It sounds like a snowy year

Yesterday, I can announce with much pride that I, my wife and four children all travelled further than Matthew Lee. It did take the help of three trains and a short taxi ride for us to make it from north of Edinburgh to south of London, but such is Matthew Lee’s current rate of progress that I though it deserved a mention even with this large helping of mechanical assistance.


Anyway, it looks like Matthew is firmly ensconced at the head of the race, stopping just short of Whitefish last night. Eric Lobeck looks a considerable distance back, at Red Meadow Lakes, but is probably no more than three hours behind – possibly only two – as it’s a mainly downhill run to where Matthew is from there. It will be interesting to see if he can continue to keep on Matthew’s pace – in any other year he’d be in front right now, so he’s clearly got the bit between his teeth. Or, has even Matthew gone out too quickly? Is Eric pressuring him to keep going more than he’d like? Previous years demonstrate his preference for being out in front on his own.


Kevin Dean continues to go well and is the only other person to have already made it over the first major US climb. Slightly further back, Dave Blumenthal has a stiff climb first thing this morning, while the group of half a dozen at Eureka – including an impressive Heather Dawe – as well as those at the border will have a couple of hours warm-up first and would hope to be at or past Whitefish themselves tonight.


Those still in Canada appear likely to encounter snow on Galton Pass, the last climb before the border. Last year it was clear, which suggests a snowy ride further down the line when they hit the higher ground in Wyoming and Colorado. The scale of the difficulties this is likely to cause will become apparent when we here of the situation at Red Meadow Lakes, where Eric Lobeck is right now, and at Richmond Peak, which Matthew and possibly Eric are likely to cross later today – it’s a wild, remote spot, and crossing in snow will make it a major obstacle. It’s not a place I’d like to be benighted, either.


Before that, though, there’s a good deal of good cycling down the Swan valley – as long as the endless Montana trees south of Big Fork don’t drive you mad.


That’s all for now.


Paul Howard


Two Wheels on My Wagon

PS: In a minor sporting event in South Africa, called the World Cup, or something, England drew (a tie) one-all with the USA thanks to an unfortunate mistake by the English goalkeeper – I reckon he was distracted by a secret blue dot addiction.