Monday, September 17, 2007

Richmond Peak

Click Picture to see it Montana size.

Saturday after work I drove the 280 miles to Seeley lake MT to do a pre-ride of the GDR segment that goes over Richmond Peak. On Sunday morning I woke up early, parked my car at the gas station and rode Highway 83 twenty some miles to Holland Lake. At Holland Lake I got on the GDMBR. I started the route at 7:30 a.m. My goal with this ride was to get an understanding of the terrain. When they say "begin steep climb" what is that comparable to from my terrain back home?
Overall the ride is pretty much what I thought it was going to be. It does remind me of the riding I have been doing in the Coeur d' Alene national Forest. Long gravel climbs and the occasional rocky single track. The differences were few but significant.
Altitude. Once the climb got in the 5,000 to 7,000 foot range the legs felt empty but it was just the lack of oxygen. When I remembered to exaggerate my breathing things improved.
Navigation. I don't have any experience following cue sheets and the ACA maps use of running mileage totals bothered me. I was reading off of the maps and then shoving them into my side mesh pockets on my pack. When I got to the next turn I would pull the map out agoing. This experience has given me insight into how to write-me own cue sheets. The running mileage total doesn't work all that well if you get off course. After doubling back to the route the mileage is all wrong and you spend the rest of the day doing math for every turn. And yes I took a wrong turn...a really bad wrong turn. Up on Richmond peak I knew that my next navigational cue was "switchback to the right" also vaguely remembered the line "trail deteriorates". I saw a switchback with a gate and though the directions did not mention a gate I saw orange arrows pointing up the deteriorated trail. I had been seeing the orange arrows all day so I thought it helped the case for this being the turn. I followed that brushy rock and rut path for two miles DOWNHILL before I accepted the fact that that I was going to be going back up to where I came from. Getting off track (different than getting lost imho) is part of the GDR and so for that reason it was good to get a little of that practice in as well.
Scenery. I am not saying that the vistas are not beautiful around these parts but staring into the mountains of the Bob Marshall Wilderness I felt compelled to take up painting so that I could spend my days looking at them.
The full ride was 65.0 miles with a moving average of 11.3 mph and with 41 minutes of stopped time I had an overall average of 10.0 mph. I rode for 5 hours and 45 minutes. Starting at 5:50 a.m. I finished at 12:19 p.m.
There were no problems on the ride but my pedal fell off while pedaling down the dirt road into town. Nothing was wrong it just managed to vibrate itself loose during the long descent off of Richmond peak. I have never had this happen before and I wrenched it on to make sure that it would be the last time.

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