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.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Upcoming rides

It's getting busy.

I will be hosting a 200K brevet on Saturday, August 18, 2012.  The ride starts and finishes at the Walmart parking lot in Bozeman.  Sign in is at 6:30 AM and we'll depart at 7:00 AM.

On September 8, 2012 I will be hosting a 300K brevet starting and finishing in Whitefish, MT and going over the famous Going-to-the-Sun Highway in Glacier National Park.  It's going to be awesome.

All the info for the brevets is on my Randonneuring in Montana website.

Sandwiched in between the brevets is the Gallatin Valley Bicycle Club's Three Rivers Century, starting and finishing right here in Belgrade on Saturday, August 25.  Though not a randonneuring event, I've been involved for years both as a rider and helper.  It's always a great time. weekends are full for a while.

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.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bert Karp Memorial Populaire-The Movie!

Okay, not a movie-but a video slideshow made by my brother Clay-who likes to dabble a bit in photography.  I love the irony of the intense music on such a low key ride-it's funny.  But the video also gets me PUMPED!