Day 29: The day of the tailwind

Day 29, 7/12/15, Vida, MT to Glendive, MT: 80.2 miles, 3,949 ft. elevation gain, 13.5 mph average speed
Trip Totals: 1,426 miles (62 mile daily average), 71,030 ft. elevtion gain, 11.6 mph overall average speed

Four and a half days behind schedule.

(Note: at some point during each of the last three days, Ted’s phone lost GPS, so the stats for the day might not be completely accurate. The distance is at least close, but the daily average speeds are estimates.)

Tailwind! For 50 miles! 50 miles in less than 3 hours! After it took us 3.5 hours to complete the first 30 miles when that same wind was a headwind. What a difference wind makes!

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We woke up bright and early today (4:30a) to avoid those 20+ mph crosswinds we had at the end of the day yesterday. I was not happy about it. Our pace and sleep schedule feel unsustainable to me right now, but I’ll just keep chugging along until I feel confident we’ll make it to Niagara Falls in time to visit Ted’s family.

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We started off at 5:30a and I could actually feel my heart sink when I noticed the grass blowing toward us about 6 miles in. We’ve not had to deal with headwinds this early in the day, and we still had 24 miles before we finished these rollers and reached a turn that we hoped would put the wind at our backs. With the wind and rolling hills, those first 30 miles were hard.

We got some low-quality processed sugar products for breakfast at the convenience store in Circle, MT, then made a 150 degree left turn, turning that crosswindy headwind into a tailwind!

This tailwind made me think I’ve never experienced a tailwind before. The first 15 miles after the turn were uphill and we cruised up at around 15 mph, and once we crested the hill we cruised into Glendive at around 25 mph. We got to town at 12:30p and felt we should take advantage of the wind and push on, but we had a warm showers place to stay, so we called it an early day.

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We were hoping for a cute coffee shop to sit at and blog all afternoon, but there were no coffee shops in town. We ate burgers and fries at a converted Dairy Queen (renamed Re-treat) because it was the only non-dive bar open on Sunday in town. Pretty divey town, that Glendive. The burger was huge and the bun was a normal size. It reminded me of Chris Farley singing “fat guy in a little coat.”

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There were two other groups of cyclists in this place, a couple cycling the northern tier from east to west on a supported charity ride to raise money for MS research and a family of three (a dad and 14-year-old girl on a tandem and a mom on a single) riding the northern tier to their home in Maine. We traded tips for our upcoming travels (we should expect rainstorms, more biting insects, humidity, and Midwestern hospitality) and we all ate lots of grease and ice cream.

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We then headed to our warm showers hosts’, Joy and Glen, house. They built a beautiful log cabin on the Yellowstone River and they let us stay in one of their guest rooms. This is their first year hosting on warm showers and they’ve gotten a deluge of guests so far. We very much appreciate their hospitality! There was another cyclist there, Jace, a 20-year-old who is cycling from Connecticut to Oregon for his sister’s wedding. He created his own panniers out of kitty litter buckets to cut costs and they are waterproof and fairly lightweight. Great idea, and he thinks it’s gotten him a lot of pity-related kindness.

We got to cook red beans and rice in a real kitchen and shared it with Jace while discussing jazz music. Then to bed because we have an early start tomorrow for a 100-mile day!

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