Saturday, June 24, 2017

I Sleep With My Alcohol

Day 21 - 6/24/17 - Ennis, MT to West Yellowstone, MT - 73 Miles

Average Speed - Uphill for 73 miles - no joke

Lodging - Madison Youth Hostel/Motel - too much
I chose an alcohol stove for this trip for 2 main reasons:

1. Simplicity- no moving parts, nothing to break
2. Ease of finding fuel

Alcohol stoves have one major drawback.  Alcohol is difficult to ignite when cold.  When I woke this morning it was 38 F...for a boy from south Louisiana, 38 F in late June is ridiculous!!!  So I've started this new routine of placing the fuel bottle just outside my tent and in the early morning I reach out, grab it and put it in the sleeping bag with me.  I snuggle with it like my own little teddy bear.  Igniting problem solved.

This morning my ride out of Ennis was long, straight and uphill.  But with companions like this...
Madison Range

Madison River

...the ride was most pleasant.

Even though the ride was predominantly uphill, I was feeling pretty good for the first 40 miles.  It was about this time that I met another cyclist going in the other direction.  We visited a while and then he said in parting, "you've got a bit of a climb coming up".  I reviewed the map first thing this morning, sure it was uphill,  but no big climbs, surely he was mistaken...then I came across this sign shortly after and I knew I was in trouble.
With a river rushing downhill on my right, I put my head down, got about the business of climbing and made it to the top.  I was rewarded with a spectacular view of Quake Lake, which was formed by a 1959 earthquake that sheared off the side of a mountain and blocked the Madison River.
Quake Lake

By this time I had 20 miles left to ride and I was starting to struggle and couldn't understand why.  I've had tougher days and didn't feel like this.  Then it dawned on me that I'm riding at 7000 ft, maybe that's a factor.  I stopped, calmed myself and decided to adjust my pace according to how I feel.  If it takes me 4 hours to cover those last 20 miles, so be it.

Readjusting my perspective helped alot and I was able to refocus on the scenery and not my pain...
Snow Capped Mountain Across Hebgen Lake

I made it to West Yellowstone and in so doing completed my last full day in Montana.  Tomorrow I have a short ride to cross into Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park.  I'm excited!

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