Our earliest start ever, we were away by 7.20, it does help not having to pack up a tent and other things. The road out of Helena started well, but as usual became a dirt track quite quickly (but it was a good one).
The track started it’s upness and carried it on with a consistent gradient for the best part of 6 miles. We did encounter a small family of white tailed deer, who all turned as one looked at us then bounded away up the mountainside.
The downness was very nice, we lost 1400 ft (a good job we had 1402 altogether). It was quite an open descent, there were a lot of houses, and a lot of bolders. We passed a nice old wagon outside someones house.
The track changed into pavement, the down became a fast down, the main road loomed (Freeway 15) and under it we went. Then a right turn onto a road parallel to the freeway. The we hit it WIND (not the result of excessive bean eating either), it was going to cause a major problem for the rest of the day, blowing straight at us.
There was a nice bench on a set of services where we partook of our lunch, two other cyclists turned up, they were heading south as well, we were to pass each other on and off during the climb up.
The final climb was on the hard shoulder of the freeway, it was not very pleasant, with many large trucks passing at high speed, even with the wide shoulder you did not feel safe. After a long battle the top was reached.
What should have been a lovely fast descent was ruined by the wind, it was actually a slow descent. At one point a gust of wind stopped me dead, and it is quite disconcerting to have to pedal downhill!
A long long straight and we arrived in Boulder, a pop stop (at a petrol dtation), a grocery stop (at a grocery store) and an egg boing session at the park (we live life to the full) then cycling out for the last section to the campground.
Once again the wind made this section very difficult, and quite a while later we arrived at the Merry Widow Mine campground. It is just down the hill from the mine itself, now sold as a health spa, apparently the naturally occurring Radon gas in the mine caverns has all sorts of health benefits!
At the site there are yet more cyclists, 6 altogether all heading south. Everyone said this was a tough day. We cycled 45 miles with the biggest climb we have done so far, very difficult.