David Freeze ride: Another tough climb and seeking Wisdom
Editor’s note: David Freeze is biking coast to coast. His trek started June 10 in Oregon. He’s sending dispatches from the road to be published in the newspaper, at www.salisburypost.com, and on his blog, “Gotta Run” at blog.salisburypost.com/gottarun
Tuesday, June 25
Today just didn’t feel right from the start. I knew the biggest climb of the trip so far was set for today, It took me longer than usual to pack up and get going from Hamilton, Mont., and right away there was a headwind. Very quickly I was starting to climb too. After about 16 miles, I came across the Montana Cafe in Darby. My breakfast was a good boost and I got some chocolate chip cookies for later. Most fun was meeting the whole family that runs the cafe.
Then it was on to more serious climbing. I met Megan Meo and Charlotte Cadieux from Co-Cycle Co-op along the way.
On to the climb. We had two alternates and I chose the shorter but steeper version of Gibbons Pass, ending at 6,951 feet in elevation. I saw a recently burned out forest and how nature was reclaiming it. The scenery was good, but not great. I was very close to the snow line, an elevation where there is still snow. It took forever to climb the mountain because the dirt road was extremely rocky, causing me to have to walk and push the bike for close to 9 miles. The ride down was not great either because that road was also very rough. It was a point of celebration to be off that mountain.
My goal was to make it to Wisdom, Mont., a town of just over 100 residents in the Big Hole Valley. It seems that I can see 100 miles in each direction, with huge mountains in the distance. Megan and Charlotte passed me again as we neared Wisdom. They are traveling with a group called Co-Cycle Co-ops, and are headed to Boston from Seattle. They travel in a group of eight and have a van to haul their supplies. Their principal sponsor is Organic Valley, one of the sponsors of our own Dairy Dash in September.
My mileage today was 74, but it was harder than some of the big days.
Tomorrow will include climbs over Big Hole and Badger Passes. There will be only one major climb left in Montana after that. I am great with that! Then, on to Wyoming.
Freelance writer David Freeze lives in Rowan County.