Thursday, July 15, 2010

Montana--Day 3

Well, this is what happens when I wait too long to post vacation pics & stories... I forget what happens. Forgive me if I leave out some of the more compelling details...

Here's what I DO remember. Jean and I wanted to ride the "Going to the Sun" road, which is the main road that goes from the western side of Glacier National Park to the east side. It's about 50 miles, one way, with a "good" climb in the middle. I didn't see us going out and back, so we planned on leaving from Lake McDonald and heading up to the high point, Logan's Pass. From there, we'd turn around and head back down.

Jean was initially taunting me to ride all the way to the east side, and then try to find a ride back to our starting point. After a few thousand feet of climbing, the taunting abated...

Anyway, you can see the GPS profile below:

Here's the spoiler though... we didn't get all the way to the top (visitor's center). Unfortunately, there's construction going on on the road, and there were road closures at a couple of different points. Of course, the road wasn't closed for the day, but there were delays of up to 30 minutes in either direction. Now, here's the problem. I knew that part of the road was actually closed to bikes during peak hours (11-4), but I thought that that was just the section down by Lake McDonald. When we began our ascent, there was another sign stating that this section of the road was also closed to cyclists during the same time. Long story short--we got about 1-2 miles from the top, were stuck at a traffic stop, and decided to turn back because we didn't want to be riding on the road when it was closed to cyclists (Jean LOVES to follow rules).

It turns out that the cyclist restriction only applied to one direction and that we would have been fine had we waited. D'oh!

Anyway, while we didn't get all the way to the top, we still ended up doing a total of about 3000ft of climbing and just under 40 miles total. Fun!

The scenery was simply amazing, and I had a hard time trying to both ride AND take photos, but I did it. I even took some video:

So, anyway... we rode up, we rode down, we had lunch, and that's really all I remember. I think we also cruised in to Whitefish, a nearby town, and checked out some shops including a great coffee shop, and Glacier Cyclery where we got some good info on trails in the area--but more on that later.

In the meantime, check out the photos. I'm sure Jean remembers more than I do (she's MUCH smarter than I am, though, that's no great feat), so I'll probably add some info later.

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