Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Zoo Town.......and misadventures of mountain biking around Missoula.

Life's tough sometimes.......

So we were trying to think of someplace we haven't been lately that is semi-close to Bozeman has good camping, food, and of coarse mountain biking.

Then it hit us.....Missoula. We haven't biked there in a few years so we took off Friday a bit early and headed out.

We found a nice secluded spot in Warm Springs Campground near Sula, MT. We both went to sleep right after setting up camp. We slept great with the creek roaring in the near distance.

We awoke early and drove a couple miles to the Sula Country Store. Part gas station, part local breakfast place it was definitely the center of the universe here. The food was very inexpensive and fantastic. May I suggest the full order of biscuits and gravy....superber and great bike fuel.

We did a 16.5 mile loop called Fire Creek. We started near our camp up warm springs road. It was a nice ride that reminded me of Ketchum, ID. It had a long dirt road ride that goes by fast, plus its a nice warm up. Then you have a few miles of switchbacks that follow with a great ridge line decent. It got super hot towards the end of the ride and really the whole weekend was crazy hot in the 90's. Missoula hasn't been getting the nice afternoon rains we have and it showed.......really brown and burned.

We brought Kona's water bottle, bowel, and most importantly her Swamp Cooler Vest. This thing is amazing for hot days! It keeps her skin cool for an hour and a half plus in the 95 degree heat. We recharge it with what she doesn't drink from the water bowel. This is our second season running it and its the best buy ever.

We then headed north to Missoula where we stayed for the night. I always enjoyed downtown Missoula with the river and the great architecture. Here's some random shots.

Claire knows the owner of the James Bar and is quite fond of it so we stopped in for a drink. It reminds me of Plonk which is just a few blocks from my house. It was very hip and cool on the inside almost too much for me, but they make a killer cocktail. They also have a great quote from H.S.T. on the front. I'd like to give it a shot this fall.

It was just too damn hot out for their menu so we went to Sushi Hana. It was OK and honestly Dave's Sushi here blows its doors off. It wasn't bad though, we had a good time and a reasonably prices dinner. Anyway, it was a great warm summer night in Missoula. We walked more downtown and along the river........'twas grand.

We ended up riding the next day at the Rattlesnake Recreation Area just north of town which I have never ridden. The ride we did was only around 10 miles but it was fun, smooth, and waaaaay to mellow. Still a nice area, but not really worth the drive. It would be a great after work ride to Missoula Locals though.

We hung around a bit and watched the Zoo Town Throwdown criterium bike race from a great table outside. They shut down downtown and race road bikes through it. Nachos and bike racing right in front of you....not a bad way to end the day.


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