I know about tears of sadness… tears of joy…
Today we all get up very early at 5AM with a century ride in front of us. Even though we have been through it before we all have the jitters about the distance and the heat, it will top out between 96 and 100 F.
I step outside to say goodbye to Glendive, each town passes by so quickly on the ride. I am astounded at the difference in front of me
and behind me…
this is the impact water makes. There is abundant life and minimal life…just common sense.
As I climb the plateau west of Glendive I think back to 3 years ago to a most awful ride, perhaps the worst of my life. 103 miles with 30 mph headwinds all the way.
I remember that day as pure survival…two riders never made it and without phone service ended up staying at a farmer’s house 20 miles out.
The first rest stop is a small town called Lindsey, a gas station, post office and 3 or 4 homes. Today we chatter about the beautiful weather and lush green fields..
In perspective 3 years ago it was all we could do not to break down crying and instead force ourselves to go on.
As I ride to the midway point, a small town called Circle, I notice the landscape I never had a chance to see before so intent was I on not being blown over in the wind.
The Big Sky stretches from horizon to horizon with occasional evidence of times past with the railroad and old windmills now defunct.
Any farmhouses are miles off the road, mere specks in the distance.
Rollers here are 1-2 miles long, gentle and smooth. As I crest one I am shocked to see an aspect of the Badlands just next to me.
I stop my bike to get a photo and speed down the hill at 30 mph, 4 times my speed of three years ago. I had to pedal hard downhill then…
Suddenly out of the clear blue I feel tears flowing down my cheeks, an uncontrollable release of tension from deep inside layered in some spot of my soul from that terrible day 3 years ago. I get to the bottom of the hill and just keep crying saying over and over again “ Thank you” to the Sky…a genuine thanks that today I do not have to repeat that experience from not so long ago.
And then as if to say ““You are Welcome” Mother Nature lets loose the Greek God of the South Wind
and off I surf. What would be 14 mph turns into 20 mph and I let out a whoop and off I fly towards the north.
I briefly stop to get a breakfast sandwich in Circle and then head to Vida, where the farmhouse sill stands that housed 2 survivors from the last ride. Rollers slow me down a bit and I chase clouds for a little shade but arrive at the third rest stop just as my water runs dry.
After filling up I hop back on my bike and head towards to Missouri River 23 miles to my North. Atop the last crest I can see the town 9 miles off.
I cross the bridge
and enter Peck Indian Reservation and 6 miles later the town of Wolf Point, our nights stay.
When I pull into camp beside the city pool I check my odometer, 104 miles in 7 1/2 hours, including stops…three years ago it too me 13 1/2 hours to get here.
Thank goodness for do overs…this one was worth it…