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The fastest rider in our group was hobbled midway through the game. He was probably softened up, due to his over exuberance on the demanding climbs that we faced early on. He nursed severe leg cramps and took large doses of electrolytes to combat the lactic acid. While attempting to hurdle a cattle bridge, another cyclist was nicked by barbed wire. She sustained a puncture wound but quickly patched it and continued unfazed by the event.
Much of this trail is newly constructed in the past 5 years. Trail conditions were outstanding with fresh moisture from yesterday's rain. The soil is loamy, buff and well suited for most skill levels. Our riders were amazed at what the Forest Service trail builders have accomplished on the CDT. Far from roads and without the benefit of heavy equipment, they moved weighty materials. They constructed stone causeways and substantial timber bridges across creeks and boggy spots and did it without disturbing the forest floor. Trail users can now roll along creek beds and wetlands without damaging the drainage or being swallowed by mud holes.
When our riders came near the ridge tops, we had glimpses of Butte and the Anaconda Range. To the southwest, are vistas of a lush Big Hole Valley. For me, the most visually stimulating aspect of the Continental Divide Trail is giant boulders that are scattered through the forest. Most are stacked in a way that leaves the impression that someone's hands deliberately placed them. It is a splendid landscape of organic sculpture.
The lengthy downhill sections of the CDT are truly thrilling on fat tires. Terminal velocity was my goal, but in reality, I might have topped out at 25 miles per hour. When you attack slopes like these, all mechanical systems are engaged, especially your disk brakes. Plunging down dozens of switchbacks is unmatched as an adrenaline rush. At speed, one cannot let their eyes wander to the horizon, as there is little margin for error. A stealthy rider must focus on the trail as if it is a ski slalom course.
On the final stretch of this ambitious ride, we were on the edge of an ominous black sky. I had no doubt that we would be rain-soaked but I winced as lighting crackling overhead. Storm chasing on a mountaintop is a beautiful experience but it is definitely intimidating. Fortunately, the storm was all bark and no bite.
The prize at the end of this day was a Chris Axelson prepared barbeque in the comfort of his Homestake Lodge dining room. A feeling of elation and contentment comes over me, as I chow down on a brat with mustard.
TOP PICKS are absolutely the best real estate deals in Bozeman and Gallatin County. TOP PICKS are selected from the entire pool of local REALTOR listings. Our goal is to remain impartial and present you with the very best bargains. TOP PICKS emphasize value but we factor in other important variables such as property condition, location and amenities. If you don't think these are the best bargains in their class, we'd like to hear your comments. If you have a better deal, we'd like to hear about yours.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.