Gloom, Despair and Agony on Rogers Pass - Undaunted Porridge - CycleBlaze

July 10, 2018

Gloom, Despair and Agony on Rogers Pass

Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me.                      -Hee Haw

The cow says, "Moooooowhy the hell are you riding uphill against 20 mph winds?"
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Today was one of the hardest days so far, probably tied with the ride to Hiawatha, Kansas on May 26. 

We left the excellent accommodations in  Simms at about 5:00 because we had a long mileage day and a lot of climbing to do. Oh, and winds were scheduled to reach 18+ by noon. Rogers Pass, 27 miles from Simms to the top, is the real entry to the mountains along this route, but the climbing started almost immediately. The inclines were steady, fairly steep and long, but not unmanageable, especially since the wind was not a factor yet.

Heart 7 Comment 1
Dee Fortesky is beautiful!
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1 year ago
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The ride was scenic, with decent shoulders and light traffic mitigating the constant rollers and inclines. However, the traffic that did pass was moving at approximately the speed of the Space Shuttle for some reason. This is a distinct change from the drivers in the previous states, and that theme continued throughout the day. 

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We stopped for a brief food and water break at the Middle Fork of the Dearborn River before the final steep 8 mile section of the climb, and then began the ascent. Gay said he'd wait for us at the top, so up we went. It was mostly decent grade, but the winds started picking up significantly, and were pushing us back at 18 mph, gusting to about 1000, give or take. Traffic also got very heavy; semis, work trucks, sedans, SUVs, double cab duallies; all driving ridiculously fast for the road configuration and condition. I understand it's tricky to navigate a large semi going up a steep pass, especially with no shoulder, and most of them attempted to pass safely. But the others in pickups and SUVs were driving cluelessly and like (jerks).   There is a difference between driving 85 on a flattish or rolling bit of road with long sight lines and driving 75 on a steep, twisty mountain road with no shoulder and tons of traffic. 

It was hot and wind gusts were blowing me off of the road surface (the 4 inches I had) into the "shoulder" which consisted of large rocks and loose sandy gravel. So when some Yahoo came blazing by, I had to bail into this gravel, which stopped me cold. So then, in the face of 20 mph winds and a 6% grade, I would have to start back up the hill. 

Jen had the same struggles.  She was ahead of me but stopped occasionally to breathe and hydrate. 

Gay reached the pass in about 1 hour 45 minutes, Jen arrived about 20 minutes later, and I arrived about 20 minutes after Jen, so my average speed was just over 3 mph. 

Jen got to the top and was so frutstrated that she told Gay, "I'm going to go over here to have a meltdown." At this point a Montana Game Warden, seeing Jen's meltdown asked Gay if she was ok. By then she composed herself (sometimes you just have to go ape shit for a minute-I can relate) and they talked to him while I was chugging up the hill. We gathered ourselves at the summit, and, oh yeah, we had reached the Continental Divide. 

The Continental Divide- No, we didn't ride in the truck. But we would have. And so would you.
Heart 7 Comment 3
Li LaGlad you made it safely uphill, in the wind, super heat, with crazy drivers nearby.
Be safe out there.
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1 year ago
Ron GrumbyTo Li LaThanks!
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1 year ago
Paula LentowichIt sounds miserable but inspite of that YOU DID IT - way to go!
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1 year ago

We had another 20 miles to get to Lincoln, but that would be easy because it's down hill. Haha, just kidding! It's down hill all right, but remember the wind? It was still blowing at our faces, and harder than before. 

One of the pleasures of riding a bike is flying down hill after a hard climb. One of the most frustrating things is knowing you're going to have to pedal the whole way just to keep moving.  

But pedal we did, and it was only slightly less difficult than the climb. The road was much better on the west side and although there were still a lot of insane driving, it was less terrifying with the better shoulder and rumble strips. But the wind was determined to have its way with us, so we grinded the distance to Lincoln in the sun going 6-10 mph at full pedal.  It was exhausting. We were both having a very hard time, but we finally hit Lincoln and saw Gay's bike parked in front of a diner, The Pit Stop. We leaned the bikes against a fence unlocked, secretly hoping someone would steal them, and joined Gay at the table. It was amazing when we got our Cherry Coke and lemonade and cheeseburgers.  

Heart 6 Comment 2
Dee Fortethat looks delicious - love the line "Secretly hoping someone would steal them!!" :))
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1 year ago
Ron GrumbyTo Dee ForteWe wanted the bastards gone from our lives.
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1 year ago

Jen and I decided to get a hotel instead of camping tonight and she was leaning towards a rest day tomorrow. Gay was going to camp but ended up getting a room at the same hotel, the Three Bears. Lincoln is the closest town to the Continental Divide Trail and two major bike routes, the Lewis and Clark, and the Great  Divide route. There are signs welcoming hikers and cyclists all over town. Lincoln is also known for being home for Ted Kasinski, the Unbomber. He actually lived outside of town in the hills a couple of miles from here. 

Tge Great Divide and Lewis and Clark bike routes, as well as the Continental Divide Trail (hiking) pass through Lincoln.
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We had dinner at the Bushwacker, Taco Tuesday! $1 hard shell and $1.25 soft shell. Then Gay went to his room while Jen and I sloshed our jellowey legs back to the grocery store for a few things, including a 24 oz Budweiser (it's hard to find good beer sold in singles out here). Then we slithered back to the room, ate some microwave popcorn, drank beer and collapsed into a hard sleep. 

PBR- It's better than nothing.
Heart 5 Comment 6
Scott AndersonPretty good motto! Send it in as a suggestion to their ad department.
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1 year ago
Ron GrumbyTo Scott AndersonGreat idea! It also applies to Budweiser, so maybe I'll pit them against each other.
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1 year ago
Alain AbbateI think Lewis and Clark ran out of whiskey on July 4. By mid-July they probably would have been willing to settle for a PBR.
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1 year ago
Bruce LellmanIf you feel really overheated at the end of a long day and get a Budweiser or Pabst try adding ice cubes. I've never seen this done in America but it's commonly done in Thailand and we got to like it especially if the beer was watery to begin with. It made it even better than nothing!
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1 year ago
Ron GrumbyTo Alain AbbateI'm sure they would have appreciated the PBR!
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1 year ago
Ron GrumbyTo Bruce LellmanI will do it and report back.
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1 year ago

Today's ride: 58 miles (93 km)
Total: 1,325 miles (2,132 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 10
Comment on this entry Comment 10
Andrea BrownPretty sad that I can still sing along with the Hee Haw song (including the groans).

You guys deserved those cheeseburgers. Well done!
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1 year ago
Sue PriceWell done! Any beer tastes great after a day like that!
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1 year ago
Rachael AndersonAwesome! You did it. That sucks you didn’t get to coast after the long, arduous climb!
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1 year ago
Suzanne GibsonThe agonizing ride made for a great read, anyway. And I know that feeling when you just hope somebody will steal your bike. lol
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1 year ago
Ron GrumbyTo Andrea BrownI remember my grandparents watching Hee Haw and it was basically the same jokes every week.
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1 year ago
Ron GrumbyTo Rachael AndersonThanks! We have had some good descents and hopefully more as we continue.
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1 year ago
Ron GrumbyTo Suzanne GibsonYeah, you know it's been a rough day when you want your bike stolen.
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1 year ago
Ron GrumbyTo Rachael AndersonYeah but we hope to make up for it on other descents.
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1 year ago
Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnOh geez, I do know that obnoxious moment when you've reached the top only to find the wind is blowing straight at you so as to make the decent nearly as arduous as the ascent - AARGH! Glad you all made it despite mother nature's best efforts to rebuff your efforts. Congrats on making it all the way to hamburgers and lousy beer.
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1 year ago
Ron GrumbyTo Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnYes, I'm sure you can relate to the evils of headwinds.
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1 year ago