“Ummm…Scott, I think we have a problem.”
We were sitting at the Swan Lake Trading Post drinking the last of our coffee and letting our egg sandwiches digest.
“The high in East Glacier on Tuesday is forecasted to be 37 with snow.”
Our plan was to take an easy day, possibly even a nero and stay in Swan Lake for the afternoon, then ride the 50 miles to Whitefish on Monday, pick up our passports at the post office, get a late start from town, ride halfway across Glacier, and then ride over to the east side of Glacier and up into Canada on Tuesday, and then do the hike to the border on Wednesday.
“Looks terrible through Thursday,” I added.
Middle of the trip, we would have just stayed put, but we’re so close to the end…
“Let’s go to Whitefish today, be the first in line at the post office, roll out of town as soon as we have passports, and then haul ass across Glacier,” I proposed. “It’s only 124 miles from Whitefish to Waterton.”
“With a 3,000 foot climb,” Scott pointed out.
“We can do it.”
That’s the beauty of both of us having done dumb stuff in the past – I know I can ride 2,700+ miles in 19 days across the GDMBR, Scott knows that he can ride the first 300 miles of the Arizona Trail in 50 hours without sleep, heck, we went and did a 90 mile day ride in the Big Hole Valley together just a few weeks ago that included 30 miles of CDT. Tomorrow is all paved! No problem!
We’d woken up fairly cold from our campsite. I think we’re both pretty over cold camp sleep. Our motivation for living wasn’t even strong enough to make breakfast. Instead, we dined on Almond Joys, crackers, and cheese sticks.
Luckily, the Trading Post was two miles earlier than we thought, a huge bonus as both of us were cold riding with all of our clothes. 40 degrees is cold when there’s no uphill to be found anywhere. They made egg sandwiches for breakfast, and BIG NEWS: Scott paid for his first coffee. He’s claimed he’s not a coffee drinker as long as he only steals mine and gets it at continental breakfasts. Corruption complete.
After eating and making our plan, we pointed northwards on the highway to rejoin the GDMBR in Ferndale. Pleasant cruising.
We ran into one cyclotourist who’s better half had a conference in Yellowstone in two weeks, so he was going down to meet her.
We met another group of four who’d started at Prudhoe and were headed south through the Americas. A pair of Belgians and a pair of Brits (?). They didn’t seem to be too fussed by the impending weather. “My sleeping bag is bigger than all of your gear put together!”
We found two more BOB trailer tourists in Columbia Falls after a few hours of paved pedaling. I’d love to see how many people are on the route during peak season!
We dined at a Mexican restaurant that had massive portions. Lunch and dinner! We made reservations in Whitefish for the night. We made reservations in Waterton for tomorrow night. With the plan in place, I felt like I had to get my feet up, hydrate, and log some horizontal time. Which is funny because I doubt (hope) that tomorrow isn’t going to be any more or less difficult than any other day out here.
It’s only one 3,000 foot climb…
We pedaled the 10 miles out of the way to Whitefish (should have had the passports sent to Columbia Falls, but who knew we’d be racing weather), bought our stash of calories for tomorrow, and settled into our hotel room. We have a bag of stuff we’re sending home in the morning, going barebones (+ camping gear in case things don’t go as planned), going fast.
Time to put the race face on. Yeah right.