Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Day 16 - Should have brought two spares

Been looking forward to today for a while.  There will be 4 of us riding.  We will actually have a real-life Peloton (not the one I have a subscription to).  The best part is, if I play my cards right, I can just pedal from the back and get pulled all day!  The four riders include Skip, Craig, Jack, and me.  Unfortunately, Skip has to get back home to Missoula tonight so he and Betty will be leaving halfway through the ride. 

The day started just fine though a little more chaotic than normal.  4 riders significantly increases the time it takes to get on the road.  There are four sets of tires to pump up, filling up water bottles, packing up the RV and of course additional breakfast sandwiches (sorry Cheryl but they are a high demand item). 

It was further complicated by the fact that we needed to load all the bikes on the RV because there was a mile of gravel that we rode on yesterday that we DID NOT want to repeat.  We finally got to the starting point at a little after 8:00 am.  Pretty impressive all things considered.  We were riding a high for about the 15 miles......then it happened. 

Craig mentioned that he heard a little “noise” coming from the back wheel and wanted to pull over and fix it.  No problem.  About a mile later it persisted, and he wanted to fix it again.  No problem.  Starting up a hill, Craig pulled over and started walking his bike.  Big problem.  He took his back wheel off and discovered the hub catastrophically failed and there was no way to fix it.  Major problem.  

Think. Think. Think. Think.  Use the spare bike?  Nope, Jack needs that until his comes in.  Let’s go to a bike shop?  Nope, its Sunday and everything is closed.  Then Skip got the winning idea.  “I’m leaving halfway through today’s ride so just take my bike.”  BOOM!  Obviously, there are some minor tactical issues like returning Skips bike to Missoula and Craig retrieving his disabled bike from us in Billings.  Oh, and we are currently on the side of the road at Canyon Ferry Lake but hey, those are just details.  The big picture is we can continue riding!

Sadly, we had to say good-bye to Skip and Betty.  Cheryl and I so appreciated them taking the time from their busy schedule this week and joining us.  So much fun.   

So now the peloton is three (not sure that constitutes a peloton but I don’t care).  Jack on the spare, Craig on Skips bike and I’m on my bike.  There is no room for error now.  The ride ended up being excellent.  We were on HWY 284 with some light traffic and some initial hills but at about mile 40 things leveled off and we had what felt like a 20 mph tailwind.  I was in shock because whenever there is wind it is ALWAYS a headwind.  I think the biking gods felt sorry for us.  

We rolled into Townsend at about 2:30 pm and hit the RV Park a short time later for a shower and a little refreshment (Kettlehouse Double Haul IPA was my choice).  Our good fortune continued, we were sitting in camp, thankful we somehow made it to Townsend, when the phone rang.  Jack’s bike had arrived in Helena!  So we hopped into the RV and headed back to the Helena airport (again).  

I wasn't going to believe it until I'd seen it but YES we have Jack's bike.  Now he just needed to put it back together.  Jack is a master with bikes so that was no trouble at all, even with Craig and I heckling him from the cheap seats (ie lounge chairs).  Well done Jack.  Just in time for tomorrows ride in what should be the hardest since the infamous Biggs debacle.  

Craig, Jack and I will start together and then Craig will peel off and bike to White Sulphur Springs while Jack and I continue to Martindale.  

Until then......


  1. EXTRAORDINARY problem solving skills!!! WOW, love it. And love seeing those donuts and fritters but even more so pictures of Skip and Betty. Brings back really good Tri City memories at the hockey games. You are really cruising and taking it all in. WAY TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Amazing logistics on the bike issues. Great day of riding with three other bikers.