Day 2: Basin – Helena

Woke up to another perfect Montana blue sky.

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The forecast was for a 50% chance of showers. Hmmmm…

The climb out of Basin on Cataract Creek Rd was beautiful but very tough.

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Caution: “loose road shoulder!”

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Damn right I walked it!

Despite the climb, things were going pretty well until the Lava Mountain Trail.  It was brutal! I had to push the bike up the first 1/10th of a mile or so and I was barely moving.

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Now THIS is what I came for!

After the initial  climb it became much better:

Then began a sustained downhill over lots of tree roots, big ruts, and some muddy or flooded sections. I had one minor fall as I attempted to stay far right to clear a rut and accidentally caught one of my fork mounted bags on a  branch of a downed tree. No biggie, I just sort of sat down on my left butt cheek but I must have whacked my shin on the pedal on the way down because I noticed a nice big bruise there a while later.. Plus I discovered that my “bio-pesticide” insect repellant didn’t really work. (First place I stopped in Helena was a sporting goods store to buy some real chemical repellant.)

Just when I was getting real tired of the trail I met a guy going the other way. He started in Banff and he was going all the way! I felt sorry for him about to have to ride up what I had just come down! He told me I had some pretty nice reward coming for my efforts and wow he was right! Once I hit park lake it was smooth dirt road the rest of the way. Mostly downhill too!

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There was one more climb before the last downhill into Helena and I did get rained on a bit.

When I got to town the first hotel I passed was the holiday Inn downtown. Too expensive, I thought.  Well, after many phone calls I ended up there anyway.  Expensive but worth it :

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A bed for me and a bed for my bike. 🙂

Tomorrow is a long tough ride to Lincoln. Today was 40 miles and 3k feet of climbing and it about killed me; tomorrow is 60 miles and 5k feet! But tomorrow should be a lot smoother so we’ll see.

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