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David Freeze: Strong headwinds take the day

Editor’s note: Salisbury native David Freeze is cycling from Anacortes, Washington, to Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Post is chronicling each day of his ride. Contact him at david.freeze@ctc.net

It isn’t often that I get to face strong headwinds all day, but that is just what happened all the way from Malta to Glendive, Montana, on Monday.

In all my trips, I can remember only twice that the force of the winds rivaled what happened. Once was on the way to Fort Scott, Kansas, and the other was my first day in Kansas on the same 2013 cross-country trip.

The wind was moving slightly even at 5:15 a.m. Monday. A couple of the previous days had a decent headwind early but then it moderated and changed to a tail wind. Not so Monday. Picture a very tired rider going up and down over mesas, buttes, berms or whatever they are called here.

Never did the wind let up, and it was blowing strong enough to keep all flags standing straight out and pointed toward me. I made 71 of the hardest miles I can remember

My room Sunday night at the Sportsman Motel in Malta was perfect. I got one of the studio rooms and would recommend it to anyone passing through.

That second Dairy Queen milkshake probably got a trend started. I have already seen a DQ close by here in Glasgow.

About 25 miles east of Malta Monday morning was Saco. The wind had already beat me up and I stopped for a couple of egg sandwiches at the local cafe.

Didn’t get any night crawlers, but they also had them for sale. The operator didn’t get off the phone as she made the sandwiches and never spoke other than to tell me how much they were. Still, they were very good.

Then it was on east to Hinsdale where they have a nice convenience store. I talked with the clerk about all the mosquitoes. It seems that the farmers irrigate their fields and water is left standing.

The owner of the Sportsman Motel told me that once he thought he saw a fog and it was actually a huge cloud of mosquitoes.

I think because of the wind, there were fewer mosquitoes Monday although a few did land on me. I think the ones that did were North Dakota mosquitoes and were being blown into Montana and hit me on the way.

The wind was blowing full force as the afternoon progressed, and I struggled to maintain 6 miles per hour. I constantly kept my head down to make less wind resistance and watched the cyclometer slowly move.

When I got to Glasgow, I still had to pedal about 3 miles up and against the wind to make it to my motel for the evening. I was comfortably situated in a suite with four beds, thanks to owners Doug and Sharon Adolphson. The price was right and the room was perfect.

Today has several options. Two other cyclists who are staying here told me about their plans. A short day takes us to the end of U.S. 2 for Adventure Cycling riders at West Point. A long day continues on to Circle or even Glendive.

After Monday, the wind has to be positively behind us to make those long options work. Regardless, we are getting close to the end of Montana.

One unusual thing from Monday. I found the Sleeping Buffalo Rock, a rock off a wind-swept mountain that many tribes of Indians found sacred even from prehistoric times. It was moved to Malta in the 1930s but is now kept under a little shed next to U.S. 2. Ancient markings define its horns, ribs, eyes and backbone.

Monday was a very hard day. My feet were ready to be up but I planned to get some food and further explore plans for today. We are working on final plans for my ride to Mount Rushmore, beginning in just a few days. Then if all goes well, I will continue on into Nebraska before making my way back north. Lots of variables are still to be worked out.

A shout-out to a couple of more sponsors. Gear for Races of Raleigh provides our many race shirts throughout the year, and Vac and Dash of Albemarle prints them. They work very well together.

Thanks for the many emails. It is fun to hear your experiences along my route and suggestions on what to see.

See you back here after another ride today.

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