Sunday, August 19, 2012

Shields Valley 200K-nearly perfect

Ken Billingsley, Jason Karp, Joshua Loveland
in the Paradise Valley
Sometimes things just work out.  A combination of good form along with beautiful weather, including comfortable temperatures and favorable winds, had me riding my best brevet in at least a couple of years.  My Shields Valley 200K, a ride we last rode in 2010-the first brevet I ever hosted-was my 2nd scheduled randonneuring event of the season.
I was joined by Ken Billingsley, who drove over from Molt, MT, and new randonneur Joshua Loveland of Helena. Joshua, much like me, learned about randonneuring from the internet and stumbled upon my website-sort of like I did with Jim Severance's brevets in Idaho back in 2007-08 when I got into the sport. Today would be Joshua's first ever brevet, so I was quite thrilled and honored that he came out.
We started out from Bozeman into a light headwind, but the winds died down in Bridger Canyon.  It was a little chilly climbing up the canyon, but we knew that wouldn't last.  We got over the first big climb, Battle Ridge Pass, in short order and were soon in Wilsall.  On the way we were passed by a young woman, who was absolutely flying-must've been a local racer?
Joshua Loveland reads the historic sign at the top of Battle Ridge Pass-
the highest elevation of the ride but still more climbing ahead
After an easy downhill cruise through the Shields Valley, we traveled through Livingston and into the Paradise Valley where we met up with our dutiful volunteer for the day, Brenda, who had some drinks and goodies for us.  We'd have a headwind back to Livingston, and the day was heating up into the mid-80's, but the sky was pure blue and the Idaho forest fire smoke we'd been choking on all week had dissipated for the day so we had some nice mountain views.  It was truly one of the nicest days of the entire summer.
The last segment of the ride is challenging, with climbs going over Bozeman Pass and Jackson Creek Road, but an east wind gave us a terrific boost over both hills.  It almost felt like cheating.  We got back to Bozeman all together in just under 10 hours, even with some pretty generous rest breaks.
I felt great all day and climbed better than I have in a long time.  It's taken all summer, but my fitness finally seems to be coming around.  Many thanks to Brenda for all her help at the start and at the control in Paradise Valley.  And many thanks to Ken and Joshua for coming out.  I suppose the day could have been better with a larger turnout, but even in big events I usually end up riding with two or three guys, which is what we did today.  And since traffic was light all day, we could chat along as we rode, which made the whole thing that much more enjoyable.  If I could bottle up and sell how I felt on this ride, I'd be a multi-millionaire!

Ken and Joshua up the road meeting a local
outside of Clyde Park.  Traffic was
surprisingly mellow today.


joshua said...

What an awesome ride! Thanks again for all your work in organizing the ride and for dragging me through that windy section back to Livingston. Couldn't have had a better first brevet.

Jason Karp said...

Congrats Joshua! You rode really well. The first time I did that brevet in 2010 I did in 10 hours and 32 minutes-and I was completely whupped! It's nice to have a sport where we can still improve as we get older. I posted the results here: