Keith, Bryan and I drove through all of Tuesday from Boulder up to Missoula, on the western Edge of Montana. The twelve hour road trip took us mainly on two roads. First, we sped north on Interstate 25 for 359 miles, before bearing slightly left, and then driving along Interstate 90 for the remaining 503 miles. Easy. Wyoming, as ever, was an unerring expanse of vast emptiness. The unseasonal green covering the huge plains a little reminder of the excess rain we’ve had falling all over the place this year.
We pulled into Missoulla at 9pm. The swirling clouds hung close to the hills, obscuring the sky line. I knew, from my map gazing, that the hills went a lot higher than we could see, but I settled for waiting until morning to find out how high they really were.
Morning brought a spin through town, through the University of Montana (“the Grizzlies”), and through a french style bakery set in a big warehouse. It’s here we got comfortable and did the bike racer thing of spending as little energy (and money) as possible.
In the afternoon we headed up to Marshall Mountain for the first time. My intention was to race the local series race being held in the evening on the same course as Saturdays main event.
We left the house at the base of the mountain and started riding up there. The temperature was hovering around 5 celcius with torrential rain. I’d resigned myself to be getting pretty wet, but I was soaked through immediately. We rode a lap of the course before deciding whether to race. The answer was a resounding no. After a good soaking, I thought it much more intelligent to get in the car and find a warm shower instead.