Tour Divide Diary Day 9 – 03/07/16 Swan Lake back to Bigfork!

Jim & Tom Tour Divide

Tour Divide Diary Day 9

Swan Lake back to Bigfork
20.2 miles 597 feet of climbing

380 miles 17164 feet of climbing

Day nine dawned and we couldn’t decide what to do initially. My stomach still felt rubbish and to cap it off my back, right hip and leg were also feeling pretty ropey too. Looking at the map the next town south was quite a long way, whereas it was only twenty miles back to Bigfork up Highway 83.

We’d planned to go to Bigfork, get some wifi somewhere and research getting a car at Kalispell and then maybe going a couple of days further south and restarting. The sky was cloudy, it was only twenty five degrees and there was a slight headwind so it was cooler and the ride back to Bigfork was more like a British summer day. We were back in town by eleven. We met a couple of cool guys who were doing Canada to Butte. They were both on 29+ bikes, so it wasn’t just me! One was a Surly Krampus and the other was a Surly Pugsley that was built up with a 29+ wheelset in stead of a fatbike set.

Fellow divide riders

They also told us about a couple from Sheffield who were somewhere in our general vicinity on the route. Ultimately we saw their names in a few guestbooks but never did catch them!

We stopped at the ice cream store we had previously visited and got a bucket of iced coffee each. There was a phone signal there too and a quick google revealed what I had read about so many times in all the Tour Divide stories I have seen. Basically it’s easier to carry on riding than it is to quit! Logistics of car hire just didn’t tie up, while we could get a car at Kalispell the nearest place to drop it was the other end of Colorado and that was just missing too much out.

On the trail day 9
On the trail day 9
On the trail day 9

So after a big discussion we decided we would carry on, but follow the touring pace of the book rather than trying to bust out as many miles as we could, which was clearly not working for us. From my perspective I just wanted to complete as much of it as I could without burning Tom out too. I wanted it to be an enjoyable experience that neither of us would forget, rather than a slog that ended up with us both broken or ill.

On the trail day 9

We checked back into the Wayfarers State Park. Tomorrow would be the fourth of July and I couldn’t think of a better way to experience the real America than to spend the day hanging out and watching the parade that was planned for midday. I also needed the chance to do as much stretching as possible in an attempt to free up my back and get it to play ball and more importantly give me a chance to get some sleep that was uninterrupted by pain.

On the trail day 9

So the plan we be to restart on the fifth, skip the part of the route we have already done by using the highway and rejoin a bit further down, hopefully spending the night a bit off route at Condon.