Archive for Montana

[VIDEO] Eoin Changes a Tyre in Hardin, MT

How long does it take Eoin to change a punctured tyre?  Watch this to find out!

Watch the video

Williams cycling blog

Date 17th August

From Hardin to Sheridan

Distance – 120km

We were up at 6.30 this morning to meet Mayor Kim for a bit of breakfast. Again she arranged a complimentary breakfast for us at the Dew Drop In Cafe. Donal dropped us off at Crow Agency ( where we had cycled to the day before ) We were on the road for 8 o’clock and it was already extremely warm pushing up towards the high 70s already.

We took a frontage road to avoid the dreaded I90. The road lenny loves as it’s the shortest route. But myself and Macker have no issues with banging on a few extra miles to the journey, lenny and his pencils for legs are just not able for it!

We stopped off in Wyola for some food and to take in some of the sights! We had no punctures today so the tyres were obviously doing there job! The temperature was pushing into the high 90s and we finally completed our trip through Montana and arrived in Wyoming. It took us 9 days to complete our journey though Montana and we met some wonderful, friendly people. We would recommend people visit!

Wyoming started well with a tasty downhill and it has been nothing but climbs ever since! William “Contidor” Kerwin lead from the front with a rope tied from my bike to Mackers, to Lennys. It was the only way the 2 boys could keep up with me!

We arrived in Sheradin around 2 o’clock where we were interviewed by the local paper  and had a pizza hut to replenish the energy stores. It’s a strict diet of burgers and pizzas that are carrying us through this trip! Even the support team are keeping to this strict diet! Its gotten to the point now where we have to tie shiels to the roof as we cant fit him in the car anymore!

Williams cycling blog

Date 16th August

From Billings to Hardin

Distance – 80kms + 20km extra

We had a short enough day today – it was only an 80 km cycle to Hardin but we decided to push on an extra 20 km to make tomorrows cycle a little shorter! So we cycled to a town called Crow Agency where the support team picked us up an brought us back to Hardin. We also got the support team to pick up some armadillo puncture resistant tyres to help with the number of punctures we are getting!

It was an enjoyable cycle, we avoided the I90 all day and took the frontage road to Hardin. We didn’t see a car on the road for hours but we had other issues to deal with! There were thousands of crickets all over the road and they were hopping all over the us!

Poor Leonard nearly fell off the bike around 6 times avoiding the crickets and at 1 point nearly crashed into me avoiding them! Leonard was cruising along at his usual 100 mile an hour rate and had a head on collision with some type of insect that resembled a dragon fly! In his state of shock he turns to me to ask “was that a bird Kerwin!!” it wasn’t!

We arrived in Hardin to a great welcome from Mayor Kim who treated us to dinner and organised a complementary hotel for us aswell as a tour around the local prison! There are currently no prisoners in the prison until we locked up Macker for slashing Contidor Kerwins tyres in an attempt to slow him down!

Williams cycling blog

Date 14th August

Big Timber to Billings

Distance 136km

 We had a very early start today, up at 5.45. The owners of the Burnt Out Lodge put on a massive breakfast for us. As usual I was the 1st one up doing my normal 1000 press ups and sit ups before breakfast started! After breakfast I noticed I had a front wheel puncture, Leonard was seen leaving the scene with a knife but still maintains his innocence. Donal dropped us into Big Timber for 7 o’clock. The Burnt Out Lodge was over 8miles into the wilderness on dirt roads so we had to get dropped into the local town.

 After getting soaked to the skin the day before we were hoping for an improvement in the weather today! Although it was very cloudy there was no sign of rain. We hit the road at a hard pace completing the 1st 50km in less than an 1hour and 30mins with William “ Contidor” Kerwin leading from the front, followed by Eoin “ Big Mac and cheese” McNamara With Mark “Louie Armstrong” Leonard screaming “your killing us on these hills Kerwin!!”

 We stopped off at Colombus for some food and a short break. We were back on the I 90 on the way to Billings. I was sick and tired of the I 90 with the juggernauts flying by us so I persuaded Macker and Leonard a different road to Billings – The road less travelled!  This added a few extra km to the journey, well more than a few extra km’s. It seemed to be going in a completely different direction to Billings but after promising “ it swings in”! we eventually arrived back on the I 90 and went on our way and this is where the fun really began!

Leonard got the 1st puncture of the day and from there it went from bad to worse! We got a total of 10 punctures between the 3 of us! At one point we had to persuade Macker not to throw the bike out in front of one of the lorries and get the train to Billings!

 We eventually arrived at Billings at around 2 o’clock to a great welcome from Shell Mann the manager of the Boothill Inn. She gave us goody bags with T-shirts and bottles of Guinness which went down a treat! Eoin and Donal drove back to Butte for the Irish festival and myself and Leonard flew the flag for COA in Billings!

Hardin, Montana.

The 16th of August was spent in the town of Hardin, Montana. We received our warmest welcome so far in America from the kind people of Hardin who treated us like members of their own family. We’d like to thank the Four Aces for providing us with a free, scrumptious chicken dinner, Mojoes for the complimentary coffee, and the Dewdrop In Diner for the breakfast. Thanks also to the Western Motel for putting us up.

A huge thank you to Mayor Kim Hardin, who made all this happen, and to the City of Hardin. Jeffrey S. McDowell of the Two Rivers Authority also gave us a tour of the currently empty Two Rivers Detention Facility, a brand new prison that has been built in Hardin. It was very spooky, but really interesting. It’s not every day that you get to stroll around a prison! Here’s a little peek at the prison:

Again, thanks a million to Mayor Hammond and all the people of Hardin! A great town to visit!

My Butte Side-Quest

My stall at An Rí Rá Irish Festival

I have just been reunited with the rest of the team following a three-day semi-solo fundraising effort in Butte, Montana.  And now, to explain:

Several months ago I contacted the Montana Gaelic Cultual Society regarding charity fundraising.  Each year, the Society holds An Rí Rá Irish Festival in the city of Butte, a 3-day celebration of Ireland’s culture and its connections with Montana.  The organisers of the festival showed great interest in our trip, and generously offered us a free booth at which to collect money and also free accommodation while in Butte.

The one snag was that we were scheduled to pass through the city the previous Wednesday, missing the festival by days.  After much deliberation amongst the lads, it was agreed that I would stay in Butte from Wednesday to Sunday, set up the booth on Saturday and collect all day.  Relief would come from Donal and Eoin, who volunteered to drive 230 miles back from Billings, Montana to man the stall Saturday evening, an offer made all the more impressive by Eoin having to cycle from Big Timber to Billings that same morning!  A big thanks to Eoin and Donal for making the effort.

Patrice and Colleen examine the route tattooed on my back

The days went thusly:

Wednesday: I see that Mark has already blogged about Wednesday.  It was the one night in Butte that the five of us were together.  A big thanks to Patrice Evans and Casey Johnston for putting us all up, and to Patrice again for bringing us to her company picnic at Theresa’s house.

Thursday: I joined the ranks of volunteers who were setting up the Rí Rá festival site on Park Street.  With three stages and a plethora of tents to raise, the festival’s volunteers are a hard-working and dedicated bunch.  I met a lot of great people that day, and had a great night at the launch reception that night in the Finlen Hotel.

Friday: Following a morning and afternoon of the usual COA admin work, it was off to the festival.  I got the chance to see some of the bands and meet more locals.  The day was capped off with a trad session in the Finlen Hotel.

Macker, the (Thankfully) Clothed Cowboy

Saturday: The big day.  I arrived at Park Street circa 11.30, and, with the help of Teresa, I had the stall ready to go at midday.  From 12 o’clock until 7.30 that evening, I waved the Livestrong bucket around, handed out our business cards and gave the whole COA spiel to all passers-by.  It was a great opportunity to meet the festival goers, who all showed great generosity and an enthusiastic interest in the cycle.  I was kept entertained throughout the day by my fellow Rí Rá volunteers, who stopped for a chat whenever they passed by.

The moment everyone was waiting for came circa 7.30, when Donal and Eoin arrived following their 230 mile drive.  The three of us then manned the stall until 11.30 when the festival wrapped up for the night.  Of course, the craic was only just beginning in the Finlen Hotel, where we mixed and mingled with the people of Butte ’til the early hours.

My tired self in the car on the way back to Billings on Sunday

I’d like to thank all the people who helped the team and I during our respective days in Butte.  Thanks again to Patrice and Casey for the accommodation; thanks to Monica Cavanaugh and Patrice for staying in touch with us these past few months and helping us make it happen.  Thanks to all in the Montana Gaelic Cultural Society, and thanks to everyone who donated over the weekend, giving a total of $549 to the Livestrong Foundation.  Finally, thank you to everyone for making me feel very welcome in Butte, including Monica, Rick, Patrice, Imelda, Patrick, Teresa, Theresa, Cody, John, Carol and everybody else I met.  Admittedly, until we started planning the Cycle of America, I had never heard of Butte, but this wonderful home-away-from-home is now firmly pinned on my map.

Macker, the (Thankfully) Clothed Cowboy

Day 13- 13 August 2010 Bozeman ,Montana to Big Timber 64 miles (104 Kms)

Today was Friday the 13th, so like any horror movie  I woke up to a puncture and stormy weather 50F weather. Again we were taking the I-90 as there was no alternative.

At first the rain was merely light droplets but before long it became so heavy that it was starting to become so difficult to even maintain proper control of the bike in the narrow hardshoulder.We were literally drenched as if we had just swam in the river which was shadowing. Just as the forecast predicted the storm had most definitely arrived and we were smack bang in the middle of it. There was no respite ,no shelter and without any coverage to call the support team we were forced to keep cycling through the difficult conditions with difficult visibility continuing along the interstate. For a period of the road it was so treacherous that just one slip, one lapse of concentration and you were to fall into the path of oncoming trucks.

After pedalling for 1.5 hours in tough conditions we finally made it to the first stop along the road Livingston where we stopped at a garage for some shelter and grub.

We tried contact the support team whom had bought us some hot food but with network coverage down communications were broken down there was no such luck of a fresh pair of clothes or even to try ourselves off properly so we went back onto the  dreaded I-90 to complete the final 45 miles or so without a break. Barely a picture was taken fearing the camera would be destroyed under the conditions. We had a number of the usual puncture problems which is no fun. I keep telling young Kerwin and McNamara if they want a break just ask rather than feigning a puncture and slashing their tyres to get a break but they simply won’t listen.

As is typical of our luck of late, the storm cleared just as we approached the small town of Big Timber.

At 2pm we had made it, finally, freezing cold and drenched to the bone, in great time due to the pace we had pushed ourselves and the lack of just a couple of punctures.. Support team driver young Donal Lucey was on hand with the hot food warmed up.We then loaded the bikes onto the back of the car to drive upon the gravel road to get to our stay that night.

Our lodging for the night was “The burnt out lodge” a 7 mile trek down a dirt road through the mountains in a big, log cabin ( )

Never seen anything like it before,it was unreal.With it being Friday the 13th ,I had thought the scene was set for a great story. The cabin was  isolated surrounded by the mountains and wildlife and great view. It was difficult to find even in the light. It was the height of comfort and luxury and Ruth and her husband could not be more interesting and accommodating. Was intrigued by their stories of wolves, mountain lions and bears which they have come across down the year. We made the 10 mile journey back along the dirt road for dinner together in Big Timber and made sure to make it back before darkness fell for safety purposes.Even young Robert Shiels wouldnt risk heading out for a night out in Big Timber and walking home 7 miles in the cover of darkness among the bears and other wildlife that surrounded the Burnt Out Lodge

Day 12- 12 August 2010 Butte, Montana to Bozeman ,Montana 96 miles (132 Kms)

Don’t be deceived by the myth that Montana is always warm in August. It is as temperate as a certain Robert Shiels’ temperament if the full 8 hours beauty sleep aren’t gotten.

On a freezing cold morning which you would expect to find in Dublin in Mid December.Patrice lead the way for us to take the “backroads” rather than the more dangerous I-90 less scenic.Where possible  we are taking backroads although it may add an extra 10 to 20 miles to the journey we do this as on the interstates we are more prone to punctures. What is causing these punctures is staples which is coming from the tyres of the juggernaughts on the I-90 .Literally every second vehicle is a massive truck 18 wheeler gliding by at 70 miles per hour. When one of tyres explode which happens quite regularly judging by the huge amount of tyres along the I-90 its punctures galore.

We took the backroads to three forks and then rejoined the I-90 as there was no parallel road to Bozeman

Despite our efforts numerous punctures to be reported evenly spread amongst the team. We are spending a small fortune on tubes every day averaging approx 8 punctures a day amongst the team. This isn’t the issue more so the amount of time it is taking up. We are going through tyres in the same fashion Russell Brand swaps girlfriends

As the day proceeded the sun began to shine on the COA team. Regular breaks were had and numerous snaps taken of the Rockies. We seen all sorts of wildlife,Deer,bald eagles .So far we have not seen any bears despite the high population of them.We have been told there are grizzlies and have been told stories of some horrific attacks from them. They can run speeds of up to 30 mph so we always try to maintain the pace and avoid getting in between them and their cubs ,or swimming in lakes full of salmon. The mace spray is always at the ready nevertheless

We also need to watch out for grass and even rattlesnakes when were changing tubes fixing tubes by the road side. Bear grills eat your heart out

After the support team met us with some food in Three Forks we proceeded to pass through Belgrade and Manhattan to our final destination of Bozeman. When we got to Bozeman we were met by Jason Delmue and Melissa whom had nachos and chocolate milk waiting for us. Great people! They were enthusiastic about the cycle  and put us up in their holiday home which hands down is the nicest house I’ve ever stayed in. It featured moveable stairs, rolling hinges made from skateboard wheels and tri-coloured bedsheets.3 stories high it was similar to the house you would see on cribs on MTV and plus after a quick game of Rock paper and Scissors it was agreed myself and Eoin have 1 room each while the others shared the 3rd story room

Burnt out Lodge and Big Timber.

Last night we stayed at Burnt Out Lodge, a big, log cabin out in the wilderness. It sits in a valley beside a creek, in the midst of a forest that was burned by a forest fire in 1994. There are burned tree trunks everywhere, jutting eerily from the hillsides. There were also a lot of deer! William "Beastmaster" Kerwin went hunting deer with his bare hands after spotting them outside the lodge. A huge thank you to Ruth and her husband for letting us stay free at their lodge, and for the massive breakfast this morning!

We took a trip into the town of Big Timber, ate some truly gigantic burgers (pounders!) and had fun playing with the merchandise at the local gift shop, "The Fort." Cowboy hats were bought! Thanks to the lovely ladies working there for putting up with four mad Irishmen.

Mark’s Blog- Day 11- 11 August 2010 Deer Lodge, Montana to Butte, Montana 40 miles (64 Kms)

Today was to be a relatively “easy” day. Just 40 miles so we enjoyed the sleep in waking at 8am rather than the usual 6am wake up call “Lenny are you awake” from the human alarm clock that is William Kerwin.We expected the cycle to take 2.5 hours.Also we had an interview lined up with KXLF TV station in Butte upon our arrival .Our premier TV performance

Young McNamara lead the peloton under the blue skies of Deere Lodge towards Butte, following I-90 road .The road itself could not be faulted, it was perfectly smooth with few uphill climbs, very little traffic and a wide shoulder size to accommodate the 3 of us to cycle side by side.

But as is per usual for COA there was a twist in the tale and drama was never far away

Approximately 15 miles outside of Butte there was road works taking place…

The hard shoulder was occupied by a  a construction vehicle and cars were bought to a  slow pace/standstill in the other 2 lanes but COA  not wishing to be delayed for the scheduled interview with KXLF TV news proceeded to overtake the traffic and cycle through the tarmac which just been laid down by a steam roller.

After seconds of cycling we realised quickly that the tarmac was sticking to the tyres like glue.Not only were we destroying the newly paved road we were also destroying our own tyres.45 minutes on we were still  pulling pieces of tarmac..until one of the construction workers called Steve came to the rescue out with DUV40 de greaser which done the trick…we were back in business and one hour later were in Butte

This was a schoolboy error that the 3 stooges would be proud of. Do not try that at home guys

After grabbing a bite to lunch we made it to the big interview with KXLF .the interview

The link for the interview is the below…

And before minds begin to wonder, yes it does look like I thought  the camera was on the ground before me but in reality the sun was in my eyes and a certain McNamara had mislaid my sunglasses prior to the interview.

Seriously though, a massive thanks to local reporter Melanie Yuill for taking an interest in our cycle

Following the interview we then went to the house of Patrice Evans, who kindly hosted the team that night. she whom is pulling the strings for this weekends Irish Ri-Ra FESTIVAL in Butte this weekend and will be organising a booth for us to fundraise on Saturday 14th August. Patrice and friends even brought us along to a picnic where we met where we received a royal

The people of Butte whether it be the strong Irish American community there or not we were treated as family and we can’t thank you guys enough for this