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Transplant Athlete
Monday, July 11, 2011
  Glacier National Park

Kalispell is in the Flathead Valley. The first 11 miles of my ride were pretty flat, heading North on Rte 2 East. I tried to keep my heart in my aerobic zone. I didn't want to be introducing a training load on my body. I've got a 144 miles to ride tomorrow. When Rte 2 East finally started heading East, the road started climbing to the city of Columbia Falls.

I was feeling pretty awesome. I was breathing pine scented air. The temperature was a bit on the cool side, but that was perfect for riding. I was expecting the road to really kick up, but all the grades were big ring-able. My goal that morning was to get to the West Glacier entrance, but as I realized I wasn't as fast as I thought I would be, I had thoughts of turning around, especially when the shoulder disappeared on rte 2. It wasn't hard to talk myself into continuing, my fitness level must be better than I think it is. I pass through the town of Hungry Horse.

Hungry Horse

I pass by a whiskey distillery that offers tastings (noon to 8pm) but it's only 9am. I pass by two helicopter tour companies and I wonder if they are suffering because of the economy. They have to be. The guy who drove me from the airport to the hotel actually owned the taxi company. He was quick to point out that Montana has the highest education levels, but the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the country (15.5%). With the trains not running, it's a double whammy for them.

Finally, Glacier National Park next left. Alberta, Canada has a welcome center right there, which I mistook for the GNP welcome center. I did get to hear a Canadian girl say "aboot 4 miles away". The things that stick with us from childhood, Degrassi chicks saying "aboot". Shenandoah charges $8, so I had $10 in hand when I rolled up to the gate, unfortunately GNP is $12, I guess they have to pay for those free shuttles and all that snow removal...

I was on line for one of the free shuttles because normally bicycles are prohibited on the Going-to-the-sun Road between 11am and 4pm. One of the volunteers said that with the road closed for the snow removal, they were being a bit lenient and she encouraged me to ride up to Avalanche Creek, it's only ten miles (she said). I think it's closer to 16 miles.

waterfall

After an hour of chugging along, one of the free shuttles passed me. I arrived in Avalanche right behind it. The people getting off were the ones who had been in line with me at the Apgar Transit station and they were mighty impressed that I beat the bus.

The road was closed just past the bus stop, so I jumped on board and relaxed on the drive back to Apgar. I was running short of time and I wasn't interested in upping my mileage to a century. I arrived back in Apgar at noon, which meant I could stop in at the Whiskey Distillery, but I missed it on the way back. I obviously don't drink much, but I thought that might be fun.

I started running out of energy in Columbia Falls, so I stopped in for food at A&W...Big Papa combo with a frosty mug of root beer. I felt like I had swallowed a basketball. I managed to waddle out to the bike and did my best to coast as much as possible. In the end, it was around 85 miles.

Lon and Susan had a quick rider meeting and then treated us to pizza at Moose's Saloon. Now, they say it's "World Famous" They don't say it's "World's best". Having eaten pizza in New Jersey and New York (If I had been able to take the train here, I would have been able to comment on Chicago pizza), they had quite a hurdle to impress me. The cheese was Mutz, mixed with some other cheese, but it was subtle. The crust was thin and crunchy with a heavy layer of corn meal on bottom.

 

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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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