MITower Lessons

MITower is a section of the RMVQ in leg 4 and provides some of the steepest continuous grades in the ride.  These are the men and women of Missoula and how they deal with the steep grade of life. Thump … thummmmmmm.  Ok so envision that stupid TV show Law and Order (had to ask a co worker the name of it).

Last night the Missoula Thursday Night Ride went over to Turah and back via the Deer Creek Sneak. It was a great ride, long, and with multiple surfaces and terrains. Numerous times I was able to ride with others and even by myself with the lights off reflecting on current events, specifically events of the heart. It was one of the best TNR rides of the fall season.

During the ride there were multiple opportunities to confide in a god friend and got some great support and advice. The advice was remarkably simple. Don’t give up, keep an open mind, don’t sweat the small things, and don’t tackle everything at once. Great advice for most everything in life. Much like in leg 4 of the RMVQ last weekend.

Leg 4 starts at the Lincoln Hills parking area for the Jumbo trail system. IT runs up over Jumbo Saddle, MITower, around Woody, across the swinging bridge over the Blackfoot River, and down the horse path to Turah.

As I pulled into Aid station 3 and was dimming my lights I heard cheers. Lydia was the aid station director for this stop and she out did herself from the last one (where she took charge). Everything was laid out and when I stepped off the bike she immediately cleaned and lubed my chain. Lydia you are awesome! Also Norman was there after completing the first two legs and a personal PR. He still had enough left to come up and cheer me on and that is really cool in my books. Tom and Jason were there taking notes and photos for an upcoming article. It was awesome and I was impressed by the attendance on this crucial stop.

In front of me was a daunting task. I had just come off a leg that surprised me and left me frazzled. Just as I was feeling last night I was skeptical about whether I wanted to continue. But just like last night’s advice from Jill I headed off into the night refusing to give up.

I kept an open mind and didn’t think about the steep climb up MITower as I crested Jumbo and descended into Marshall Canyon. Then the climb began. First on logging roads which gave away to grassy pathway. As I crossed the stream at the bottom of the hard pitch to the top I started to recall all the small things that I needed to do before I topped out on the climb. I started to get that feeling of doom.

Again (see the theme here) like last nights advice I decided to not sweat the small things. So what if it got muddy and I had to walk. So what if the pitch got unbearable and I had to stop to catch my breath. So what if the top included loose rocks. For the moment I would tackle these small things one at a time. So I stopped thinking about all the obstacles and before I knew it I was on top.

I posted a Marcy photo on check point 9 and spun off to the East along the side of Woody Mountain. I stopped a moment to text in a tweet that I was about to descent into Bonner and head into Turah. After a exhilarating downhill I found myself at the Swinging bridge.

I got great advice from Jill last night and looking back to the RMVQ I had the tools inside me all along. Thanks Jill. Now I am off to contact someone in Seattle to let her know I am still here, thinking of her, when she needs it the most. Open mind and more adventure …o/o

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