6-12 Crashed It Then Smashed It

I left Circle, MT, with the intent to ride 55 miles to Wolf Point. I was excited about Wolf Point as it appeared to be a bigger town and might be a good place to hang out for a night. 

The ride from Circle to  WP is on Hwy 13 going straight north. The wind had changed and was blowing from the east and blowing haphazardly at 25 to 30 mph. Those that bike know a crosswind is no treat. Also Hwy 13 is very hilly – including a climb to 3,300 ft.  

I was told there weren’t any services on that 55-mile stretch. Bring all the food and water you need. I was surprised to find a little garage-size store just opened by a lady in Vida. Vida is weird as it’s one of the few towns you have to climb a large butte to obtain. Typically towns are located at water sources like creeks and rivers, and you descend into them. Vida is for mountain goats as you climb a lot to get there. 

After feeding part of my sandwich to the lady’s 15 chickens and making a video for Jane, I continued the push to Wolf. 

WP is an awesome town to approach on a bike. It is located on the Missouri River near this river’s start or source, which I think is the Milk River. There is a great suspension bridge with parks and historic markers to view as you enter the town. You will then pass a sign that says you are on Ft. Peck Indian reservation, and you hit the main drag. 

Casinos Everywhere

What I found in WP was mayhem. Casinos that are the size of your garage are on every corner. As I pulled into town, a pickup drove down the side walk while yipping and smashing trash cans. As I stopped to check my phone for a grocery store, I was approached by a young man that told me he was my brother.

I hurried to Albertson grocery as I had run out of suntan lotion and wanted some fresh fruit. The store was very small and crowded. I paid, exited, loaded supplies on bike as more guys approached me by calling “Hey brother, where you going? Hey, spare a few bucks?”  

Look Out!

As I jumped on bike and started out of parking lot by turning right, I heard a yell and saw this young guy race his quad out of a field and onto the pavement in front me going hard and fast. 

Startled, as it appeared he came from nowhere, I tried to jerk my bike to the edge of the road and make space, I then hit a large 2-inch cement crack. Front wheel settled into said crack, bike came to fast stop, and gravity did the rest. 

I tried for a split second to get my right foot unclipped from the pedal, but a heavy touring bike with extra weight from the groceries hastily loaded on top meant I didn’t stand a chance. 

Down I went to meet the pavement!  

I have crashed many times on my bike. Jane can attest to the times I have come home missing skin on one side or another from some accident. Once I was knocked unconscious after hitting a dog and flipping over the handlebars – leading to an ambulance ride and a concussion.  

I’m no stranger to these moments. They still are and will always be unnerving and painful. I had scrapes on my hands, right leg, and right elbow. I know from experience your hands always hurt the worst at first due to lots of nerve endings, so ignore them and check for other damages. I was lucky…scraped up for sure, bent handlebar and brake lever, and totally shaken up. 

Certainly embarrassed as well. My crash occurred right in front of a small but busy casino and next to it was a park where lots of people we’re sitting and hanging out. 

Where’s That First Aid Kit?

I got up and fished out my first aid kit (thanks Amber an Andrew) and started the cleanup. Got my tool kit out and began bike repairs. Just then another person approaches me for money. No one offered any help. I told him I just crashed my iron pig and I was leaving. 

I jumped on my bike and began to ride. I rode mad. My best riding is sometimes done when I’m mad. With adrenaline pumping from the crash, I began to smash it. I jumped on the pedals, I sweated and sucked air and drove my legs to oblivion and let the pain of the ride soothe my nerves. 

I passed my campsite I planned to stop at. Went thru Oswego, Frazier, and Nashua. 

Need a Camp Site

As I approached Glasgow (my longest day at 100 miles!), I called Jane requesting help in finding a camp site. She made me reservations at the Cottonwood camp behind the hotel and casino.  

I pitched my tent, and as I started for the shower, the couple next to me in a large RV approached and gave me Rice Crispy desserts. They will never know how their kindness in that moment was so appreciated. 

That night the winds raged and shook my tent. Hard to sleep as it flaps and jerks and appears that it is getting ripped to shreds.  

I woke at 5:30 am, went to the café for breakfast, and was on the road by 7:30. Rode to Malta and stopped here at 74 miles.  

Lesson I learned? I need to ride mad more often!  

3 thoughts on “6-12 Crashed It Then Smashed It

  1. Laura

    Glad you are OK, Mark! This is definitely a trip you will remember.

  2. Amber N Miller

    I’m sad you had to use the first aid kit, but glad you had it! I’ve had some of my best workouts when I was mad, too. If you need to get mad again, don’t crash – just call us and we will let Caden jump on your face on FaceTime : ). Love you!

  3. John Gervais

    Yep, glad you’re OK Mark. Sounds like quite an ordeal. But then you ride for experiences, good and bad.

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