Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 17, 2013: MIM Day 2, Ennis MT to Dillon, MT -- Let's wake up those climbin' legs!

We left Ennis at about 8:50 this morning. Fred tells me that it was 45 degrees, but it was really quite pleasant, sunny with no wind at all. We started our climb in less than three miles and rapidly locked in at 7%, where it remained until the summit at mile 11. That was 90 minutes later. There was a short flat stretch, a few hundred yards maybe, before starting a descent, also 7%. Fred has a pact with his wife Pat to keep his speed under 30 on these descents, but I have no such agreement with Kathy and enjoy fast descents when conditions (visibility and road surface) are good. Nevertheless, I did not want to get too far ahead of Fred because I didn't want to have to pedal back up if he ran into an issue, so I stopped once to let him catch up, and slowed down again as I got close to Virginia City. Even so, it took less than ten minutes to get down the mountain that took us 90 to get up. I stopped altogether at the edge of town to investigate an ancient, abandoned gas station. Eventually I was able to discern a price of 41.9 cents on one of the pumps. There were only the three price wheels, so these pumps could not have gone beyond 99.9 cents under any circumstances.

Virginia City is done up as a tourist attraction, with lots of antique stuff in buildings that look as I imagine they might have at the end of the 19th century. I am partial to that period as the fashionable gents of the time sported nose ticklers similar to my own. Anyway, it is not overly commercial and attractive in its own way. Regardless, we looked around from our rolling bicycles and were not tempted to stop for more than a couple of photos.

From there we continued a shallow descent to Sheridan, MT, where we had lunch, after about three hours of riding. Back on the bikes we had a pleasant surprise -- an eight mile 2% downgrade that had us effortlessly rolling along at 20 MPH into Twin Bridges, where we turned toward Dillon, our destination, 28 miles down Hwy 41.

About 15 miles from Dillon we stopped to chat with Park (his name), a 23 year old man from South Korea who is riding the Adventure Cycling Trans Am route from Astoria, Oregon to the Atlantic shore in Yorktown, Virginia (4,200 miles). He gave us each a folding card that explains that this bike tour is an item on his 28 point bucket list, which surely must have lost something in translation.

Park's "Bucket List"

Shortly after this encounter, the road morphed into a long series of rollers that I found to be an unexpected and undesired change this late in the day's ride. Fred and I both started have periods of fatigue and energy, but completely out of sync with one another, and for the first time the weather actually felt a bit warm. At any rate, we made it into Dillon and came up beside another cycle tourist, Greg, who is close to the end of the same route as Park, but in the opposite direction. He was quite congenial, and we may encounter him again over the next few days. He is a bit younger than we are and is camping instead of doing motels as we are.  Dinner tonight was uninspired Chinese, followed up by some local "Scotch Ale" we acquired at a convenience store.

Today's ride was about 72 miles, a bit over five and a half hours on the bike, and about 2,800 feet of climbing.

We had some especially nice views of the valley as we climbed out from Ennis this morning. Here they are, along with others from the day.

Across the street from our hotel in Ennis

Probably all for the best that they were not open this early in the day. I have more than enough bike jerseys, but I might have been tempted to add one of these to the collection.

This is a house with a view that one could never tire of seeing.

Beautiful view of the valley out of which we were climbing.

A most welcome sign after our 90 minute, 7% climb.

On the way into Virginia City. All sold out of 41 cent gas.

Virginia City definitely caters to tourists, but relatively tastefully.

Lunch spot in Sheridan, MT

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