Well, my post is going to be upstaged a bit, since Jeni’s race certainly takes precedence, but a week earlier, we got together for one of our best training day(s) we’ve had in a while…
Friday morning, J and I left for the drive to Missoula, complete with inflatable kayak in the back of her baby Subaru, play boat on top, paddles, bikes, running gear, camping gear etc. for 2 days of adventure.
We met Morg at “Trails End,” a great gear shop on Front street in Missoula, and after a bit of mandatory shopping, we headed northeast out of town toward the Blackfoot river and the Ubrecht Experimental Forest, site of the upcoming Grizzlyman Adventure Race.
Now, as balmy as it was in Spokane/CDA (ha ha), the mountains in northwest Montana still had snow… we went to drop Morg’s car off at the pull out point of the river, and his little pip squeak front wheel drive got STUCK. Did I mention Subaru’s are the bomb? Yup… we used Jeni’s baby to tow his WPOS out of the slush.
We put the boats in at “Round Up,” and after a lightning fast twenty minute transition as we figured out wetsuits/kayak suits etc, set out on a great paddle down the class 2-2.5 rapids of the Blackfoot.
It was a magnificent, sunny day, with temps in the mid-40’s (maybe even 50!) and with tons of ice along the banks, a few icebergs, tons of deer and bald eagles, it was a beautiful paddle, with just enough rapids to make it exciting and interesting!
For those who haven’t done it, paddling whitewater, especially kayaking, is substantially different than flat water, and even different than rafting, so be ready for some excitement and fast hands.
We pulled the boats out at the exact right spot (part good guess, part sort of knew where we were) and literally PULLED them up a bit of a bank… say, 50 feet or so, muddy, and straight up. (Step, step, dig in, grab dirt, heave kayak 2 feet, repeat…)
After that, we lost Morg for a couple of hours as he went off to be gainfully employed, so J and I biked back to the forest and the race start at Paw’s Up! Resort, about a 10 mile, hilly trek through snow, mud, dirt and lake Winnapawsocki… (There was a puddle in the road that was so wide there was no way around it, and so deep it was over the bottom brackets of the bikes, so wet feet you had – twice).
We reserved a house for the race, looked around a bit, and biked back, as it was starting to cool off as the sun dropped.
We set up camp on the bank of the river and got our fire going just as the sun went down. Morgen joined us a bit later, and we shared Jet-Boiled dinner, snacks, and, in general, had a great evening… the stars were amazing, and even though it was down in the 20s, it was a blast to be away from everything.
Saturday, Morg was up and gone early to a meet, and after we packed up camp, we headed back to town, got some directions, and set off on a “little” bike ride that took 2.5 hours, over a honkin’ big mountain, and a part so steep I didn’t make it (which pissed me off wonderfully, I must say). It was actually great to have a LONG ride over a mountain, since my mountain has been unrideable since December… and the downhill after was pretty exhilarating!
To finish it off, we hiked up Mt. Sentinel (the one with the big “M” on it).
After that, we had a nice lunch at the Iron Horse, looked at a couple more gear shops (I got a Thermarest! (Thanks, Jeni!!)) and headed back to CDA…
This weekend, we’re going to do a similar thing with a full-time Morg, we hope, and hopefully get two days of paddling in as well.
The race is only 2.5 weeks away, so time to put the rubber to the road, so to speak…
Good training, everyone, and I can’t wait to see you all!