July 8 Conquering the Divide

Approaching The Continental DivideToday the Illini 4000 had an 80 mile ride from Ennis to Butte, Mt. Each and every rider was well aware of what was to come in the day, climbing. This did not dampen our spirits, however, as we got prepared for the big day by watching Independence Day last night and having a Breakfast Bonanza this morning. The latter consisted of bagels, muffins, and pancakes which is definitely a huge improvement on our normal cereal or oatmeal.

The ride started off nice and peaceful but six miles in we started to climb. Every group reached the top and really marveled at how easy climbing has become. We are all getting to be such strong riders being able to power through the hills and shifting with the utmost efficiency. The pastor at the church last night told us that we had to stop at a candy store in Harrison so the majority of the teams pulled over at Papa’s Candy.

A full paragraph is needed to tell about this candy shop. It was founded by a retired husband and wife duo who turned a holiday passion into a thriving ma and pop business run out of their very own garage. They handmake each chocolate which can vary from homemade mint to homemade marshmallow or caramel filled. We talked to the happy couple for about an hour about their business and trying various candies. Order some chocolates for the holidays or right now! They only advertise by word of mouth so here is the number! (406)685-3243 Many of the riders agreed that it was one of the best stops along the route so far!

After the midway point of the ride the winds started to pick up and a ferocious headwind ensued. The next 23 miles took some groups nearly an hour and a half to complete. It was brutal! And then came the climbing. We climbed and climbed until we suddenly realized we were going downhill again. We had finally conquered the dreaded Continental Divide for the last time!!!! SOOO EXCITING! From here on out, like the rivers, we will now flow west to the Pacific.

We made it to the stayover at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Butte after battling some more headwinds and received word that since we only have 55 miles tomorrow we are going to be able to sleep in for another hour! YAY!

That is all for now folks! Until tomorrow!

Comments (1)
  • Joan Lindsay says:

    Thank you for the photo. What a beautiful shot of the road and the snow capped mountains in the distance. You are all amazing and I am proud of each of you for all your efforts, stamina, good humor and determination. Roll on towards the Pacific. We will be awating your arrival in San Francisco.
    With admiration and respect,
    joan lindsay (katie’s mom)

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