenith. Let’s hope for the best.


  1. Hey Jim! Just found your blog through a link from a friend - best wishes for a safe and successful journey! I'll be sure to check in on a regular basis!


  2. good luck! when you get back, can you do my taxes?

  3. james, its jordan moore. dude, i rode charlotte to seattle in 2006 and kept it up to manzanita, or. 81 day venture for similar reasons. now i live in a town called (un)fairfield Iowa that i discovered on my way. aim for here. i can get you saunas and plenty of brew, healers mystics and organic food. (careful with the junk shit by the way, it goes in and has to come out, but by design comes out in the wrong places, aka knees). but aim for here, we need to talk and you have full hospitality and amenities to expect. bon chance!

  4. Just came across your blog! Hang Tough! Good Luck and I will keep an eye out for your posts.


  5. Take care of those knees! If they start screaming too loudly don't be to proud to take a day off. Remember my knee surgery a few years back? That was mostly from pushing through tendonitis.

    Be good or be good at it!

    -Dr. Dan

  6. James...Im the one who told my friend the bike messenger, Bill Fehr, in charlotte about you, he's the got the blog, then he told our mutual friend Jordan Moore, yes I know Jordy! So, get the hook up from Jordy, mmmmmmmmmm sauna! Take Dr Dan's advice too, take a day, and suck it up, buy a 37 or 38 chainring at that bike shop in jackson!!! Youll appreciate it, and remember, you aint in the south at the present moment!