DAY 52   JULY 18   69.1 MILES

Those who wish to control their own lives and move beyond existence, ride a bike.                                                                    Wolfgang Sachs    

This was another beautiful Montana day.  The initial temperature was in the mid-50's so the jacket was worn for the first hour.  After that, it was comfortably warm but not too much so.  Wind was not a factor for another day and hills were minor and easily manageable.   

Although barely noticeable due to gentle grade levels, we gained 800 feet of elevation over yesterday's ride and another 700 feet today as we approach the Rocky Mountains.  However, when we enter the Rocky Mountain National Park tomorrow, the climbing will be noticeable.   

Over the last few days, the ranchers have given the land back to the growers.  Wheat is the majority crop in this region.  Barley, hops and other crops are also grown but golden wheat fields stretch as far as the eye can see.  

It seems that every town has a grain elevator.  When the grain is harvested, it takes a considerable amount of time to arrange for rail shipment and these buildings function as gigantic storage facilities.  For many years, elevators were tall wooden structures which stood high above anything else in the community.  More recently, however, they are constructed of corrugated steel.  They stand much lower and are connected to rows of smaller round metal silos.  The newer arrangement is much less susceptible to fire and it can be constructed more quickly and economically.  

After mentioning that headwinds have not materialized to any real extent, the forecast for tomorrow totally counters that.  West winds of 25 mph gusting to 35 are projected.  We will rise early and try to ride as far as possible before the wind becomes too strong.  Regardless, we must ride 69 miles however long it takes!    

Tip:  Following a long ride, eat a high-carbohydrate meal within 30 minutes to 1 hour.  This will best replenish your glycogen stores to give you energy the next day.