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“Morrell?”…Morrell…Debra Morrell…where’s Debra Morrell?”

This delay in the roll call of riders for Saturday’s Pedal the Pintlers ride meant  only one  thing…I’d be riding solo today in what organizers claim is Montana’s toughest century ride.  With my fellow BSC team member unaccounted for, I rolled out of Anaconda with 87 other riders and headed toward Georgetown Lake.  The climb up felt good and when I made the turn to loop around the lake I was starting get into rhythm.  That didn’t last long, however, as to the right of me up the hill I heard what can only be described as, “quite a ruckus.”  Timber crashing, rocks rollin’ onto the road &, uhm, are those hoofs pounding I’m hearing!?!  Sure enough…looking up, to see what was coming down, I spotted a huge bull moose plodding along with me as I rode along the road down below.  It was so breathtaking & awesome, it didn’t really even dawn on me until after the fact that the big fella was probably only about 50 feet from me!  He eventually took off up the hillside and I went on my way…fully content that this morning’s 5:00 am drive to Anaconda from Helena had been worth it.  The remainder of the ride was, all things considered, relatively uneventful.  Riders return to Anaconda for lunch, then we head out the other side of town & climb over to the Big Hole River for another out and back.  On the return, riders stop at the Sugarloaf Lodge for an outstanding pie stop.  I gorged myself on the huckleberry pie, then the apple, and (that’s right) then a little bit of the cherry.  Gotta “feed the fire” I always say!  All were excellent, and I’d recommend taking in the ride just for this stop.  I managed to keep all three slices down in me on the final climb of the day (whew!)  This ride serves as a benefit for the Washoe Park in Anaconda and the volunteers do a great job taking care of the riders.  If it’s not the toughest century ride around, it’s certainly the roughest.  There are lots of ruts & potholes to dodge on that Big Hole River stretch.  Regardless, with three big climbs mixed in there, I’d recommend the ride as a good training day.  Check it out next year.  Just remember to pack Debra along this time…

An update for those planning on doing the Butte 50/100 on July 31st.  I did visit with Bob Waggoner, race organizer for this event, on Saturday at the Pedal the Pintlers.  I can confirm that, as rumored, the plan is indeed to reverse the 50 mile course from last year’s route.  This year the loop will be counter-clockwise.  There are also plans to have a new singletrack route over by the Warren Heights Addition.  On Sunday, after soaking in the “healing waters” of Fairmont Hot Springs from the day’s Pintlers ride, I rode the portion of the race route from the Highlands Campground to Homestake.  Last year, at least for me, I thought this was the most brutal stretch of the course (Homestake to Highlands that is).  However, riding it the other direction today, while by no means easy, is a much more manageable stretch of sufferin’.  Going at a relatively easy clip, I was able to ride this 22-mile section in under 3 hours…with no cramping this time!  Plus, the four miles of singletrack from Limekiln to Pipestone Pass is some of the best out there…anywhere!  Lastly, I did ask Bob, straight up now, is Tinker Juarez really coming to this year’s race.  He told me, “he’d better…I just bought his plane ticket to Butte!”  So, here’s your chance to beat a mountain bike hall of famer…


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