Ah, the first day of Cycle Greater Yellowstone, when all is fresh and new! I tend to take a lot of photos on day 1. This year was no exception. There are 50 photos in this post!
Here’s the only picture we got of us together. (Another photo we attempted at the top of a hill did not turn out – alas!)
Our Thing-1-Thing-2 getup attracted the attention of a TV reporter, and we wound up on the evening news. (Another rider dubbed us “The Things” and would greet us on the route, “Hey, Things!”)
The official start line! (With the TV reporter off to the side.)
A grain elevator with a ghost sign. “IT’S THE WHEAT FLOUR . . . A PERFECT PRODUCT”
I did a double-take on this one. CaLfe? I looked it up. Stockyard Cafe. I get it! Calf-cafe. Ha!! To quote from their website: “This is recreational restauranting…. Stockyard Cafe…barely above camping :)”
The early morning light made the scenery glow. (Since we’re slow, we always try to be on the road when the course opens at 7am.
A high fire danger day. We were impacted by a bit of wildfire smoke on one day, and the organizers were keeping an eye on a grassfire near the route, but otherwise, we lucked out this year and avoided wildfire conflicts. I suspect wildfire season is part of the reason CGY organizers are thinking about moving the date into September next year.
Bridger Canyon is lovely!
I had to manipulate the photo settings to get the colors to show up – wonder if anyone else noticed the iridescent clouds that morning.
Hay bale art: a bonny Scottish coo? (Would explain the hair-over-the-eye look.)
I was loving the scenery!
But some drivers weren’t loving the bikes on the road. We encountered the first of the week’s honking drivers along this road.
I don’t know if it was the route, or if people’s behavior is changing, but there seemed to be a lot of rude and impatient drivers this year. I have a hypothesis that the increased speed limits on interstates and rural highways have made drivers more accustomed to higher speeds and more likely to get impatient if they have to slow down. Whatever the cause, I don’t like it. Not one bit.
This cow was offended by the rude honking, too:
We saw a lot of magpies along the route all week. You can just make one out in this photo, sitting on a fencepost.
Tandem shadow! On this section of route, we were passed by a number of vintage cars. Not all of them passed carefully. Some were so eager to pass the bicycles that they risked head-on collisions with oncoming traffic. You would think people driving classic cars would be a little more careful.
Before it landed on the ranch gate, this raven flew behind us for several hundred yards. I watched it follow us in my rear view mirror. Corvids are pretty intelligent birds. I wonder what it was thinking.
Being slower on the uphill on a tandem, we got passed a lot on the first part of the ride.
A rest STOP.
The uphill climb continues, we get passed some more.
My view from the back of the tandem. Not bad.
At last – Battleridge Pass (elevation 6,372 feet). Mostly done with the day’s climbing!
Zooming along on the downhill, cyclists tend to take the lane. You need more room to maneuver at higher speeds.
A cattle corral, with bees. You can’t see the bees in the photo, but when we went by, there were a bunch of what appeared to be honeybees crossing the road. One cyclist got a bee caught in her sunglasses and got stung next to her eye. Ow!
This is a working landscape here. Lots of alfalfa, like this side-roll-irrigated field.
Bikes weren’t the only slow-moving vehicles on this road. Watch for farm equipment, too!
The rest stop at the Sedan School was fun. As soon as we arrived, we were mobbed by youngsters offering to fill our water bottles for us. ❤ We had our photo taken with a couple of girls. Our jerseys went well with their recent Dr. Seuss readings. 🙂
I think the folks at the rest stop were keen on introducing us to roping, but the roping dummies were too attractive as bike parking.
The dummies also made for great silly photo opportunities. 😀
Then there was the slide . . .
They sure don’t make ’em like that anymore! A few of us cyclists couldn’t resist a trip down that tall slide. It was high-diving-board intimidating at the top. The trick was being prepared for how it launched you forward at the end. I executed a rather ungraceful double-hop landing.
The source of our potable water at the water bar at the Sudan School stop: Black Magic!
Everyone was exhorted to drink plenty of water and keep their water bottles filled. It was getting hot, and the air was dry. The SAG crew was sheltering in the shade of their van.
Gravel and a cattle guard on the turn into and out of the rest stop were a bad combo. Much easier to walk the tandem over the plywood.
The view west from the bridge over Flathead Creek.
A Historic Point, and a good excuse to pull over and rest, though we rarely did. Need to keep moving if you’re slower than most!
Did anyone see the elk? Haha.
When in Big Sky Country, don’t forget to look up.
We stopped for lunch at mile 47, at Clyde Park. I distinctly remember that lunch included gazpacho. It was divine. Cool, salty, cucumbery – the perfect meal on a hot day! The water bar was a popular place.
Back on the road again. The road surface was unpleasantly gravelly in spots. I found this business sign amusing. “Have gravel will travel.”
We waved to a bikepacker family we met on the road. Mom was riding behind this dad and kid, waving her arm to try to slow traffic for safe passing. It didn’t work. Drivers flew past, taking risks I really wish they wouldn’t take.
As we turned west towards Livingston, the last 5 miles or so wound up being dab-on into a headwind. Not very fun at the end of a ride.
But we made it to Livingston! I love Sacagawea Park! It’s right on the Yellowstone River. I remembered it from the first year, but this time, we arrived in camp with plenty of time to get cleaned up and explore the downtown.
There was a beautiful antique bus available to ferry us downtown. Downtown was only a couple of blocks away, though, so we walked. (Ah, that Day 1 energy!)
Such an iconic historic-mountain-town view!
Great vintage theater marquee!
We had to stop at a sandwich shop for some ice cream. The cone was stamped with a suggestion I followed: “EAT-IT-ALL”. Across the street was a bar advertising itself as a “husband day care center” while the wife shopped. Ha!
My Überbrew pour that evening had a baristaesque touch: there was a heart in the foam!
After dinner, we retired to the banks of the Yellowstone River. I remember the river being higher and louder back in 2013. It had soothed me to sleep at the campsite that year, but this year I couldn’t hear it from the tents. Wonder if the channel shifted, or if the flow is low this year?
There was a family of osprey screaming around in the trees on the opposite bank. When I looked closer at a photo I managed to grab, I could see that the bird was carrying a fish!
I was having great fun playing with the colorful river rocks. (With thoughts of Andy Goldsworthy – one of my favorite artists. I am certainly no Andy Goldsworthy.)
Alas, we broke one of our water bottles after dropping it on the rocks. Bummer! We’d need it the next day, which was predicted to be another hot one.
The sunset on the river was breathtakingly beautiful.
It kept getting better. I saw several people in camp rush to the riverbank with their cameras.
What a day! Can the first day be my favorite?
Day 1 stats
2,501 feet of climb
12.5 mph avg speed
low temp 48
hi temp 88
wind 5-16 g 22 east
Copyright 2016 by Katie Bradshaw