Day 9: Whitefish – Swan Lake

Miles: 69

Climbing: 3704ft

Alternate Title: “Ugggghhhh”

Today was a rough day. The roughest day so far. Also, coincidentally the day with the most mileage, most climbing, and second-worst weather. Probably some correlation there…..

The day actually started out great—got packed up quickly (no wet tent 🙌🏼), ran some errands in Whitefish, had a big and delicious breakfast, was all ready for action.

The day’s ride began when flat-ish paved roads, so I was enjoying myself, working my way through Montana farmland and edging further south and east toward the mountains.

For almost 40 miles, I’d go south for a mile or so, then east for a quarter to half mile, south for a bit, east for a bit.

I even stopped and had a SECOND big delicious meal at a sit-down restaurant. I was super enjoying the riding, since it was overcast, and I had really struggled with the sun yesterday.

Then, the part I had been dreading…..the big climb. Basically for the first time of the entire ride, I had a big climb at the end of the day (rather than the beginning): 2000ish ft over 5ish miles. The climb would’ve been tough, but fine, except that the ominous overcast skies of the morning chose that moment–when I was finally heading onto a dirt road and up a mountain–to open up and dump an hour of rain on me. Uggggggggg.

I didn’t have my rain gear handy enough to get it out in time, so I was wet and cold and also climbing what felt like a never-ending mountain. Uggggggg. I didn’t even enjoy fast descent because I was cold, tired, and at this point very grumpy.

I didn’t take too many pictures, as a result of my grump.

To add insult to injury, I had about 6 miles to ride off the route to make it to my planned campground. Those 6 miles felt like 60……the sun came out just as I rolled into the campground.

My mood was immediately lifted by a) the weather improvement, b) getting to stop riding, but most of all c) running into Travis (who I hadn’t seen since Elkford)! He was camping with two other Divide riders–Pete and Drew– and they invited me to camp with them. Less money AND company.

I set up my tent in kind of a fog and made myself the Mac and cheese I had carried around all day (being thankful I hadn’t sent my cook pot home; I had contemplated it). It was nice to catch up with Travis on the last week of his trip, and hear other Divide riders’ stories.

I got dried out and slept well 🙂

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