• Townsend to Ennis
  • 77 miles
  • Strong head and side winds all day
  • Another flat!
  • 812.2 total miles

In Townsend we were fed at the Wood Family Grill. The folks there did a bang up job. But they underestimated how much a pack of hungry cyclists can eat. The owner came out to apologize and a said, “We’ve served a group of 55 Army Rangers, and we thought those guys could really eat. But you ate much more!” Well fed, we pushed off toward Ennis. We would be on Montana Hwy 278 all day.

The headwinds were so strong we could only manage 11-12 mph on the flats. Everyone was struggling with it. The group was getting payback for those 25 miles of super strong tailwinds the day before. The wind was to be our constant companion today, so we did our best to make peace with its presence. Just as you can’t push the river, you definitely can’t push the wind. We enjoyed the rippling of the grasses along the road. But not being pushed toward traffic so much. Fortunately we knew the wind was not all powerful because off to right we could see the Tobacco Root Mountains standing steadfastly.
bakerySpencer & Sheila enjoy a cinnamon roll

One great break came at mile 30 when we arrived at the Montana Wheat Bakery. They had fabulous cinnamon rolls. Giant and well-risen, not slathered in sugary frosting, we split one and could only eat half. We saved the rest for later. Leaving that stop (which attracted just about every cyclist in the group)we picked up Denny from Mukilteo WA. He trailed us for 12 miles until we started up a 4 mile climb. We were half way up when our rear tire flatted again. The replacement wasn’t quick, but it got us up the hill and to the was lunch stop.

Lunch was wonderful, but just delayed our return to the battle with the winds. The problem with the winds from the side is that they require lots of concentration to keep the bike moving in a straight line. With car and truck traffic moving by at 70 mph, you don’t want to be suddenly veering into the traffic lane! When the winds are in your face, you just go slowly.

river view while pulling Denny

long winding road

Off to the east all day we could see smoke from raging fires in the distance. The winds are not helping the fire fighters either. We rolled past a huge encampment that we first took for a rodeo or a circus. It turned out to be support vehicles and tents for the fire fighters.

The toughest part of the ride came at mile 60 when we started a 5 mile climb with bits at 7%. It seemed to go on and on. And on. One of those curvy climbs that teases you with the idea you might be getting to the top, just to trash your dreams as you go around a corner and see miles more of up coming.

A small group of us (6) made it to the top around the same time then flew down 3 miles to Madison Valley. Just 7 more miles straight into the wind got us here to Ennis. In case you didn’t figure it out, the Earth from the title was the big piles of it which we had to climb today.

Wind wins
Headwinds again!