Bicycle Riding in Montana

Going-to-the-Sun Road; the scenery, the legend. And Glacier Park. This trip offers so much to the avid cyclist. We took a day off at Lake McDonald in Glacier. Some kayaked, some hiked or lounged at the Lodge or why not? Cycle Going-to-the-Sun Road twice! The Glacier-Fernie Loop is one to remembered and perhaps repeated …..often

Our tour was led by Rick Gallo. David Batten drove sag and Bob Hargrave provided GPS maps. The support team was superb. Our group numbered twenty. Most every evening (except rest days) we gathered for a social hour followed by a brief on tomorrow’s route.

The tour began in Missoula, Montana. Like many of the hotels on Glacier-Fernie, the Grant Creek Best Western Plus in Missoula offered a pool and sauna.

Missoula is home to the Adventure Cycling Club and their Tour Director and wife (friends of Rick) agreed to a cater a home barbecue on day one – with guest speakers June and Greg Siple (co-founders of Bike Centennial now Adventure Cycling). The next day Greg led us on a tour of the Adventure Cycling office.  As founder and for many years, the chief photographer, Greg gave us the inside scoop on the many trophy bikes mounted on the walls as well as how the Adventure Cycling Association came into being.

Our first day, the road to Ronan was a short and easy shakedown ride. These first couple of days and the last couple of days featured easy grades with beautiful mountains in the near distance.  Along the way, stops at the 1,000 Buddhas, the Jesuit Mission Church at St Ignatius and the Windmill Bakery gave us a chance to pace ourselves and stretch. Huckleberries were a prominent item on the menu everywhere; at coffee, snacks and dinner. How can a wild harvested berry be so abundant?

Our first hotel, the Starlite Motel in Ronan was clean, comfortable and no-frills. Our rooms were ready early, and even in this small town there was a choice of dinner spots. Like a few of the hotels on the tour, the Starlite did not offer a breakfast but they did have in-room coffee, mini-fridges with supermarkets nearby for the frugal. The breakfast portions at the Ronan Bakery and Cafe were ample, tasty and filled with country charm.


We often started early, sometimes at 7:00 because the temperature could soar into the high 90s by early afternoon. Although this meant arriving at the nights lodging before rooms were available, finding things to do was easy. In Big Fork, the outdoor swimming pool was most refreshing. This trip is as much about visiting the town(s), sharing adventure stories with others and of course bike upkeep. Rick provides oil, shop rags and other such maintenance items as well as advice and even assistance with repairs as needed.

I mounted 28cm tires on my rims which served me well on the Big Fork bike trail and the occasional gravelly shoulder on the highways, though other cyclists in our group had no problem with 23cm tires.

Montana proudly claims Flathead Lake to be the largest body of freshwater in the States west of the Mississippi and riding along its shore was one of the many pleasures of this trip.

We spent the fourth of July in Kalispell where we enjoyed a concert by a “One More Time Around” Marching band with their repertoire of Sousa, Cohan and Lee Greenwood. The ice cream portions at the concert were dished out free in two flavors; Huckleberry and Cherry, Our lodging, the Historic Grand Hotel in Kalispell will make you yearn for yesteryear. The next three days were all about Glacier; climbing into those mountains that in the days before looked so picturesque on the horizon. The climb up Going-to-the-Sun Road was followed the next day by a climb past Chief Mountain and a gorgeous descent past the buffalo reserve and on into Waterton Provincial Park. The ride into Pincher Creek was short-spurring some of us to climb up to Lake Cameron.

We took another rest day in Fernie, where I enjoyed a Tandoori Kabab at the Himalayan Spice Bistro (recommended) as well as a climb up Mt Fernie. Others tried mountain biking and again, the pool was a welcome afternoon pause.

The trip back to Missoula along the western shore of Flathead Lake featured many quiet side roads along the lakeshore, an easy cruise allowing time to reminisce over the incredible time we all had in the Mountains of Montana and Alberta.

I hate health clubs- It’s all in what we bring to the game.

One of the things I hate about going to health clubs is these guys that put a towel on one bench, a water bottle on another and then maybe place their keys someplace else marking their territory so no one else can use the stuff. After they so lay claim to all this equipment, what do they do? They stand someplace else complaining to another athlete about how they strained their shoulders from pressing too much weight the day before. Then, while rubbing their elbows and scratching their bellies, they compare notes on what electrolyte they drink what muscle groups they plan to work on that day. Is that the reason why America is obese–Athletes unwilling to share the equipment?
So anyway, there I am at the health club. I wear my Oregon State t-shirt, got my OSU Beaver team mascot water bottle, and my OSU towel. I’m searching for a therapy ball that doesn’t have a towel on it, or a water bottle leaning against it or is otherwise marked or in use. Believe me, I’m about ready to buy one of those home gym specials for only three payments of $29.99 plus S&H.
Fortunately for my three year membership contract, I find a semi-deflated therapy ball. I do my 15 reps or repetitions. But at rep 5 who should show up but Leroy. A big man with hairy biceps, dragging his knuckles on the ground, Leroy looks down at me, taps my ball with his foot. He says “Dat’s my ball.”
What do you think, fellow athletes? Is it his ball? Is Leroy going to share? Is he running into the equipment shortage too?
No way was it his ball.  “Look,” I tell Leroy, continuing my reps. “It’s gym property. Get your own ball. I got six more reps with this one.”
You won’t believe this, but Leroy grabbed the ball out from under me on rep 13 of 15.

“Hey,” I said. “Watch it, big man. Where do you think you are? Can’t you see we’re all in this together, for the sake of health and longevity?”
“Huh?” Leroy says.
I take this to mean he didn’t hear me. So I tell him loud and clear. “I said you’re a big man with a big mouth. I got two more reps coming to me. Give me back my ball.”
He frowned at me and walked away with the ball. Believe you and me, I decided right then and there, I would not give him the time of day! Which was all very well and fine, except on my way back to the locker room, who should be blocking my way, but Leroy.

When I attempt to step around him, he pushes me against the wall. He says, “Hey, about what happened over there, I’m sorry for my behavior.”
Wow, I wasn’t expecting that.
He points at my t-shirt. He says “You see I’m University of Oregon and when we Ducks see beaver tack we get swamp fever.” <<Editors note: Oregon and Oregon State share an intense local rivalry>>.
We shake hands. We’re reconciled. It’s no longer a confrontation; it’s a college prank.

The next time I go to the gym, I don’t wear my OSU tee shirt, I don’t bring my OSU water bottle. Lo and behold, the equipment is much more open! Guess my clothes colored the way the gym looked to me!

My Review of NUUN Active Hydration Tablets – 4-Flavor Variety Box

Originally submitted at REI

NUUN Active hydration tablets contain electrolytes, vitamins and minerals to help you stay properly hydrated throughout the day!

Does the job without the aftertaste

By tedmag from Oregon, USA on 3/11/2011
4out of 5

Pros: Provides A Boost, Good Taste

Cons: No break on volume purchs

Best Uses: Electrolyte replacement

Describe Yourself: Cycling Enthusiast

Nuun tablets are clean and easy to use. They give a nice boost without the ‘buzz’ I, at least, get from some of the other electrolyte replenishers out there. Plus Nuun is more convenient to store, to dispense and to use. I used them on my recent cycling trip in the tropics–and on other forays into the wilds. I do have one suggestion; Nuun is not a ‘quick fix.’ So: don’t wait until you are bonking to drink your Nuun. Be proactive.