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Monday, 3 July 2017

Day 7 .. Sweat stains and troubled dreams

Firstly I would like to Thank EVERYONE for messages... comments... likes and shares. You are not only keeping me going but together we are spreading the word about LHS and helping Fight Back Against Cancer... and on that note... todays struggle (more about that in a minute) is dedicated to both Mike and Jules Peters who are inspirations to me on how to Keep Smiling through adversity and how to just get stuff done! 😁

Yesterday had been an epic day... todays aim was a little less ambitious. I wanted to see if the bike shop could look at the clicking creaking sound that intermittently emitted from my bottom bracket (on the bike not me) ... I also needed a pair of gloves as my LHS pair had been ripped and torn apart by the Divide

And so the day started with a 2 mile jaunt to Downtown Whitefish Glacier Cyclery. They said if I could wait a few hours they could look but I didnt want to wait. I had cleaned and re lubed the chain this morning and hoped that that helped. I did however purchase a new pair of gloves as I wasnt the only thing being ripped apart by this mountain bike route... my gloves were more hole than glove!!

Purchasing done and a Montana souvenir bought (important stuff right) it was time to try and put the metal to the pedal for a short 40 mile town hop... Colombia Falls... Swan River and finally Ferndale (or Big Fork). This shorter day was to position myself for another big day the following day. Much of today would be on tarmac and thus should be easy.... Hmmmm.

But the Cycling Gods decided to have a laff...
Firstly they provided a headwind....
Then they put lead weights in my legs...
Then they made them hurt like hell just turning the pedals....
Then they made a road that everyone said is flat... HILLY (reminded me of Missouri)
Then they made it unbearable to put my arse on the saddle..
Then they turned up the heat... and then some more....
So given the above... it was some of the slowest... most miserable miles I have ever done on a bike... BUT this is why todays miles are dedicated to Mike and Jules Peters... both of them demonstrate every day how to endure  in silence and  keep smiling in the face of adversity. Thanks Mike and Jules for being the inspiration for me to try to shut up... put up and see the best in the day...
What follows is everything else... the above notwithstanding that made me smile today!! 

Firstly .. as I thought it might be a boring A to B day... I resurrected my animal list...
Today I saw ..
2x deer 
1x skunk (dead)
2 squirrel (1x dead.. 1x alive)
At least 10 prarie dog type things
1x woodpecker
1 Vole with long tail
AND 0 Bears!! 

I wasn't far out of Whitefish when I met Frank.  He made me feel better as I was catching up with him despite being on a loaded mountain bike. GO ME!! ..Then I caught him and realised he was in his 60's (go me...) and he said about having recently had surgery (go.. him!!)
I saw he carried Bike Spray so I asked him if he always did and what was the likelihood of seeing a bear here in this relatively populated area. He told me of one they keep having to get removed and another the other week that was wondering around town... apparently they forgot to notify the school. He said he never goes biking without it! Right... won't be loosening my grip on that just yet then! 

I stopped for a very early lunch at a nice sandwich bar /grill and when presented with a choice... chose an Elk burger... assuming that it was just called that ... but no... it was Elk!! Tasted like chicken 😁 I liked it so much and was trying to get the aching pain out of my legs that I ordered another! 

Whilst I was at lunch I received a message from a friend, Adela saying that my blogs put her little bike ventures into stark contrast and whilst her message of support kept me going today... it did get me to thinking.. 
Im lucky... I can just disappear for 4 weeks.. leave my snakes in the care of a good friend (Thanks Christine... hope they are behaving!)
and live a life on the road for a little while... but my intention is not to make people compare and contrast... rather make people think "what could I do?"... "How can I find my adventure?" Everyone has adventure in them... you just have to find yours! So I challenge anyone out there reading this... find your adventure... whether its a night hike or sleeping out under the stars (in your back garden if needs be) or taking a bike and some kit and go for a weekend bikepacking trip! Scale doesnt matter... all that matters is that it is an adventure and its yours 😁

All my adventures have shared one main thing in common... the people I meet who help restore my faith in humankind... joining the ranks of people like Faith and Tom (Route 66) Elaine (Route 66) Lorraine (peak district and then New Zealand) Roger (New Zealand) who I spoke to for less than 5 mins but now know about LHS foundation and follow these CraZy journeys...

Today I met  Megan H... who ...seeing me stopped looking at the map (more to rest my legs in truth than to look at the map)... informed me that if I was riding the Divide... I was heading in the right direction. She then reversed just to chat. When she found out I was looking for a place to stay in Ferndale she even tried to phone a friend to see if she could put me up for the night. Not having any luck connecting she gave me some much needed refreshment.. cold lemonade.
A cancer survivor herself she made me smile... picked me up off of my knees and gave me the impetus to get to where I was going.  The world is full of people like Megan and the others mentioned above and Im lucky enough to have had that re-affirmed today.

And lastly a word about the wierdness of life... my good friend David woke up last night and checked my progress... noticing that I had just gone off route ... shouting at the ipad didnt work so in hope he sent me a message... unable to sleep he opened a book about the Divide to find the author in the same place as me!!! Spoooky! 

Whilst in a hell on earth that was the aforementioned cycling gods messing with me I did manage to look around and admire (well I was going sooo slowly I had plenty of time for that!!)
Some of the houses or ranches are so beautifully built... situated in such a pleasant aspect.. that one cant help admire and be totally jealous. Ranging from full on ranches with corrals and stables and fields of horses to the more modest small holding with a corral in the front yard and a couple of horses. All against the Big Blue Sky (Awyr Las continues!!) and the backdrop of the mid-distant mountains and the slightly closer forrested foothills. The rolling pastures and corn fields in between were still green despite the endless heat and it was today the Montana that I had been expecting and dreaming of seeing with my own eyes. (Still no Tom Booker Soph!)

As I reached the turnoff to Ferndale and Bigfork... I decided to go to the latter as it had a greater choice of accomodation. It was also 2 miles off route but was the best 2 miles of the day. The cycling gods had run out of Popcorn and got bored of tormenting me. I ran along a flat... well gravelled lovely riverside path... And thanks to the nice couple Gina and Rick that kindly stopped... I have a non selfie  photo of me and my bike... hailing origjnally from Chicago they had moved out here to find the mountains and Id say they found a pretty damn good place to set down!!

And so ended my day of hell on 2 wheels but as always there were many bright shafts of light to brighten up my day


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P.S The reason for the title... I took off my merino baselayer (which STILL doesnt smell!)
You could see the white lined sweat stains whic brought to mind the song breaking point by Mike Peters, founder of LHS
Just summed up how the day felt at times 😁 particularly the throat burning dry!

"Sweat stains and troubled dreams, your throat is burnin’ dry
Caught in your worst nightmare, you cannot deny..".