Montana 2014 Part 2 – Day 70 – Missoula: Just missed Jack

Monday July 28, 2014, 10 miles (16 km) – Total so far: 3,442 miles (5,539 km)

First thing in the morning I take the bike up to a bike shop. I tell them I need the rear wheel radially trued and that I’m looking for a 36-tooth chainring compatible with my drivetrain components. If they have one, could they please install it when they fix the rear wheel.

The young guy talks to me a bit like I’ve not been riding a bike for most of my life. I don’t know if it is because I’m a woman, or because there are a lot of newbies to cycling that use the ACA routes and stop in while in town, but I feel like the guy is talking down to me.

He checks their stock – they don’t have a chainring that will work for me. Their next order will go out tomorrow, so I’m looking at sitting in Missoula for three days for it to come in. No thanks. I ask if they can just dial in the shifting for me instead. I know I really need a new chainring, but I’ve been finding that as long as I keep the shifting dialled right in and keep the rear cassette and pulleys super-clean – the shifting is bearable. I’ve only been dealing with crappy shifting for 2500 miles on this trip 🙁

While they work on the bike, I head over to check out the U of Montana campus and then wander around downtown. Missoula has never really done it for me. I was here for a couple days in 1996, and it seemed like a nice enough place, but not somewhere I’d want to live. I still feel the same.

I do go to the Adventure Cycling headquarters – mostly just to fill out a card to complain about US 287 south of Helena. I hope if MT DOT gets enough pressure from enough places, they’ll actually fix that road properly. The death trap is on the Lewis and Clark route, so maybe ACA can do some advocacy work on that one.

They take my photo, I get the tour, etc. I suppose my biggest disappointment is that the sales and tour sections get entire rooms to work in. The mapping department consists of only a few desks. The advocacy department is just one lone person who doesn’t sit with the mapping people. I know the organisation needs to bring in the money, and sales of maps, gear and tours do this, but the lone advocacy desk makes me sad.

While filling out the guestbook, I note that Jack Day was here a few hours earlier. Awesome! I met him about six weeks ago in the Black Hills of South Dakota. We’ve taken very different routes to get here, but here we are! I ask the woman that gave me the tour if Jack is still around. She doesn’t know – he was here earlier.

So I head out, and while I’m eating lunch, I send him a message on facebook. Unfortunately, I never get his return message, so I miss him when we are within a few miles of each other!

Later in the afternoon, I return to get my bike. The mechanic says he’s had to radially true the wheel instead of just laterally. DUH! I told the first guy that’s what needed done! He says he’s fixed the shifting. I then buy two tubes and a new patch kit and head back to the motel.

On my way back to the motel, I discover the guy has actually made the shifting even worse! Grrrr…… Once back to the motel, I pull out the tools and get the shifting back to what it was before he worked on it. It’s not great, but it will have to get me to Kalispell at least. I’m not sticking around here longer. It’s good that frustrating days don’t come around all that often, and that I was able to get other chores done today, too. However, I’m ready to get outta town and away from all the people!

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