Saturday, October 10, 2015

Warm Springs Ridge, Bitteroot Mountain Range

Jen in Heaven.

31 miles of AMAZING!
This is the ride to do in the fall when you have a lot of fitness and want to get up the high country!

Click here for Mapping details;

On October 3, we finally made it over to the far southern end of the Bitterroot Valley to ride Warm Springs Ridge.

We did it as a big loop, beginning near Lost Trail Hot Springs at Indian Trees Campground, climbing 7-8 miles on a Forest Service Road to Porcupine Saddle Trail Head, getting on the Warm Springs Ridge Trail and riding it all the way south back to Highway 93, and then back 7 miles on 93 to the car.

All in all, it was a 30 mile loop with 5,000 feet of gain, but since most of the climbing is gradual and the descending relatively non-technical (similar to the standard Rattlesnake rides), it's a less strenuous ride than Sheep Mountain or Curly Lakes.

Tire was puncured, so we used a $10 bill. Not so good - we switched it for a Hammer gel package (used) for the rest of the ride. Luckly they still took our $10 for beer at the Brewery in Hamilton after the ride.

Curly Lakes, Bitteroot Mountain Range Montana

Almost to 10,000 ft

One of our goals for summer was to do some big mountain bike rides in the high country. This was going to happen during August, and we started out good with our annual Sheep Mountain ride, but then during the following week my mountain bike frame broke, and our plans went haywire.

However, as luck would have it, last weekend, our daughter Ellie raced cross country in Bozeman and Alex had just moved into town, so we decided to head over to see them both on Saturday and then rent a bike for me, camp in the Tobacco Roots Saturday night, and do the ride on Sunday.

We got an early-ish start at 9:30am, and it took us six hours. The ride doesn't disappoint: fun climbs and really challenging descending. In fact, one thing to be ready for on this ride is technical descending - nothing like the smooth stuff we've got in Missoula - and a total body workout. 
An enduro bike would actually be ideal on this ride.

Click here for Mapping details.
At the bottom of the 20 mile ride
Good spot to rest for the 5 hour day riding
9,000ft at the Saddle
Starting the long descent down through rocky shale sections.
Earned a "Whop-Chop" after riding 30 miles and dropping 8,000ft of downhill. Yummy! Thanks Butte America!

Cross Racing for Fitness

How I get up RUN-UPS  Photo by Jed Zilla 
Cyclocross Season has begun, and while I do not particularly enjoy racing on skinny tires with no suspension on bumpy back roads against road bikers, I do it for the kids. Many of the girls I coach like cross, so I want to support them. (Plus, I always lose 5 pounds. FITNESS!) Ha-Ha. But seriously, it does make you a faster rider to be anaerobic for 45 mins. No rest. Just full on racing.
The course at Rolling Thunder (spurgin and tower road) is the best for me. Since I am a mountain biker, this course is fun with lots of tecky spots that I can accelerate. Any other course that is flat, is just a painful day for me.

 With my "little alpha riders" and Else from our High School team.
Tiny downhill to catch my breath at the Ranch Club Race.
Stoked to win the first race of the Season. A rare smile on course.
Photo by

70 year old Grandma kills it on Mountain Bike

It is not often that I get to coach a 70 year old women in Mountain Biking!
Last week I took my 6th graders out to ride and one of the chaperons was a grandmother. I have seen her ski (She RIPS) so I knew she would be fine. Below is the sweet message she send me on facebook.

Okay, this is the story.
Yesterday I accompanied Sussex School 6th graders on a mountain bike excursion.
And I didn't even know mountain biking was on my bucket list.
I have a "mountain bike", I thought. If it was a mountain style bike years ago, it isn't now!
I can ski almost any slope.
What I am challenged by is mountain biking with 13 very fast 6th graders. I was to bring up the rear in case someone needed help.
Going up was okay. The challenge was finding the right gear.
Going down was a whole other ballgame. narrow trail. trees crowding the trail. rocks (huge rocks smile emoticon between the trees on the trail. I realized fairly early in the downhill I didn't know what the heck I was doing. I stopped counting the trees I narrowly missed. The rocks kept reminding me of the rock which I tripped over while running.
Like I say, I didn't know mountain biking was on my bucket list.
I have checked it off.
Thank you Jen Bardsley! I really did enjoy myself.

Whitefish Enduro Race #5 Montana Enduro Series

Ladies rocking stage 3

Super fun racing with the ladies! Every stage was blind for me since I didn't pre-ride the course (DUMB!)

But I was lucky enough to have the Flathead Queen on DH - Erin Bodman to give me the heads up on each trail. It really was sorta a neat challenge to come into every obstacle without any idea. 

I ride the same trails over and over in Missoula and could probably do them backwards with my eyes closed. This was fresh and a little terrifying. 

Good clean fun!

Stage 1 was scary but fun.
Stage 2 was great because there was bacon at the top.
Stage 3 was a bummer because I flatted. 

But, I finished with no injuries and had a great time seeing old friends from 27 years ago (middle school peeps!)
Jen and John after 3 stages

Lone Peak Revenge Enduro Race - Big Sky Montana

Photo by,

This season I traveled with my team to Big Sky Montana to compete in a 6 stage Enduro race. I am so glad that I am in shape because the amount of riding uphill along with all the descending was an exhausting day.

  • 8,000 ft of Descending
  • 3,000 ft of Climbing (not on a chairlift, actual riding)
I hooked up some of the team members from Flathead's "Soft Pedal Team" and had an epic day with the ladies. It was pretty rad to race all over the mountain. We were riding on serious shale, hitting drops, and fun table tops on flow trail. The hardest stage was the second down a slippery mud slide trying to avoiding trees. It was not pretty. But I was stoked with my time on that one. My favorite stage was three down a sweet tecky single track that I could let go of the brakes and truly drop it!

Photo by
photo by

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sheep Mountain

Jen riding toward Sheep Mountain

Sheep Mountain is considered Missoula's classic alpine mountain bike loop. It's  a ride you wait to do later in the season when you have some fitness and it is good to go with someone that knows the trail. There are a couple ways to start the ride, but most folks finish at the Rattlesnake trailhead. As far as loops go, Sheep Mountain is pretty much as good as it gets.

This year John and I started up Lincoln hills trail head and rode up to Blue Point. This is quite an effort for climbing, but once you make it to this junction, life gets fun on a windy decent for another hour toward Sheep Mountain. There is more climbing, but I like it since it is so high in elevation with awesome alpine views. 

We saw 2 bears this time, one eating huckleberries, the other ran across the trail on a mission. Our friends that were 30 mins behind us came onto a Mountain Lion on the trail at the top of the Rattlesnake corridor. That is an area where a lot of wildlife is passing through since there is ample water and a highway from the Wilderness range from the Mission Mountains.

Only 2 wrecks this year, John did an amazing track-star moment flipping over his handle bars on the first tight corner below Sheep Mountain. He literally jumped with both legs spread and was able to land onto the rockiest section of the trail with no broken ankles. It was impressive.

There was only 3 trees down thanks to the efforts of MTB MISSOULA. THANKS GUYS!

Our ride was 35 miles with 5,300 ft of elevation with a moving time of 5 hours. Great adventure!

The Enchanted Forest

Jen and John 
Old Fire look-out on top

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Coaching Little Alphas

Estelle getting some air up the Rattlesnake

This season has been super full of coaching. I took on another group of girls besides our girl's high school team to coach the "Little Alpha's"
This group of girls are ages 11-14. These middle school girl's parents have been asking me for years to take on a younger group, so this year I am riding with them on Thursday Nights. I get emails and calls every week asking for new girls to come ride with this group, unfortunately I am full and cannot take on more girls for the sake of safety. Luckily, I have had the help from the girls I have been coaching for 3 years.
The coolest thing about this has been my older high school girls mentoring the next generation. Each ride on Thursday night is actually a huge group, so I really need their help to keep things manageable on trail. Thanks so much to Ellie, Maddy, Hannah L and Allie who have been consistently helping coach.
Lucia getting a little air on the jump

Little Alpha rides
High school rider Zoey with middle school rider Estelle

Bike Clinic at Sussex School

Coach Alex at Sussex School
This year I got to do a little bike clinic at Sussex School for the elementary kids. It was super fun to have Alex Bardsley come help me since he has so much experience coaching at Woodward West at Copper Mountain, Missoula Freeride Camp and Evolve Bike Center in Denver Colorado. Alex also has that "cool-kid" factor since he is a Pro mountain biker in Slopestyle and Dirt Jumping. 

At Sussex we worked on balance, cornering, body positioning and  having fun!

Coach Alex watching the kids work on downhill body positioning

Alex demonstrating to stand up on downhill

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Coaching at Discovery Bike Park | DISCO MASH

Alex, my partner in crime coaching at Disco.

Super fun time coaching with Alex at Discovery Bike Park. This new skills park in extremely fun with ladders, drops, gaps, seesaws, giant berms and fun step-ups.

This bike park is open on Saturday's and Sunday's in the summer 10am-4pm. The lift operators are really cool and there is always a cool vibe with folks cooking up sausages and chillin in the parking area.

Alex took the advanced kids that wanted to learn how to the road-gaps and I took the beginner/intermediate kids to work on the basics and push limits to try new things.

The day was hot as heck since it was during the 100 degree heat wave, but it didn't feel that bad which was surprising. I had a ball demoing bikes from Missoula Bicycle Works (Kona Operator) and really enjoyed coaching my crew.

Big thanks to Disco for having us out to ride and lead clinics. What a great mountain to drop!
Jen enjoying a sweet wood berm at Disco bike Park
Happy Jen on the chairlift
At the top of S-line waiting to drop

Old friends from Bozeman


MT Alpha jr girls program

Excited to be on the MTB MISSOULA Board

Jen and the Boys. MTB Missoula board members and volunteers at Sheep Mountain to clear trail.

Excited to announce that I am the newest member on the board for MTB Misssoula!
MTB Missoula works with the City of Missoula Parks and Recreation Department through an Adopt-A-Trail agreement. We work with the USFS – Lolo National Forest and have a Challenge Cost-Share Agreement to do work on area Forest Service trails. We work with Montana State Parks and the Montana Conservation Corps to promote trail maintenance and development. We are affiliated with IMBA

MTB MISSOULA Facebook Page

My saw for the day
Tail Super Hero
Early monring at the trail head, working out which trails to go clear with chainsaw.
CHEERS!  Jen with fellow MTB Missoula board member and legend Bill Schultz