Smoking The Bowl

Jill and I had planned a outing that involved mountain bikes and Marshall Canyon. Dave had not responded to a earlier ride request so I pinged him again on my iPhone via a text message.

“I’ll be there” I got back almost instantly. And the plans were set. One more ride in Missoula for Dave and another chance to be with a good dude for us.

Jill, Dave, and I started up the Marshall Grade while I wanted to go deeper into Marshall Canyon.  We were headed to Three Larch and planned to have a optional ride in the Rattlesnake. As we climbed up Marshall Grade I was thinking back to leg 2 of the RMVQ.

Leg 2 is from a place called Kona Bridge and ends up at the main Rattlesnake parking lot. Most of the trails are in the Snow Bowl area and during training I have this loop called Smoking the Bowl.

The Kona Bridge aid station was staffed by Bob Skogly, Sally Wright, and Marta Shattuck. It was nice to see their smiling faces and hearing their cheers as I approached. Bob raised his arms in victory. They told me that the gang was only about 20 minutes up the road. I really wanted to catch up to Dave so I didn’t dally in the pit and took off in hot pursuit.

Climbing went well and soon I ran into Rich. He reportedly blew up trying to stay with Ed, Dave, and Aaron. I left Rich at a junction and he agreed to get through to Rattlesnake before he decided to throw in the towel.

I finally met up with the boys at the aframe on top of the Beargrass Highway. I approached Ed, Aaron, and Dave.

“I am going to miss you”, I mumbled and I gave Dave a man hug (the ones that are usually one arm and some sort of back pat). We chatted about what lies beyond the Rattlesnake and I wished them well and hoped that they would do the next leg.

I ripped the Beargrass Highway in like 7 minutes. Whizzing past Ross Brown who was ridden up snow bowl to meet up with all the RMVQ(ers). Next I was buzzing up to the Ravine Trailhead. I saw Rich’s support Marta and friends as I quickly started up the next climb. I stopped momentarily to tell them Riche’s situation and to root him on. Ravine didn’t take long and soon enough I was at the Main Rattlesnake parking lot.

And my day dream ended as we turned up a switchback and towards the top of Three Larch. Tonight was a perfect example of what I meant up there last weekend on top of the Beargrass Highway.

Another rider came into view as the sun started to set. It was Ed. Our group of 3 turned to 4 and we proceeded down the Three Larch Trail. We found and “re situated” the log across the trail. We finished the ride down the Sidewinder Family and hit the Bridge Pizza place. We talked late into the night, said our good byes, and dispersed home.

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