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.
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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

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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!

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