Today I rode the south hills in Helena MT. Cruisy trails on the way up to various outlooks, eventually peaking out on the summit with an excellent high elevation view towards town.
The downhill was awesome. Grippy dirt with occasional rock features, some mellow rollers and lots of weaving in the trees.
Physically, I’m having zero issues on the climbs, even in the low oxygen elevations. The descents have me trashed though. I’m getting a lot of forearm and calf pump from the long downs. I clearly have a bit more conditioning left to achieve before hitting the big backcountry rides that are coming later.
The in-town trail network here in Helena is stellar (75 miles!), and there is a lot more left to explore. No wonder it sees so much acclaim.
Yesterday we ran into a guy who works for the local economic development office. He warned us about the grizzly bears and boasted about the trails. The trails are superb. We have yet to see any bears. He said that the mountains south of town are “the largest city park in the entire country”, which truly wouldn’t shock me.
Strangely, despite all the promotions, he completely forgot to mention how awesome this town, itself is. (There’s a great pedestrian downtown, lots of cool shops and really near old mining relics and a huge amount of outdoor public spaces. People here are very chill. It even smells good and there are lots of trains.)
Total time: 01:13:38
By way of a van-hicle update, I managed to figure out what the scraping noises were on the road up to Leverich Canyon yesterday. Looks like we’re actually dragging the Thule bike rack on the ground over the water bars. I’ll have to look into a way of improving the departure angle…with such a long wheelbase, it doesn’t take a very large bump to lose a ton of clearance on the rack, the way it sticks out so far. I am not completely sure whether it needs to be shortened or raised.