(My birthday 🎂 🎁🎈🍰)
Got up this morning and had breakfast with Drew at The Stray Bullet in Ovando. Drew told them it was my birthday, and the ladies brought me my meal with a breakfast candle in my rye toast. Drew got a picture, but even after 31 years on this planet, I still can’t keep my eyes open for a photo:
I started down the road, mostly more Montana ranch land, with some cool dune-looking hills on the way out of town:
It took a while to get out of the flatlands…..
Pretty much from the time I started out, I could already tell that I was NOT feeling it today. Despite (or maybe because of) my birthday, I was just grumpy, tired, and low-energy.
As if sensing my bad attitude, the trail sent me a message:
I struggled up the first pass of the day, and limped (still grumping) into Lincoln–tired, with a bad attitude, and really struggling with the sun exposure/heat.
Lincoln was hot, loud, and dusty, with lots of trucks, casinos, and ATVs. I ran into the grocery store and tried to find a quiet place to eat……I finally just pulled over on a grassy spot on the side of the road. Cursing the sun, I made some kind of flippant comment like “I’d take rain over this unrelenting sun!”……not 10 minutes later it starts POURING out of nowhere and I was forced to take shelter at a gas station till it passed.
I should mention that I was having this big ol’ grumpy morning in the full knowledge that I had my highest pass–and my first actual Divide crossing in the afternoon.
Once I finally got out of town, I started up another steep climb, that got steeper….and steeper…..and steeper, until I was either too tired or too weak to ride it anymore. There were some pretty sights, for sure, but I was struggling.
Seeing this on my Garmin was a fun one:
I probably hiked my bike around 2 miles, but did finally eventually make it over the pass.
I seriously almost cried when I saw this:
This sign was at the top, signaling the famed Llama Ranch Warm Showers host. I rode down as fast as I could while not falling on loose gravel or mud, and finally (FINALLY) arrived at the Llama Ranch.
This place is a FREE accommodation for Divide cyclists, hosted by the amazing Barbara and John. When I arrived, they were expecting me (I had called ahead), and immediately offered me a beer and sandwich. Drew and 2 other Divide riders were also there! I got to stay in their amazing little cabin, with ALL the comforts a traveling cyclist could dream of.
After chatting for a while with my incredible hosts, I went to lay down and recover from the day. I sat and ate my sandwich, and had the little cheesecake I had brought from Lincoln.
probably definitely my hardest day so far, but this amazing place honestly made up for it. I’ll try to take some more pictures in the morning. 😊
On having my 31st birthday on this trip:
I am so privileged to be able to take on this amazing adventure. People keep saying I’m brave or whatever, but I honestly feel so fortunate that at this point in my life (relatively not that old), I have the time, the physical fitness, and the money to make this happen. It has been hard, sure, but these are hardships I chose and signed up for; there’s a tremendous amount of privilege in that choice. I’ve been struggling a little with my place in making the world/this country less shitty, and keeping up the fight. I hope I can live up to it as I continue into my thirties.