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