Two Certainties in Life: Hills and Headwinds (Day 7)

Day 7: Libby, MT - Kalispell, MT

Distance: 90 miles

Vertical: 2,562 feet

Biking Time: 5:45

I have currently spent 34 hours and 45 minutes since last Monday sitting on my bike seat and the fear of soon becoming sterile is setting in.  Even the most cushioned of chairs is beginning to cause large discomfort, sorry Mom but you may never get Grandkids. My saddle sores scabbed over and I will soon have a bike seat shaped scar on my butt. The only way I can relate to the feeling is getting kicked in the ass 7,923 times by Anderson Silva. Oh, by the way, this isn’t Josh anymore.

Since last Monday, we have climbed a total elevation of 29,307 feet. That is enough to summit Mount Everest and then climb the Statue of Liberty. We did all of this without an oxygen mask, so take that Bear Grylls. I think Discovery Channel should make a show about us: “Hills and Headwinds”.

Over the past week we have entered three states and changed time zones yet Josh has not slack lined once. Withdrawals are beginning to set in as the realization that the ‘slack line across America’ dream is no longer a reality. I am not sure if it is possible to die from quitting being a hipster cold turkey, but I’ll keep you all updated as the ride progresses.

Montana Lake that we stop at to take a swim

Montana Lake that we stop at to take a swim

Today was a blisteringly hot day. Josh has taken the role as our alarm clock for this journey as he is always cheery, regardless of how early it is. It’s disturbing. Today he thought that he would do us a service by letting us sleep in until 7:40. The reason we woke up at that specific time was because it was already so hot that staying in the tent was unbearable. Looking back at it we should have left at 5 am. When we took our break to refill our water 60 miles into the ride, we noticed that it was already 90 degrees outside. Josh and I forced Nigel to drive us to one of the many beautiful Montana lakes so we could swim in it. We stayed in there and laid out by the dock for about an hour. It was exactly what we needed.

Dipping our heads in lakes along the way to stay cool

Dipping our heads in lakes along the way to stay cool

So far we have been 7 for 7 on having a head wind and they seem to be getting stronger the more I complain about them. A formal apology goes out to Nigel and Josh because I have no intensions of stopping my rants. Biking in a head wind is the worst. It gives you all of the sensation of climbing a pass with none of the rewards of descending it. If you throw a couple of hills into it then it’s like trying to run to your friend’s house while standing on a treadmill. Yeah, not going to happen.

The ride today, besides the wind and heat, went smoothly. We drank around 8 liters of water each (just shy of 2 gallons) and ate a bunch more Curate bars. I would have thought that eating 8 to 10 of those things a day would make me rip my hair out, but I really love product. The teal one is definitely my favorite, I strongly recommend. On the subject of product recommendations, I would like to give a shout out to GU Energy. Although they, unlike the Curate, refused to sponsor us, their product is incredible and has been a huge boost of energy when we needed it the most. I honestly believe that it is harvested by the hands of angels and aged in fields of laughing children, GU please give me free product, we are running desperately low.

When I looked through the route that Josh planned for us a week before we left, two days stood out to me. Day 4, the day that we climbed 7,399 feet of elevation over 94 miles, and tomorrow. Tomorrow is our first triple digit day of riding and we go through the continental divide in the Rocky Mountains. By some “miracle” Josh so happened to luck out and drive tomorrow, on one of the hardest days that he planned. Coincidence? I think not. I can’t complain though because today was a great day. While we were looking for a place to camp in Kalispell today, Josh got a message from our neighbor at AXO, Lindsey Trimmer, saying that we could crash with her and her boyfriend’s family. It was such a blessing and the shear generosity of the people housing us is inspiring and is greatly appreciated. The awesome people that we have met and the fact of knowing I won’t have to do leg day once next year are the two things that motivate me to keep going.

My ass somehow hurts even more,

Matt Gaylor