So, Dear Reader, someone asked, “What is a typical real bike and rider?” Ha! As if there is a typical. One might say that PAC Tour riders come in all shapes and sizes, but…..human engines that can crank out 100 – 150 mile days are going to be fit with a high probability of a svelte build. But we have tall engines and short engines and in between engines.
Now, Dear Reader, some of you might think the human engines are young. And, some are. We have a 20 year old track sprinter from Peru, but we also have several riders over 70 with an average age of 59. While the human engines skew male, there are plenty of women with fast and slow riders of both genders. Yes, a very mixed set of humans.
But, more importantly….what about the bikes!!?!?!?!? After all, it is the bikes that I care about (and, Dear Reader, I hope you do, too!). For that, we find a few fine steel bikes in the crowd including another purrr-ty red Waterford. Ah….now that human has good taste in bikes, eh? There are a handful of titanium, but the vast majority of bikes are carbon fiber. Nothing against those carbon fiber bikes, but I do worry about their longevity. Sure those bikes may outlast their humans, but why limit yourself to the age of a single human?!?!?! All I can do is hope that their humans are taking good care of them. (chuckle…I did hear one rider thank her bike after today’s ride…ah…now that was sweet…sigh…I barely get a pat on the saddle some days my human is so shot).
But, that motely crew rides down the road with the really fast riders quickly finding themselves at the head of group and, over time, slower riders filtering towards the back. But, in the end, the riders cover the same distance and the same hills; some just take a little longer.
So, today was a short, easy day from St Regis to Missoula. Lovely backroads thru forests and farms were interspersed with the dreaded freeway riding that is common in the West. In some respects freeway riding is easier in that you have a 12′ shoulder and can keep a distance from the vehicles. But, if the shoulder has debris (like torn up tires with those evil, evil wires that can puncture my tires….ouch…they hurt) you have no choice but to stay on the shoulder and try to avoid the worst of the debris. But, today, the freeway riding was on and then off at the next exit which makes it a bit easier — no need to cross over on and off ramps.
Tomorrow a van bump for us and then a ride into Butte. Stronger again today, but playing it safe and sticking to 100 mile rides for a couple more days. The real bikes and riders are looking at 133 miles
Details: 78 miles, 2047 feet of climbing, 13.7 strain
Reading List: The Adventurer’s Son Roman Dial The story of a father’s search for his son in Costa Rica.