May 19, 2002

Bike Run Swim Total
Today 75 20 0 95
Total to Date 158 30 3 191

distances in km.

May 19

Zen and the art of triathlon touring.

Gorgeous day, and a HOT one - in the 80's! The Swan River valley is amazingly pretty - snow covered mountains on both sides of the valley, lush and green and very little traffic.

When I run with the trike, I push the rig with my chest by bumping a push bar wrapped in foam. The constant rubbing makes my chest sore, but today some extra chaffing was causing concern. Upon careful examination, I discovered the cause - a comical irony: my good luck Yin Yang medal hanging from my neck was being continually bashed into my skin with every push.

The Chinese Yin Yang philosophy is all about how two opposites as two parts of the same thing. Without sadness there would be no happiness, without uphills there would be no downhills and without bad luck Ying Yan medals that cut you, there would be no good luck.

So there I was, running and enjoying the moment, grooving to my tunes, when handlebar mustache guy in his 70 ford truck hauling a load of logs, an old mattress and his chick in the middle seat decides to pull into the on-coming lane (my lane) and point his speeding rig directly at me. His left tire was in my shoulder. He veered right back into his lane at the last possible moment. I saw him laughing hysterically as he passed by.

But I let it pass. The old Greg would have gotten sideways. This is the new Greg - I have found my travel Zen.

Or so I had thought. My newfound Zen moderation ideal didn't last long. I had been steadily climbing all day starting at around 3000 feet. It was shortly after my 3 hour UPHILL run pushing my 80-lb. trike where I covered a measly 20-km. I was cool with that - again, my Zen was warding off the evil discouragement spirits. I was back to cycling and thoroughly enjoying it because I wasn't running anymore and the afternoon thunderclouds had rolled in and were cooling the day off.

I rounded a corner thinking perhaps that the long climb was finished, and saw every cyclist's worst nightmare - a sign saying "chain up area ahead". That's an area where you can put chains on your tires to make it up the steep climb coming up. I geared down once the grade increased and my chain fell off.

I swore - out loud. As I was tipping the heavy trike sideways trying to pull the chain back onto the big gear on the rear cassette, mosquitoes started their attack. I swore louder. After getting grease all over my hands and finally winding the chain back on, and washing my hands in the dirt, and scratching the mosquito bites, I got back on the trike and immediately flipped it over backward.

I guess my travel Zen is still growing.

I'm writing this on my palm computer in the "upper deck" bar and grill enjoying a deserved pint of Moose Drool, and listening to a group of locals beside me. They are complaining about the cyclists on the highway. Every year, the area hosts a 127-mile bike race down the picturesque Swan Valley. There were hundreds of cyclists yesterday going in the opposite direction from me.

One guy said " I was talking to a state patrol and he told me the bikes have as much right to be on the highway as vehicles. That's screwed". Then the woman said "ya - and since the bikes don't have license plates, they don't pay taxes, so they actually don't have any rights to be on the highways"

Huh?

Don't these local cyclists have property and vehicles at home? Don't they pay taxes also? And even myself - I pay HUGE property taxes on our Big Mountain ski cabin. Don't I have a right to share the highway with them? They would have the right to cycle on MY highway in Canada if they so chose to.

Anyhow - to sum up today - started at 11:00 and finished at 7:00 pm at the Wilderness Gateway Hotel in Seeley Lake. I asked the hotel lady what way the 'gateway' pointed and unfortunately, I'm going backward through the gateway - I guess the wilderness is north - behind me. I cycled 35km then ran 20 km, then cycled another 40km for a today of 95 km today.

8 hours to cycle 95 kms sounds like a lot of sitting around - but the trike is no svelte road bike. It's 80 pounds with gear and moves at an average of only 18 km per hour. Climbing 2000 feet of elevation doesn't make things easier.



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