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  • Timothy Bruce

Day 14 – Magnificent Montana

Today the weather was wonderful and the scenery was equally spectacular and to make matters even better, today was a short ride of only 62 miles!!

Yet more mountains, forests, rivers, and no really difficult climbs but today, as we nearer our destination, I just ran out of energy and was pretty exhausted when I arrived in Missoula. I think I resembled a zombie as I wandered around rather mindlessly at the rather impressive building we were using. This was perhaps because I did not fully refuel at the 2 rest stops as I was so keen to finish this shorter ride – big mistake!!

My lack of thought also meant that I did not fully investigate my bike when I arrived, as I noticed that the rear wheel was making strange noises when I parked my bike in the big hall.

On the upside, I arrived in early afternoon so I had time to explore Missoula, which is also home to the University of Montana. It was at this point, after I had consumed my first huckleberry ice cream, I thought it would be good to have a haircut that would help last the rest of the journey, so I went looking for a hair salon and found the Cutting Crew Salon in the downtown area. I walked in and asked how much it might cost to have a hair cut and was told $15. I sat down and waited to be served and struggled to stay awake while this was happening. After a short while I was ushered into a small booth and so began my hair cut. The guy started to ask me a few questions and rapidly found out about my cycling adventure when he pointed out all the cycling paraphernalia that hung around the booth, including historic pictures of the Tour de France. This was an ambush, as we shared our passion for cycling and to my amazement, he shook my hand and told me he would fund the haircut when he had finished. As a result, I added another few dollars to my fund-raising page!!

I then met up with a fellow cyclist, Jeff Bracken and shared a milkshake in the sunshine. Jeff, from Kentucky, is a powerful cyclist, very athletic, a father of two and high school history teacher. However, he has Usher Syndrome, which is the leading cause of deaf and blindness. He’s had hearing loss since birth and then vision loss came in as a young adult. Basically, he has no peripheral vision and as a result has had to surrender his driving licence. As a result, he has taken up cycling as his main means of transport for himself. He has such a serving heart and constantly keeps his kids involved with his trans-America bike ride. He is a delight to know but impossible to keep up with as soon as he climbs on a bike as he leaves all of us in a cloud of dust! Great guy!!

In the evening, I made my first journey to a laundromat as this week I’m on the Laundry Team and, given that this involves some 30+ people, we took over 14 washing machines, followed by a whole array of driers. This was great fun but hard work as we kept our eye on all the machines and when the timings were due to end. One of my tasks was to make sure we didn’t suffer any stray socks so I went around to ensure we had fully emptied all of the washing machines.

I must confess that I drank my first Diet Coke for 2019 as there was an extremely limited choice in the laundromat. Strangely Somerset cider was not on offer but would have been real nice!!

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