Friday, August 28, 2009

Waterton Glacier trip Day Two


My little cabin in the mountains, morning in Saint Mary



Saint Mary Lake on Going to the Sun road



Here is where the real climbing started



Summit at Logan Pass



6 % downhill for 12 miles



It's pretty hard to keep your eyes on the road



My afternoon rest spot



Not a bad place to kill a couple of hours



My campground in West Glacier








St. Mary to West Glacier, Montana


Stats:

5 hours, 34 minutes

94.33 kilometers

Average speed 16.9 km/h

Max speed 52.9 km/h

This was the day I had been afraid of: The climb up Going to the Sun road. It is one of those must drive/must ride roads. More here: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/goingtothesunroad.htm

It turned out to be one of the best days of riding I had ever had. The weather was warm and sunny, no wind and the mountain air really does seem cleaner. And the scenery was breathtaking. I took a ton of pictures and each one made the previous one seem like it was a wasted shot.

It was gradual climbing until I hit the real climb. I spent about 80 minutes shifting between my 22 X 34 and 22 X 30. And trying not to panic. There was no let up in the grade that whole time. Nothing I've ever ridden comes close to that climb. But I lived. And actually really enjoyed it.

At the summit is the Logan Pass Visitor Center, and I felt like I had earned a coffee and a pastry. No such luck. No restaurant up there. Next time I’ll have to pack a thermos of coffee. It was barely above freezing and so foggy I couldn’t see a thing. So I put on all the riding clothes I had and headed down hill.

After crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass, I saw a sign that read: 6% grade next 12 miles. Sweet. 50 plus was easy and I had to brake constantly to avoid rear ending the cars.

They restrict the hours that cyclists can ride certain sections of the road, so I had to wait about 20 kilometers from the west end of the road in a picnic area beside Lake MacDonald for two and a half hours. Napping and reading on a Monday afternoon. That’s what holidays are for.

I finished the day on the west side of the park in the town of West Glacier. I camped at a private campground for $10 a night and had the tenting area and the picnic shelter to myself. Kraft dinner for supper and off to bed.

Day two done. Lesson learned? I can climb a lot longer than I thought I could.

6 comments:

  1. Good job, Brad. Too bad there aren't any more enduro races this summer, eh?

    Way to push yourself.

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  2. thats'a rad ride eh?
    Naom's and I are thru riding it(St Mary-W Glacier-St Mary) on tues, should be a scene

    oh yeah, XC8 is next wknd, btw.

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  3. I met two guys even older than me out riding that day on road bikes. Their goal for next summer was to do that ride from West Glacier to St Mary and back next summer.

    That is one tough century. You guys will have a great time. Enjoy your day. I'll be interested to hear how fast you guys do it without a touring load. And obviously much bigger motors...

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  5. yeah, def't lighter kit for sure...I figure 3 bottles, some food, and the Visa( for refill'n at W-Glacier) In my head right now I'm thinkin' somewhere around 7-8 hrs, we've ridden up to the Pass a bunch, but never past due to either snow clearing, or the tourist/construction factor...I just realized that our plan to ride it this Tues is foiled by the fact that this wknd isn't the long wknd(like I thought it was....)...I guess the 8th or 9th'll work as the bike/construction curfues aren't imposed after Labour Day...when you live the dream like us, you loose track of the days, I guess...

    oh yeah, you guys are linked.

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  6. Brad, thanks for posting these first two days. The pics are awesome and inspirational. Due to Jen's irrational fears I have to do all the driving west of Bismark and can never look around. I may have to put together a touring rig and follow in your tracks.

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