Thursday 16 June 2011

Day 6 - back in the groove

Knees felt good today, lots of big climbs including a decent from over 7800ft after sunset.
Hoping the legs feel as good tomorrow.

Post Race Recap
Helena to Wise River MT - 123 miles

I rolled out of Helena at 4:30AM, feeling good again after left over pizza for breakfast and some sleep. Lights blinking as I made my way up Grizzly Gulch Dr in the dark. The plan was to make it through 4 big climbs, the last being Fleecer Ridge with it's steep descent through the sage brush waiting on the other side.

The first climb wasn't too bad, the second heading towards the ghost town of Comet was like climbing a wall for the last mile of the ascent. The photo doesn't even show the steep section..

Ghost mining town of Comet.

I was rolling along nicely and decided to skip stopping in Basin and head straight through to Butte. While stopped for a quick change in clothing layers I was caught by Lance Griffin and Vance McMurry. I'd bumped into them a couple of times in the previous days but now we rode into Butte together.
Vance heads into "Tunnel Number 9" between Basin and Butte.

My plan was for a quick bike service at the Outdoorsman and some lunch. The Outdoorsman goes out of its way to help TD racers, run by Rob Leipheimer, brother of pro-cyclist Levi, he personally made my drivetrain look like new and offered to help with anything that the racers passing through might need.

I grabbed lunch with Lance and Vance, headed back to the bike shop to collect my bike and decided to get back down to things with two more climbs to do. The first was a small 7320ft continental divide crossing.

The next was up to 7800ft to make it over Fleecer Ridge. As I approached the mountain it was 6:30PM, meaning roughly 3 hours to get up and over.

2 hours later in the fading daylight I still wasn't at the summit of my climb.

30 minutes later I was up over the top and looking down the steep descent. Not wanting to damage myself or bike with a silly crash I'll admit I walked most of the steep slope.

I rolled into Wise River after 10PM, a tiny town with just a mercantile, bar/motel. The bar was closed but luckily I ran into some locals who said I might be able to get the barmaids attention if I banged on the window. I did and she graciously made me some sandwiches and booked me into a room for the night. Lance appearing sometime later too.

I hardly slept. The sandwich made my stomach churn all night.


  1. Nice Work! Keep it going!

  2. Visual proof John is actually doing this.
    Photo putting on his snowshoes, I recognize those orange arm warmers anywhere: slide 14. Crazy!

  3. What's going on, did you leave the GPS behind at the last campsite. Lori called to see if the bear had actually gotten you....

    I am impressed already...

  4. Another pic

  5. Nice work John! Keep on cranking!