Friday, August 28, 2009

Waterton Glacier trip Day One

Welcome to Montana

The US border

My RV. Next time, less crap

Rain. Not exactly the start I had pictured

What a dork

The first of many climbs

Day one

Waterton to St Mary, Montana


4 hours, 58 minutes

79.7 kilometers

Average speed 16.0 km/h

Max speed 54.6 km/h

I started my ride at the junction of Highway 5 and Highway 6 just outside of Waterton National Park.

My brother in law was kind enough to get up very early on a Sunday morning to drive me to the starting point. Thanks Rich. It was about 7 degrees and raining. The empty roads, beautiful scenery, paved shoulders made it easier to put up with a little rain.

If the speeds seem low, it's because I had way too much weight and because my pace was somewhere between 'barely moving' and 'leisurely'. And I spent many years scaring myself on motorcycles, so I wasn't too interested in maxing out the top speed on the descents. There was just enough of a wobble that it kept my attention going downhill.

I had installed a new chain and cassette two days before leaving and that should ensure a trouble free drivetrain, yes? Well about 20 kilometers into the day on a down shift I dropped the chain and tried to shift it back on. I twisted a link in this episode, and things weren’t so good after that. The chain skipped every couple of revolutions, so it was pedal, skip, jar the knees, peddle, skip, and so on all day.

It made climbing hills a little tougher than they already are. Since the chain was new I assumed it wouldn’t need any attention, and I didn’t have a spare chain pin. Oops.

I got to St. Mary, Montana at about 2:30 and checked into a camping cabin at the KOA. It was great to have a heater to dry out gear and I was expecting to do some bike maintenance which is how I justified being a softie and sleeping in a cabin.

I talked to every person I saw with a bike rack hoping someone might have a spare 9 speed Shimano chain pin. No luck. That's a great way to meet new people. "I see you ride bike. You wouldn't happen to have a spare Shimano 9 speed chain pin would you?"

At the park visitor center they offered their tool box, and which contained two pairs of Vise grip pliers. I grabbed both ends of the offending link and straightened it to the point where it worked almost like new.

Day one in the books. Lesson learned? Don’t assume new parts won’t break.


  1. I can't wait for day 2. looks great brad.

  2. Man, that looks like a fun place to ride. Why didn't you invite me to come along? Next time, okay?

    One word: Sram Power-Links. They work with Shimano chains and are quick and easy for fast chain repairs. And they're larger than the Shimano pins so they're harder to lose.

  3. I've always used SRAM for that reason. I will never but another effing Shimano chain. It's a stupid system.

  4. Bikes with banana seats are stupider.