Day 6, July 23rd

Start: Missoula, MT

Finish: Butte, MT

Miles: 134

Elevation Gain: 4850'


Super 8

2929 Harrison Ave

Butte, MT 59701



Today's ride was another challenging one, although the scenery was great and the weather was just about perfect. We faced strong headwinds for most of the day, which made for a long day in the saddle.

Most of today's route was on rural farm roads or on Montana Rt. 1 which is a low-use highway through farm country. We had to ride for a short distance on

This is me climbing up a small hill

Rt 90 before the first rest stop, so we formed a large group to battle the wind together. I decided to take off on my own for a while after that so I could take some photographs, but the "peloton" eventually caught up to me and I rode with a group of about 12 riders until the second stop. This part of the ride was all on rural roads with beautiful scenery as you can see from

View from our first rest stop

some of the photos below.

Our group had it's second crash today when one of the riders in the group I had been riding with touched his front wheel with the cyclist in front of him. He went down and two other riders near him also crashed. No one suffered serious injuries although Phil, the first rider to go down, did have some fairly severe road rash and went to an emergency care center near our lunch stop to have it cleaned up. I'm sure he'll be more than a little sore tomorrow. I had hung back at the second rest stop so wasn't part of the group, but I rode by them shortly after their accident.

The wind actually shifted in our favor for the last ten miles or so into our lunch stop, and we all made great time. After a nice lunch of soft tacos and chocolate cake (you can't get too many calories on a tour like this), I headed out alone for the final 50 miles.

I soon caught up to David from VA on the big climb of the day and we rode together until the finish. The climb was probably the best part of this stretch since the mountain blocked the winds (which had turned back around in our face) and the views were stunning. When we got to the top, we were rewarded with a beautiful lake.

We had been hoping for a long easy descent into Anaconda which had been billed as a ten mile 35mph stretch, but it wasn't to be. The strong headwinds limited our speed to about 20mph or so for most of it, even with strong pedaling.

After the final rest stop at mile 115, the real slog began. David and I took turns pulling into the wind, but it still took us close to two hours to ride the last 20 miles. Much of this was on the shoulder of Rt 90 as this is the only practical way to get to our hotel in Butte. We finally made it in just before 5:00. A long, hard day.

My knees are a little sore at this point, although they didn't bother me during the ride. I'm icing them as I type this in hopes that I won't have to take any ibuprofin or the like. I also had some problems with my wrists today since I was riding in the drops (the lower part of the handlebars) almost the whole day to battle the wind. I may have to resort to installing aerobars on my bike to reduce the load on my wrists and hands.

Tomorrow should be an easy day - only 100 miles with 3200 ft of climbing. By PAC Tour standards, this is easy. Barring more strong headwinds, I'll get to the motel before 2:00PM and have a chance to do my laundry in a real washing machine instead of in the sink.

Thanks to all of you that have been sending me emails. And a special thanks to those of you that have made donations to LAF in my name. I have now reached my goal of $20,000, but this shouldn't stop you from making a donation if you haven't or making another if you are so inclined.

First rest stop. That's Bisty the PAC Tour dog, lower right We road some beautiful rural roads today Some of the views in Montana are stunning

One of the farms we rode by A barn near the road The big climb of the day
I rode with David from VA for the last 50 miles Roberta from MI Cameron from Kent, UK