The last leg into Glacier National Park was one of the hardest days on this tour, maybe on all our tours. After pounding out 160 miles during the two days before, I woke up with extremely puffy eyes, which is apparently what happens when I get exhausted now that I'm old.
We took it easy that morning and left late, so I thought another 48 miles wouldn't be too bad. Oh man. We spent about 25 miles climbing and climbing. Let me explain to you what this means. Imagine being on a flat road and in your easiest gear on your bike. You pedal really really fast and you barely go anywhere because the gear is so easy.
Now add 40-50 pounds of gear on your bike, and that the road you're riding on is a hill that appears to ascend for about as far as you can see. Even though you're still in your easiest gear, every pedal stroke feels like you're repping out leg presses on the machine at the gym, and carries you about a foot and a half forward. If you stopped pedaling your bike would literally stop immediately. You get to the top of the hill, and see that the road has just curved into a switchback starting another hill that you can't see the top of. That is what climbing feels like.
Normally I just put on a podcast and try and zone out, but today I settled into it. I focused on the top of the hill instead of trying to ignore it, and tried to recognize the strength that my body has built that was carrying me to the top. At times I even got a little metaphorical. I know that my life is comparatively easy, but I still had a really hard time over the past year, and I haven't been the best human I could be in dealing with life now that my plans have completely changed. I know it sounds cheesy, but I told myself that if I was strong enough to make it to the top of this big ass hill then I could make it through the other challenges I'll face when I bike tour life is over. I only cried once, I didn't fall off my bike at all, AND I made it to the top of so many big hills. So my chances are looking good, y'all.