Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Endangered Single Track: Montana's Mile Creek Ride.

Bushwhacked
There are certainly some perks of my job.  One of them is "Intel".  Because of IMBA I have been blessed to meet and get to know some amazing folks, all in some way passionate and dedicated to off road cycling.

Bob Allen is one of those folks.  Recently inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, he is a Montana Native and has been on the front lines of the fight to save iconic Montana Single Track for years.

Before Dave and I left for our trip I badgered Bob for his one "must" ride single track adventures in Big Sky Country.

Mile Creek was at the top of that list.  Mile Creek is currently legal as to MTB access but is on the fringe of a proposed wilderness which would close it overnight to cyclists.

Wildflower mayhem
I dont know that you could have hit Mile Creek on a prettier day than the day that Dave and I showed up.  It certainly was hot, especially in the valley where we started.  We roasted in the open meadows at the base of the valley, but were rewarded with huge amounts of wildflowers.  I have seen some good flowers before, but this was over the top.  I really wet Montana summer had the place looking more green and lush than I have ever seen it.  The flowers responded in kind with huge amounts of colors lining the trail from bottom to top.
Borderline

One of many, many, many, many switchbacks (not berms)
I have to admit that we suffered on the climb up.  It was all rideable, just not by us!  We went through a myriad of mountain zones.  From the open valley to the creek bottom to alpine meadows to near Alpine ridge lines.  At one point in the climb we entered a zone where there were a ton of switch backs used to gain elevation.  While horribly exhausting, they were amazing to try and ride.  We won some, we lost some but we always remarked on the folks who had tromped all the way up there to build them.
The door to Narnia

Braaapppp up the dragons back

Looking at the return trip!
Overall I was super impressed with the beauty and the ride itself.  I missed my sweet flowing midwest single track more than once, but realized that we were riding in a place that was extra special and to witness it was amazing, especially in the midst of the Wildflower bloom that was going on.  To lose suck a place to bikes would be hard to take and I both support and applaud the efforts of Montana's cyclists to fight hard and keep the place. I have to also say that the trail had a lot of TLC, it looked maintained and loved for sure and that says a lot about the folks that value it.

My only regret is having hauled only my pea shooter, snap and shoot camera as my big rig would have been mind blowing here.  However, I am also glad to only have hauled the lightest weight rig possible as every foot up was earned for sure........

PS we stopped very little on the way back down!

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