This blog post is the first in a series of 3 or 4 short stories on last weekends adventure I tagged as #H2H. The ride was hatched while I was driving back to Bozeman from Missoula two weeks ago but as the sun came up Friday my day off was not as I expected. I awoke with a pounding headache and nausea. My sinuses were totally plugged up. Just the thought of getting up to make breakfast was to much to bear.
As noon approached the Excedrin kicked in and got me out the door. It was a late start but my plan was to ride to the first town and make a determination according to how I felt. At 1pm I was pedaling down main street Churchill. I still had a headache but to turn back just didn’t sit well with me. I might as well ride … right?
I arrived in Manhattan around 30 minutes later and actually started to feel better. Mind you I wasn’t feeling like riding hard but just going easy was fine and I did look forward to the adventure. Around 2:45 I hit Three Forks and stopped at a market to see what sounded good to eat. I found sardines and a avocado. Upon sitting down to eat for the first time during the ride I quickly discovered that I would not get much. The avocado was rotten and the sardines were packed in mustard. I was so frustrated at not paying attention and buying the wrong thing I just jumped on my bike and headed out to Milligan Canyon. By 3pm I was back on gravel and heading onto a road that I didn’t know would work out or not.
By the time I was in the actual canyon I was experiencing burning in my lungs. In one hour the burning turned into actual chest pains and I started to worry. I was out in the middle of nowhere and if I had issues wouldn’t be found for quite some time. As I approached the top of the Tobacco Root Pass on the Cottonwood Road I was getting tingling in my arms and the heat was making my heart rate pretty high. I did not feel well and made a deal with myself that if I could make it to Cardwell I would call and wait for my girlfriend to come and get me. At 4:19 pm I crested the pass and headed down Cottonwood Canyon.
It took me a full 50 minutes to descend a few miles and what was frustrating is that I had been looking forward to trying out this section of dirt road for twenty years. Ever since I spotted it going to a cross country mountain bike race in Billings. As I coasted into Cardwell I knew what it was that could passably make me feel better. ICE CREAM. I didn’t care that I was nauseous and ready to puke. I stumbled into the general store and purchased a pint of Blue Bunny Vanilla. The product was pure heaven and within minutes I felt like biking to the next town just 10 miles of pavement to the West. Upon arriving in Whitehall I was feeling good enough to consider completing my intended route.
My girlfriend was well en route but it would take her two hours to reach me. And the more I sat near the Interstate at a convenience store the more I wanted to ride up the 2 to 3 hour climb to Homestake Pass. Next thing I know I was off headed up to find some elusive dirt roads that would take me there.
Unfortunately my H2Hroute was not meant to be. Well it will be. Just not last Friday. But it all worked out because my girlfriend called me asking if it wasn’t better to meet at Pipestone Pass near Toll Mountain. Great idea … I was just miles away.
And we found a great camp site.