Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stevensville, MT

Day 25: Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Missoula to Stevensville: 36 miles

I got to sleep on a mattress last night. Actually, it felt more like a set of box springs. Or maybe just a box.

But it was nice being in this group home - er, warmshowers house.

Back to the hospital at 7:30 for the stress echocardiogram. Eleven minutes of treadmill. Most stimulating part of the day. All it showed was that my heart was in great shape. So as far as the International Heart Institute was concerned, I was good to go. But I didn't feel any better. I should have asked for a follow-up in the respiratory side of the house.

But I determined to give it a go. After doing some cleanup at the house, packing up, and shopping for a few supplies, it was 6:00 pm. But it stays light here until ten, and since my destination was a flat 25 miles down the Bitterroot Valley, I figured it would be a piece of cake.

It was thirteen miles back to Lolo. After that, there's a bike path along the highway that goes for some 50 miles. It was reasonably smooth, and the separation from traffic was enjoyable, in terms of both noise and safety. And to top it off, I had a 10 mph tailwind. Smooth sailing.

Yet, when I reached Stevensville, I was feeling like crap. I could hardly breathe, and the pain on the right side of my chest was extending up into my shoulder and neck. And the RV park that I'd chosen to camp at looked like the pits, and it was closed.

But some people just have a sense of radar for fellow bikers. About two minutes after I got there, a car pulled up, and the driver asked, "Want to come home with me and stay at my place?"

Now, if I were a 20-year-old kid, I might want to read something into that. But who's gonna want to do anything with an Old Coot who looks like he's gonna keel over? So we ended up throwing all my gear into the back seat and loading the bike onto the rear rack.

It turns out the guy is Roger Dibrito, one of the people responsible for that bike path I'd been riding on. He's been working for years to get it extended to Missoula. He and a friend (who was also at the house) have developed a lot of bicycle-oriented safety and training material. He has worked with Dan Burden, one of the original founders of Bikecentennial. He and Robert (who was up from Florida for six weeks) planned to start shooting a new training video in the morning. I couldn't have been picked up by a better guy.

I laid out my sleeping bag on one of the grandkids' bunks, and crashed.

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