Friday, August 10, 2012

Beartooth Permanent. Sit 'n spin!

How do I accomplish 14,000 feet of climbing in 207 kilometers?  Sit 'n spin.  And very slowly at that.  But I conquered Beartooth Pass over and back for the second year in a row.  This time in 12 hours and 30 minutes, which is 10 minutes faster than last year.  Actually, I was 12 minutes slower on the bike, but our stops were shorter-thus the time gain.  Once again I was joined by Ken Billingsley who graciously waited up for me on the climb back from Cooke City after I had pretty much crapped out. We got mixed up in the Beartooth Blitz bike race time trial as we approached the summit on the way to Cooke City, which I didn't know was going on that day.  Of course the racers passed me like I was standing still, but they were only going about 25 miles with almost no gear.  I was going almost 130 miles with a load of snacks, rain geer just in case, and a full camelback.  Most of the racers had an encouraging word as they passed me, and the race marshalls tried to wave me into the finish area, but I just smiled and told them I needed to keep going.  We had a breezy and warm day, but very good conditions considering what can happen at this location.  Unfortunately, forest fires in the region left the air very hazy which ruined the normally unbelievable scenery.  It's easily the toughest one-day ride I've ever done and it's such a wonderful feeling to finish it.  It's also good training for my 200K brevet coming up on August 18 and my attempt to conquer the Going to the Sun Highway on a 300K brevet on September 8.
Ken Billingsley in Cooke City
Switchbacks in front of me to the west summit of Beartooth Pass which is at an elevation of 10,947 feet.
I stayed at a Red Lodge campground the night before the ride so I wouldn't have to get up at 3AM to drive over.  The weather was nice so it worked well-even though I'm not much into camping.  It was a lot cheaper than a motel room which would have been impossible to get anyway due to motorcyclists going to and from Sturgis.  We were passed by thousands of motorcycles on the ride.


Team Wild Mountain Biking! said...

Amazing! Great job!

Jason Karp said...

Y'all will be riding it with me in no time!