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  1. #1
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Blogging for Cycle Montana

    The adventure has begun: today's destination en route to Bozeman and Cycle Montana- Douglas, Wyoming

    Rode around this small ranching community at about 6:00 AM just to stretch my legs. The air is crisp and fresh on a Sunday morning at 5000 feet elevation. It's actually quite a scenic little place with the Bighorn Mts peeking up off in the distance. After all my endurance training for this trip, it is really nice to ride with legs that are not tired.

    I rode through the town and up to the freeway exit for a little scenic view.

    Locals were friendly but kind of quiet for some reason.


    I made an exception last night and had two big greasy McDonald's burgers. Not something I do often but it seems to have agreed with me.
    http://dongreersbicyclingblog.blogspot.com/
    Last edited by billydonn; 06-24-11 at 06:25 AM.

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  2. #2
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Reconnaissance Day

    I arrived in Bozeman yesterday leaving me plenty of time to recon the area today before meeting up with my riding group for the initial meeting and dinner. (Looks like a nice group of folks and have already had some good conversations. Met up with another 50+ member, which is nice.) This morning I could not resist making the short drive down to Ennis where we are going tomorrow. There is lots of snow remaining on the mountains and Montana is greener than I have ever seen it. As you can see, it was gray and rainy today, but tomorrow promises to be much better. There will be about 2000 feet of climbing in the 46 mile run to Ennis.






    Tomorrow there will be some actual pictures of people on bicycles in these places.

    http://dongreersbicyclingblog.blogspot.com/

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  3. #3
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    First Day of CM is in the Books

    Cycle Montana rode today from the Bozeman area to the small flyfishing mecca of Ennis. Weather was nearly perfect for me, i.e. coolish and overcast with very little wind. Today's scenery was pretty much classical western Montana with lush rolling hills and often along the Madison River. Other than the scenery and good company of fellow riders, highlights of the day included a substantial climb of about 900 feet over something like three miles followed by a somewhat scary downhill 7% run over a three mile stretch. Unfortunately a cold rain and a gusty crosswind came up just as I started this descent and it took some attention to control (i.e. slow down) my bike and stay safe. Also a bunch of us were buzzed pretty aggressively by a local redneck in a pickup... but no harm came to anyone.

    Anyway these negatives notwithstanding it was a fantastic day of riding with 46 miles down and about 300 yet to go. Everyone arrived safely and dinner at the local HS was excellent. We ride 72 miles to Dillon, MT tomorrow beginning with a 2000 foot climb over about 8 miles. Oh, goodie!





    http://dongreersbicyclingblog.blogspot.com/
    Last edited by billydonn; 05-30-12 at 10:02 PM.

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  4. #4
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    How many folks are doing the ride? Looks like great country. Will check it out for future tours.

    My wife was just through there driving to Glacier.
    Ride your Ride!!

  5. #5
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    I grew up in MT and know the area where you are riding quite well. I am totally jealous that you are enjoying riding in MT.

    A really nice ride would have been between Ennis and Virginia City. You could go from Virginia City through Sheridan on your way to Dillon.

  6. #6
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jppe View Post
    How many folks are doing the ride? Looks like great country. Will check it out for future tours.

    My wife was just through there driving to Glacier.
    About 60 of us are riding... I think the limit was something like 150 but it did not fill up this year.

    Quote Originally Posted by gtragitt View Post
    I grew up in MT and know the area where you are riding quite well. I am totally jealous that you are enjoying riding in MT.

    A really nice ride would have been between Ennis and Virginia City. You could go from Virginia City through Sheridan on your way to Dillon.
    We start today going from Ennis to VC.... 2000 feet up in eight miles. Then to Twin Bridges and on to Dillon. I'm not sure but I think we hit Sheridan too....

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  7. #7
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    Virginia City, Nevada City, Alder, Laurin, Sheridan and Twin Bridges. Good luck on the big hill between Ennis and Virginia City.

  8. #8
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Is it a "hill"?

    Quote Originally Posted by gtragitt View Post
    Virginia City, Nevada City, Alder, Laurin, Sheridan and Twin Bridges. Good luck on the big hill between Ennis and Virginia City.
    Yep... that's the route, plus 28 miles from Twin Bridges to Dillon. I'm going to suggest that the climb from Ennis to Virginia City is something more than a "hill". I mapped it in MapMyRide and it was classified Cat 1 by them. Here's the Garmin output for today and note the elevation graph.

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/94030463

    Last edited by billydonn; 06-24-11 at 09:08 PM.

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  9. #9
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Two Down and Four to Go

    Ennis to Dillon, MT- 72 miles

    Today the weather was nearly perfect for a little Montana bike ride. The day opened with a 2000 foot climb from the outskirts of Ennis over to Virginia City in about eight miles. Once the road went up it was pretty tough on me at first and I stopped at every mile marker for about six miles. At first I was overdressed and getting too hot, but after I shed some layers things got better and I found a pretty good rhythm and did not suffer too much in the last parts of the climb. The stops gave me good opportunities to take pictures and helped me to save my legs for an even harder day tomorrow.

    I was certainly not fast today but I am not really feeling all that tired tonight and should be good to go tomorrow. I ate and drank frequently, stayed within myself, and I was not exhausted at the end of the ride either. (The Recoverite seems to help... thanks to my friend Dave for suggesting it.) I am a little surprised by how comfortable I have been on my bike considering the long ride time today. There hasn't been much neck, hand or seat discomfort at all.

    Tomorrow night I will likely be without internet access so I may not post for awhile. But this ride is definitely the hardest one of the week with 3800 feet of climbing by mile 45.... and the last 25 miles or so down Grasshopper Pass to Wise River, MT are ALL DOWNHILL! I may try some video of that.

    Riding in these mountains is obviously new to me and I have much to learn. But on several occasions now I must say I have surely gained a far greater appreciation for the quality and durability of road bicycle brakes. The speeds that are possible when the road points down are amazing.

    http://dongreersbicyclingblog.blogspot.com/

    The next time I ride on a tour I will weigh less than 200 pounds....
    The next time I ride on a tour I will weigh less than 200 pounds....
    The next time I ride on a tour I will weigh less than 200 pounds....
    The next time I ride on a tour I will weigh less than 200 pounds....
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    Last edited by billydonn; 05-30-12 at 10:05 PM.

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  10. #10
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    CM Day 3 - Dillon to Wise River- 74 Miles

    Due to unexpected internet access I offer a quick report: Tonight those of us not camping reside in the Wise River Club where a local cowboy poet performed for us in the bar. I am told that about 75 persons reside in Wise River, which is on the banks of the Big Hole River.

    Aside from the 4000 feet of climbing which is unbelievably slow or me, the featured events of the day were descents from the summit of Badger Pass into the arid Big Hole Valley

    and the descent from Grasshopper Pass to Wise River, which is more forested and twisty.


    In both cases the only question is "how fast do you dare to go?" and I highly recommend they be placed on the bucket list of BF's avid descenders club. The entire 28 mile ride down from Grasshopper Pass to Wise River is almost entirely downhill and is an amazingly fun ride though not all of it is hair-raisingly steep.

    There are places to cool your rims if the need arises.

    The view from the deck of the Grasshopper Inn was exceptional. It was a great place for lunch.


    It is 54 miles to Butte tomorrow, where we have a layover/recovery day.

    http://dongreersbicyclingblog.blogspot.com/
    Last edited by billydonn; 06-23-11 at 12:06 AM.

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  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Thanks for the ride reports. I remember the old road over Pipestone Pass into Butte. The new road is less spectacular.

    Unfortunately the old copper mine in Butte is no longer used and is full of ugly red water.

  12. #12
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Looks like a good time. Might try it sometime.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  13. #13
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quickie Report

    Today we are in Butte, MT for a day of rest. It was quite a 55 mile ride yesterday- more to follow later on that.

    I have enjoyed getting to know 50+ member Brad, though we have not pedaled a single stroke together. He is always a very early starter and, I surmise, a faster rider than me. We had a good walk back from dinner yesterday to our hotel through the historic district of Butte.

    Start of Day 4 in Wise River- I will not see Brad again until dinner.... hmmm, does he really ride?

    I wore my 50+ jersey yesterday and received compliments from a young California couple passing me on the road at about mile 20.
    Last edited by billydonn; 06-24-11 at 08:13 AM.

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  14. #14
    Senior Member rideon7's Avatar
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    I've enjoyed hanging out with BD during this ride. He's a great conversationalist with a good, wacky sense of humor! The ride has been awesome. And yes, BD, I really ride! On the back-to-back 70+ mile days, my knees were sore, but they strengthened up and yesterday was a fine, fast ride, with a 15-mile downhill and the wind at our backs! Every day has brought a new form of amazement. The Big Hole River valley would be right up there at the top of the list of the incredible landscapes I've seen this trip.

    Brad
    aka Rideon7

  15. #15
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billydonn View Post
    Now that's a super hero photo!
    I'm enjoying reading this thread, and seeing the photos.
    WANTED: Not a darn thing. I've got it all. Life is good.
    Website at curtis.corlew.com Bicycle blog at ccorlew.blogspot.com

  16. #16
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Two Thoughts Come to Mind

    Thinking back on four days and about 250 miles of riding (and there is lots of time for thinking at my climbing speed), two impressions come to mind:

    1. It is dang satisfying to ride a bike you have built for yourself. My bike was an eBay frame I got about 8 weeks ago and every piece on it was selected with this ride in mind. It has performed flawlessly and been extremely comfortable all the way. (I did mount one of my Brooks saddles, which I do not really use for shorter local rides and that was a great decision.) Sure, an extra gear would have been nice a time or two. I am not much for naming my bikes, but "Ole Reliable" comes to mind.... or perhaps it should be "Funbringer"? No it must be the former since yesterday's "brisk" downhill ride had me thinking preeminently about bike reliability and its relationship to remaining alive.

    Ole Reliable has seen many scenes this week and would have lots of stories to tell:



    2. The big mountains out here are a very different kind of bicycling experience. Nowhere else can you spend so much time going incredibly slow (thinking 15 mph would be so cool but you will never go that fast again) and then suddenly (when you are very tired) an invisible force is relentlessly pushing you to heretofore unimaginable, and obviously life threatening, speeds limited only by who knows what. This, for me at least, truly takes some getting used to. But, heaven help me, I do think I love it.

    http://dongreersbicyclingblog.blogspot.com/
    Last edited by billydonn; 06-24-11 at 10:06 AM.

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  17. #17
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
    Now that's a super hero photo!
    I'm enjoying reading this thread, and seeing the photos.
    Actually I think it was Andy and Tonya from Sausalito who mentioned the jersey... maybe they have seen one before but they didn't say so. At the risk of seeming immodest, an encore... Couple in background are fast, fit, slim. Don't know their names but I think I hate them!
    Correction: just joking...they are from Denver and they are quite nice.


    I'm thinking, maybe a jacket or shorts next order.... and can we get a 50+ cape in the works???
    Last edited by billydonn; 06-25-11 at 05:56 AM.

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  18. #18
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Ride Report: Day Four

    Wise River to Butte, MT- about 55 miles

    This was one of the best cycling days ever. Leaving Wise River my legs were very tired at first but a relatively level ten-mile cruise along the meandering Big Hole River loosened them up just fine. It was some of the nicest scenery you could ask for.



    At mile 10.9 we turned north onto little-used County Road 539 and climbed slowly for about ten miles up a picturesque valley to a water stop at a place called the Mule Ranch Overlook. Wow! (Note: better quality, clickable larger pictures are at my blogspot.)




    After lunch, about five miles of moderate climbing followed, ending with the steepest climb of the entire ride- about 3/4 mile at 8 to 10 percent grade to the top of the Continental Divide. That hurt a lot but the result was worth it! For the next eight miles the road pitched downward, and very steeply for the first mile or two, which had very bumpy pavement. We were warned not to get too frisky on the rough surface. There was a good tailwind too.


    Daredevils in the group started ripping down that valley from the very top, but I took it slowly until the pavement smoothed out. Then I did not turn a pedal stroke (except to stretch my legs or shift balance) and barely touched the brakes for the next six miles. My average speed was about 30 mph and it was a huge thrill. It just kept going and going with gentle curves and good vision ahead all the way. I have never ridden so fast for so long.... amazing!

    The rest of the ride in to Butte was actually less than thrilling and included about 6 miles on I-90 and about 3 miles on an unpaved path finishing at the Montana Tech campus in Butte. I quicky headed off to the historic Hotel Finlen and arrived there just in time to avoid a pretty severe thunderstorm that had the campers struggling to keep their tents from blowing away.


    A day of rest and relaxation in Butte is very welcome. There is lots of Victorian architecture to view here... I am going to try again for some video going down Pipestone Pass tomorrow to Three Forks.

    http://dongreersbicyclingblog.blogspot.com/
    Last edited by billydonn; 06-24-11 at 09:00 PM.

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  19. #19
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
    Now that's a super hero photo!
    I'm enjoying reading this thread, and seeing the photos.
    +1 here too, but I'm thinking, it's just not fair. I'm trying to train to ride a Century on the Third Annual Fifty + Bike Ride in Ann Arbor on July 9, which I presume you are still planning to attend. Due to work I've lost about about 60 training miles this week, and you're doing an equivalent daily mileage, in mountains.

    Ride on.
    Last edited by Jim from Boston; 06-25-11 at 02:21 PM.

  20. #20
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    +1 here too, but I'm thinking, it's just not fair. I'm trying to train to ride a Century on the Third Annual Fifty + Bike Ride in Ann Arbor on July 9, which I presume you are still planning to attend. Due to work I've lost about about 60 training miles this week, and you're doing an equivalent daily mileage, in mountains.

    Ride on.
    Thanks, Jim
    Am in Three Forks, MT tonight with final short ride tomorrow. Today may have been the most enjoyable day of all. Pics to follow later.

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  21. #21
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Day Five- Butte to Three Forks

    We rode out of Butte and over the Continental Divide at Pipestone Pass to Three Forks, MT today for a total of 66.5 miles. After the descent of the pass we rode through a great agricultural plain and the nice little town of Whitehall, where we had our lunch break. Then we followed the Jefferson River through a spectacular canyon before finally arriving at Three Forks. Everyone was impressed by the beauty of the canyon section of this ride. There seemed to be a little sadness at dinner because folks knew it was our last night together. I did not get as many photos as usual today because, for one thing, I was able to climb this pass nonstop (!) . And this ride was by far my fastest overall of the week and I was just flowing through it. I felt at the end it was a day I could have ridden a century.

    I have a nice helmet-cam video of the complete downhill ride from the Pipestone Pass that I will post when I get home.

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  22. #22
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    A Walk Around Three Forks, MT

    At 6:00 a little Sunday morning walk around Three Forks was pretty interesting. I did find some coffee but the fireworks stand was not open yet. The Sacajawea Hotel is where I'm staying next time!
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  23. #23
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    I looked at your Garmin link. I see you took Old US 10 over Pipestone rater than I-15. I enjoyed driving over the old road.

    I know the route you took quite well except, I have never taken the route you took between Dillon and Butte. I think I will put that route on my bucket list. It may be in my Corvette convertible rather than my Roubaix Expert.

    I really want to do this ride next year, but my wife won't ride and I don't like camping. The bicycling has to be outstanding!

    Camping in MT is much better than in TX, however.

  24. #24
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    Really enjoyed your coverage of the ride!!! Thanks for sharing.

  25. #25
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtragitt View Post
    I looked at your Garmin link. I see you took Old US 10 over Pipestone rater than I-15. I enjoyed driving over the old road.

    I know the route you took quite well except, I have never taken the route you took between Dillon and Butte. I think I will put that route on my bucket list. It may be in my Corvette convertible rather than my Roubaix Expert.

    I really want to do this ride next year, but my wife won't ride and I don't like camping. The bicycling has to be outstanding!

    Camping in MT is much better than in TX, however.
    Do not let camping deter you. No camping required. In fact, I did not camp a single day... and my wife does not ride much but would have loved to drive along with the group. There is LOTS of scenic stuff to enjoy. I'm guessing easily over half of the group was 50+ and it was a fun group. You will regret it if you don't take your bike... especially from Dillon to Wise River... WOW!

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