Surprise! The sun was out at Phillipsburg and even more surprisingly they were hosting a road race. I almost came back home but decided to sit in my car until 1PM when all the racers had started on their course which was part of my route. As I rolled into Phillipsburg at 6:15, 5 hours and 15 minutes later, I had posted over a thousand miles for the year and my knees told me that. The ride Saturday was brutal but very fun.
I was disgusted that I had to share the roadway with a big bike race. Furtherer more I was not in the race which made me feel small. I wanted to race but at the same time felt that I had no business racing until my body fat is back down. I still feel like a strong climber at times and today was no exception as I climbed right up Pinter pass in under a half hour. I passed two stranglers off the back of the race and was in my big ring at Georgetown Lake.
The Pintlers are so beautiful and majestic. The ride from the top of the pass to Anaconda was beautiful and exciting. I even got some spectators rooting me on. I rode hard not because I wanted to but I was inspired to be fast like the racers. At this point I felt like I could of raced and done very well.
I rode through Anaconda down route 1, through town, and beyond. I was now out in the flat desolate plains and was amazed about how this land looked like Arizona. I had never been in Anaconda before so I was going off my memory to find route 569 (Big Hole Road).
Once on Big Hole Road I rode South towards Wisdom. Soon enough I started climbing again but in different terrain. I could see the back of the amazing Pintler Mountain Range but the land I was in more resembled Idaho. No pine trees and lots of open space; some of the brush reminded me of New York’s Adirondacks. I climbed and climbed and the pitch got steep. I don’t know if I was bonking but I struggled to take the pass. I could have gone no further. I attribute this little bonk to the Cliff bar that I ate an hour back. Maybe it was the apple juice in my water bottles that I started out with (poor mans athletic drink).
One thing sticks in my mind, ”boy we could tele-ski here all summer“. Take a trip from Anaconda to Wisdom and you will see what I mean. There are some of the biggest snow slabs, drifts, and depths that I have yet to see in Montana. The back side of the Pintlers are truly amazing. I ate an Otwalla bar and returned back down the pass. I was fried and didn’t feel like I could make the journey back. It seemed like I had already rode 80 miles.
As the Otwalla bar started to digest (a little feeling of wanting to puke but not strong) I felt more optimistic and rode into Phillipsburgh looking for fresh water. I brought my water filter but did not want to dip into any streams near all the strip mining activities around there. I stopped at the first gas station and got fresh water. That would prove to be a key stop because it afforded me the opportunity to drink a lot more water than I normally ration to myself to get back to the car. The big story at this point was the struggle to eat another Otwalla bar. This one was a Super-food bar and it tasted like slimy snot. In a sick way it was good but I just couldn’t swallow it. It took the entire ride through Anaconda and 6 miles up the road to eat the bar.
Drinking lots of water and that Super-Food Otwalla Bar (blue green algae, wheat grass, you know that healthy crap) hit my body hard at first. I felt like puking but only for about 10 minutes. It kicked in just in time for my 3rd mountain pass of the day. This would be my personal record for mountain passes in a day on a road bike (not as hard as the Grave Creek Growler MTB Ride though). My knee really hurt but if it didn’t hamper my ability to stand and climb I would of rode an exceptional climb. Surprisingly I rode up and over Pintler pass with great strength.
The screaming downhill of Pintler Pass is great. You can go all out, there is not much traffic, and the turns are not as sever as most passes. The scenery is beautiful with waterfalls and high mountain ponds. I bombed the downhill and headed into the flat last 9 miles back to the car.
I though I would do the ride in under 5 hours and pushed hard to hammer the last miles of my ride. I gave up the ghost a mile from Phillipsburg and coasted in at the 5 hour 15 minute mark.
Today is a group mountain bike ride at around 11 and I cant wait to meet up with some buddies. It will be nice to just ride along at a relaxed pace after my mental ”I am winning the Tour“ pace. I just hope the weather is a beautiful as it was in the Pintlars yesterday.