So, I've turned to devoting time on the mountain bike. And it has been great. I am not the rider I used to be on the knobbies - but still have fun.
While on vacation in Montana in July, where my two wheel activity actually saw me crank out 2500 miles on a motorcycle touring the state - I was blessed that I could talk Jen into taking my mountain bike on the Subaru, luggage, dog caravan to Swan Lake. When I was done on the motorcycle - I hung up the leathers and donned the spandex, reefed the bike off the Soob and headed out on the Santa Cruz Tallboy. Destination Whitefish!
Whitefish does it right. They have an extensive network of trails including trails at the ski area - Whitefish Mountain Resort. I chose to stay near town and ride the 'free' trails. I stopped at Glacier Cyclery, asked the dude behind the counter, where to ride and out pops this map. The guy says - "head out of town about a mile and you're in it" and takes his thumb and stabs it on the spot to be riding.
I hit the trailhead about 10 am - riding the Whitefish Trail. I Decided, based on the map, to ride to Beaver Lake past Skyles Lake overlook. Off I cranked. Nice intermediate single track with a gradual middle chain ring elevation gain.
In a few miles, I was at the Skyles Lake overlook.
Nice place for a break, nice view. I ran into 4 or 5 other riders along the way. I couple of them made me look like a babe in the woods. Truly woods, but a fiddy one years old dude I was.
I left the overlook and pretty quickly you get into some steep territory. The trail follows the hillside contours past a crumbly rock face. Yes, the trail was steep, but the yellow caution was more meant for the downhill side of the trail. Here... to the downhill side, it was steep and a 100 foot tumbling, likely painful fall.
But on I went. I kept riding and every so often, the trails in the area are nicely marked, and I new I was on track for Beaver Lake. But, as I rode along, I realized I was on limited time, it was getting hot and I needed to get back. Pedal, pedal, almost there to Beaver, oh, oh, time is ticking. Hank on the brakes, time to turn around. Now, the ride back, I knew what I was going to be riding and managed to pick up the pace. The trail flowed nice in spots and never was too technical. Well done Whitefish Trail!
There was one steep UP hill section of about 75 yards and the grunt factor was pretty good. After that it was all down hill to the trailhead.
Overall I did eight miles with 1100 feet of gain.
Once I was back in town, I went to the Great Northern Bar and Grill (say icon of Whitefish!) and had a beer and a sandwich. Awesome day!