Sent: Sunday, 8/03/03
To: Friends and Family
Subject: Butte to Bannock State Park
Friday, August 1 - Butte to Beaver Dam Campground (39 miles, 3670 feet)
Today was a test of will since it was our first time without a driver doing an out-and-back ride to equal the mileage in the guidebook. At the bottom of a very steep 3.4-mile hill, it would have been really easy to say, "Naw, let's turn around now." We made it to our destination, the top of the 5th Continental Divide crossing, and then headed home. It was a much harder day than if we had done a point-to-point ride. The worst part was that I didn't even enjoy the downhills on the way out as much as I could have knowing I would have to come back up them.
Saturday, August 2 - Beaver Dam Campground to Little Joe Campground (37 miles, 3070 feet)
On the morning of our 28th anniversary, I left Jim doing the dishes while I headed out to ride my bike with 6 men and my 17-year-old niece. You would think that as a romance coach I would know better than that.
Linda (Jim's sister), Tom (her husband), and Caley (their daughter) drove all night from Denver to be here for the start of today's ride. Tom will be the motor home driver for the next 6 days, and Caley will ride with us. Caley is a very strong athlete, but she hasn't done a lot of mountain biking. The description of the start of today's ride in the guide book (uphill for 6 miles, followed by "precipitous drop on single-track trail") left me wondering if it would be wise to do this to Caley on her first day's ride. She read the guidebook, and then said, "Let's go for it."
Caley and I started the ride together. Caley, on her week-old mountain bike with regular pedals (not even toe clips) and borrowed gloves, dropped me after about 1.4 miles. (Reminder to self: It's okay to admire the athletic accomplishments of women 33 years my junior with out having to keep up with them.) With the exception of Evan, who demonstrated a unique sidesaddle technique, all 7 of us walked our bikes down this "memorable" stretch of single-track. After orienting Tom and Linda to the motor home, Jim joined us for lunch in Wise River, and then he finished the ride with us. I'm done worrying about if this mountain bike trip will be too tough for Caley. Now I'm wondering how long she'll have to wait on me.
Sunday, August 3 - Little Joe Campground to Bannack State Park (37 miles, 1970 feet)
After a short and easy ride, we left behind the heavy forests and mountains. Our campground was an oasis of green hidden in rolling hills and sagebrush.
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