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TOSRV West (Tour Of the Swan River Valley) - Cycle

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Missoula, MT
United States
Missoulians On Bicycles, Inc.
Total Time = 6h 54m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Had a light breakfast of cold cereal, a bran muffin, and OJ. Pumped up the bike tires and headed to the start area to meet the rest of the gang.
Event warmup:

Rode easily through the University of Montana campus and then another 3-4 miles before we really started to hammer.
  • 6h 50m
  • 114 miles
  • 16.68 mile/hr

Where to start? Let's POURED rain most of the night before the race but stopped about 0500-0600 in the morning. The roads were still soaked though when we started at 0700 and it was about 40 degrees. Remember, this is Montana and it's not unusual for it to snow on this ride. There were 11 of us that left Missoula together, 5 of whom were doing the entire 2-day, 240 mile ride. The more sane of us (yours truly included) were only doing the one-day Century+ ride. We rode through the U of M campus then hit the road. For about the first 5 or 6 miles we rode an easy warmup pace and then things got interesting. 6 of us formed a pace line and started to hammer up the Blackfoot River Valley. And hammer is the right word. The first 30 miles probably average 1-1.5% uphill grade with some steeper sections up to 5%, including the last 4 miles. We averaged a little over 20mph for the 30 miles uphill! It was really a lot of fun. The sun was coming out, the wind was calm, and the road surface dried out so the day was looking up! Stopped for breakfast at 30 miles and had a nice big pancake feed with fruit, coffee, and juice.
From 30 to 40 miles was kind of fun because the first 3 miles was 5% downhill into the Clearwater River Valley. Then there were several decent rollers from there on. I need to mention that this ride is through absolutely gorgeous country and the scenery is spectacular. Snow-capped mountains all around the valleys, beautiful rivers, horse ranches, cattle, deer, elk, and clear, clean Montana air to breath! Doesn't get any better than that!
From mile 40 up to the lunch stop and turn around at Seely Lake, the ride started to get a little tougher. There were some rollers, nothing too bad, but the wind had picked up and we had a pretty tough 5-15mph headwind for this stretch. Lunch was great! Hot soup (the temperature was still only in the low 50's with wind), coffee, juices, a huge sandwich buffet, fruit, pretzels, and Powerade. The scenery at Seely Lake is awesome too. The Swan Mountains and the edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness are just east of town and there was fresh snow on the peaks that was beautiful!
After lunch, 3 of us went 3 miles north to one of our rider's (Steve) brother-in-law's lake house. Stopped there for a few minutes for Steve to visit and then turned around to head home. The first 12 or 13 miles were GREAT!! We had a tailwind and we cranked along feeling good about life, thinking we were going to have the wind at our backs the whole way home. NO SUCH LUCK!!! We came out of the canyon mouth onto a flat and the wind had switched! Aaaggh! Have I mentioned on this site before how much I HATE riding in the wind? We suddenly had a 10-30mph quartering headwind that made riding on a narrow road rather interesting. It usually chose the moment just as a semitruck was coming up behind you to try and blow you across the lane.
We struggled down to the 40-miles-to-go point and then had to turn directly into the wind. Life now officially sucked! The next 10 miles had those rollers and then 3 miles of 5% uphill...into the wind. Fortunately, on the uphill we were sheltered a little bit so the wind was light. We kept thinking that when we got to the top, and into the next sheltered valley, that maybe the wind would die down and the last 30 miles of downhill would be good. HA!
When we crested the hill and came around the corner to the downhill, the wind hit us so hard it nearly knocked me off my bike. It was blowing steadily at least 20mph with gusts quite a bit higher. We stopped for a fuel break and then tackled the last 30 miles. The first 4 miles or so were a good 4-5% downhill that we should have been able to cruise at 35mph or so. I had to go to my small chain-ring and work hard to maintain 16-17mph! I could not believe that I was on my small chain-ring going downhill!! Geez! I never got off my small chain-ring for most of the rest of the ride. There were times I was working really hard and would look at my computer and be creeping along at 12mph, downhill. Have I mentioned that I HATE wind?? At least the sun was out and it had warmed up to about 60. The last 5 or 6 miles into Missoula the wind just stopped. All of a sudden the front passed and it calmed. Which was a good thing because we were toasted from the last 35 miles. It had warmed up to the upper 60's in Missoula and was beautiful day by the time we got done.
All in all, even with the wind, we had a really good time. The scenery was beautiful, the company and food was good, and I got my first Century done!

What would you do differently?:

Order up a NO WIND day from the weather gods!
Post race
Warm down:

Showered, and then went and had a nice big steak and a pitcher of iced tea!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Wind...windwindwindwind. I hate wind!

Last updated: 2005-05-15 12:00 AM
06:50:00 | 114 miles | 16.68 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: Leaving Missoula, we headed up Highway 200 for about 40 miles to Highway 93. Turned North on Highway 93 for another 14 miles to the turn-around at Seely Lake. 3 of us added on an additional 6 miles by going farther North to see a relative of one of our riders. The first 30 miles of the ride are a gentle to not-so-gentle uphill, up a river valley. The grade runs from flat to 5% or so with the steepest section the last 4 miles. I'd guess that the average grade was 1-1.5% for the first 30 miles. From 30 to 40 miles theres a good 3 mile downhill then rollers the rest of the way. From 40 to 55 miles lots of small rollers. Reverse course on the way back. We were really looking forward to the 30 miles of downhill to end the ride!
Road: Smooth  Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Drinks: Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2005-05-22 12:24 PM

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Coeur D'alene, ID
Subject: TOSRV West (Tour Of the Swan River Valley)

2005-05-22 1:08 PM
in reply to: #161243

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Coeur D'alene, ID
Subject: RE: TOSRV West (Tour Of the Swan River Valley)

There are a couple pictures in my albums.  Had a lot more but they're too big to download.  Will try to compress them so I can post later.

2005-05-22 1:53 PM
in reply to: #161243

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Ottawa, Ontario
Subject: RE: TOSRV West (Tour Of the Swan River Valley)

Excellent bike ride, Flyboy...geez, 16.68 mph average is pretty darned good over a long distance like that.  Hey, that almost 27kmph!!!  Congratulations!

2005-05-22 3:47 PM
in reply to: #161243

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Plant City, FL
Subject: RE: TOSRV West (Tour Of the Swan River Valley)
What an awesome ride!!   Way to go Stan! 
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