Post Race Recap
Dickey Lake MT to Swan Lake, MT and the Laughing Horse Lodge - 112 miles.
After riding for most of the previous days afternoon with Derek B, today was spent trudging through the snow with him and Caroline S. Bumping into Jake K and Dejay B repeatedly again (who both seemed to continually go off course logging free bonus miles). Before finally ending up at the Laughing Horse Lodge. Derek took some convincing about the 5 mile detour at the end of the day. But oh my word was it worth it.
The day began with a climb of a few miles before hitting the snow. This was amusing at first. A chance to use the snow shoes which had been a last minute purchase for me. I'd never been snow shoeing before.
The novelty wore off after a while. 5 1/2+hours later I hated snow shoeing and just wanted a chance to pedal my bike again.
Finally clearing the snow gave a good view and finally a chance to descend down to Whitefish for some lunch.
While doing about 30mph I hopped over a water bar. Upon landing I watched my camera case eject from my aerobars into the foliage at the side of the road. I skidded to a halt trying to gauge where it had gone into the bushes. After a quick 5 minute search I then began a more methodical grid search. The only problem was, the edge of the road dropped into a steep ravine with a fast flowing stream at the bottom. I slowly worked side to side and down the face of the bank. Occasionally a rider would come by and seeing an abandoned bike at the side of the road would worry and shout asking if I was okay.
20 minutes later I finally found the camera, still in its case, just a couple of feet from the fast flowing stream, 20 feet below the road, eek.
I caught up for a BBQ lunch in Whitefish with the usual suspects of Derek, Caroline, Dejay and Jake (there may have been others, apologies if so).
Crossing the Flathead River in Columbia Falls. So close to bursting its bank, glad to not be riding near it upstream in the Flathead Valley.
Derek, probably somewhere between Columbia Falls and Swan River, where the shops were closed when we arrived. Being late on a Sunday and in the middle of no where has its disadvantages.
A plan was hatched to ride fast to Ferndale, hoping the store was still open for resupply, clear the second big climb of the day then head off route to Swan River with hopes of food and board.
The diversion off to Swan River added on a few miles, I was riding with just Derek at this point. He had reluctantly agreed to the off course mileage. We rolled into Swan River, late on a Sunday things weren't looking good. But then checking against services outlined on the map and checking with a local we found the Laughing Horse Lodge. Rolling up to the front the restaurant was closed. I'd phoned earlier in the day but the answerphone message just stated rooms were available for the previous day. A chalkboard of rooms said to head around back and check yourself in. Around into a courtyard of small cabins and then we heard a voice.
"Cabin 7 for the two beds"
"Would you like some food?"
"How about a beer?"
Kathleen, our newly found host then cooked us both a fantastic dinner, plied us with beer and promised a hearty breakfast in the morning. I can't recommend them enough.