Friday, August 26, 2011

Catching Up

Looks like the last time I posted was the Big Sky State Games.  I haven't been super active on the bike since but I have gone out for a few small adventures. 

Sarah and I participated in our fifth NAMI Bike Ride, a 33 mile loop from Molt, MT, down Molt Road, over to Buffalo Trail and back into Molt.  This is a fairly easy ride up until about mile 25 where you turn up the 7 mile accent up Buffalo Trail.  The weather was perfect and I got pushed to the front of the pack at the start line.  At the start, I shot off, not so much to take the lead, but to get out of everyone's way.  Much to my surprise, I lead the pack at a good pace for several miles and could have kept going except that I wanted to ride with Sarah who wasn't too far behind.  I felt good and really excelled on the rolling hills on top of the rims near Molt.  Mike always says "Your feet don't see hills!"  Sarah, said "Mike lies, your feet see hills and they speed up!"  That's probably true to some extent.  I hate to drag out a hill, but that's my downfall too.  If the hill is too long, I burn out quickly.  That's what happened at the State Games and that's what would happen at the end of this ride.  As we turned up Buffalo Trail, Sarah took off like a rocket and I could only watch as she disappeared into the distance.  Having spent myself early, I couldn't respond.  I watched as people ahead of us struggled to climb the hills and she passed like they were standing still.  I'd love to have that kind of drive, to push on when it gets tough and keep going.  I think I'm kind of all or nothing on the hills.  In fact, it's usually all, then nothing.  Got to work on that. 

I've done a little mountain biking as well.  Mike and I have been road riding in the mornings when we can but have snuck away during lunch for the occasional mountain bike ride.  Two Moon is finally dry enough to ride but some of the trails have been washed away.  The trails are not as smooth as they used to be.  I also planned a mountain bike venture with the youth.  We were to ride the rims and then head on down to the bishop's house for a pool party.  I guess the pool party was well attended but Nathan and I were alone on the bikes.  We decided to ride anyway and had a great time, and we didn't have to wait for the slow pokes!

This last weekend we went to Island Park and stayed in a cabin with my parents, grandmother, two sisters and their families.  We had a blast and hopefully I'll get to post more about that on the family blog (with pictures).  Sarah and I really wanted to do some mountain biking while we were there but time was short so we didn't get much of a chance.  I had planned a route that climbs to the peak of Lionhead, a 2,500 foot elevation gain over 7 miles.  Since it was a 14 mile round trip with steep climbs, we decided to forgo that idea (not enough time) and searched out a place to go off-roading with ATVs on Sunday.  Dad told us about the Divide Creek Road so we decided to check it out.  It was about 2.5 miles away from the cabin but there were some double track in the burrow pit next to the highway.  We took the burrow pit, which was a rough ride, and found the entrance to the Divide Creek Road.  At first, it appeared to be a nice dirt road but quickly got steep.  We had to turn around at that point but it was all downhill back to the cabin.  This time, riding down the double track, we were able to catch some good speed and even some air over the jumps.  We had a great time. 

The next morning I decided to explore the Divide Creek Road a little more.  Once I passed the point that we turned around the night before, the road started to deteriorate and get steep.  I had to lock out my suspension and shift all the way down.  My chain fell off a couple times and I had a hard time getting back on my bike because the road was so steep.  The rear wheel would spin out beneath me before I could get going and I'd have to start all over again.  Once I did get going, every time I pushed down on the pedals, my front tire would lift off the ground.  I finally just decided to go with it and let the bike take me wherever it wanted to go.  When I needed to correct, I'd slam the front tire down hard until I was going the right direction.  I climbed long and hard, really trying to get in at least a 10 mile ride for the morning.  I finally crested the mountain with just a little over 5 miles on the computer and decided that was good. I looked out over the valley and watched the sun rise.  It was a breath-taking view, granted I was already out of breath. 

The road continued down the mountain on the other side, and again, short on time, I decided to turn around and go back.  I flew down the mountain holding my brakes most of the way.  It was steep and there wasn't much room for error.  It was fun but scary at the same time.  In 17 minutes, I undid a whole hours worth of climbing. I got back to just in time to watch the sunrise again over the mountains behind the cabin.  We had a really great trip which I will have to post more on later. 

As for now, Sarah and I are doing our 5th Montana MS 150 bike ride tomorrow.  We are mostly set and ready to go but there are some last minute preparations I'll need to take care of tonight.  (Sarah is making me take the rear rack off my bike because it looks ridiculous if I'm not going to use it.)  Wish us luck!

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