Headwinds Part 11 (Day 11)

Day 11: Chinook, MT – Saco, MT

Distance: 92 miles

Vertical: 358 feet

Biking Time: 5:45

Another day, another headwind. It seems our “luck” with the wind continues to go from bad to worst. Over this trip we have encountered some form of headwind every single day of biking and it’s starting to get old. On top of that, according to most of the people we have talked to, westerly winds are actually very rare in this part of Montana… it almost always blows to the east, just our amazing luck I guess. So, as I said another day, and another headwind Matt and I had to battle through. Although today’s winds were only 5 MPH, compared to the 10-20 MPH winds Josh and Matt had to battle yesterday, it was still extremely frustrating to be biking as hard as you can and barely be going 17 MPH.

The ride itself was fairly simple and boring today. We saw some grass to our left, grass to our right, grass in front of us (you get the picture). In fact I think the only interesting thing to happen to me on the last couple days of riding through the plains was when I got chased by a German Shepherd, which was terrifying actually… ever want to see how fast you can run or bike have someone set one of those loose on ya. These spans of sheer boredom are broken up by short breaks which are becoming ever shorter due to the fact that apparently we are riding straight into the mosquito capital of the world, Saco, MT. I have never been so fearful of an insect the size of my fingernail and these mosquitoes are relentless and if I continue to describe these things anymore this blog post will go from PG to R real quick.

Now although this today’s ride had more than its fair share of negatives (like constant headwinds, billions of mosquitoes, seeing the same landscape of hundreds of miles, and getting chased by dogs) there were also a decent amount of positive aspects! We saw some trees today. There we go positive aspect. No, just kidding, this journey has been a huge learning curve for all. Honestly Matt, Josh and I had no idea what we were really doing coming into this. The farthest Matt and I had ever ridden was 50 miles… and we didn’t learn how to change a flat until about a month before the ride, and yet we continue to fly forward.

At this point our trio is basically like a very strange family. We got Josh with his motherly touch, constantly waking Matt and me up in the morning for breakfast, not to mention those flowing locks he’s got going, and ensuring everyone is ready for the day ahead. Matt is basically a child, I mean the guy took down his biker shorts to put on hydro-cortisone cream on his saddle sores and mooned about 20 cars driving down the street. And of course I’m the courageous father, always there to save the day. My point is, though, like a family we’re constantly there for each other and consistently pushing one another to continue on and never give up and although we argue, mostly about stupid things like whether or not it was appropriate for one of us to flip off a truck that almost hit us in a state where nearly everyone owns a dozen shotguns…, the arguments are soon followed by jokes and laughter.

With the help of these hooligans, I call 2 of my closest friends, I have started to learn quite a lot about myself honestly. There has been so many points in this trip where I have wanted to just fall over and lay in the ground and not move for hours because my legs hurt so bad, but Josh and Matt are always there to push me forward. Overall, this trip has taught me one of the greatest lessons I think I will ever learn: you can honestly do anything you put your mind to. I’ve began to realize most of the time I have given up in the past has been because I have simply convinced myself that I can go no further and this trip as showed me that the possibilities are limitless. Although we will no doubt encounter headwinds for the rest of our trip, with our luck, I look forward to every day of biking and every opportunity to push myself one step farther.

So, bring on the headwinds, bring on the hordes of mosquitoes and bring on the mile high climbs over mountain ranges (just please no more dogs, once was enough)

Nigel Hall

P.S. if you want to see pictures of our ride Google “grass field”.