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Update 3/24 - I tossed and turned last night mulling this over and I've decided while I was riding today to not report Strava times in a traditional results fashion due to safety. I've realized it's super important that this is more of completion challenge and not a how fast we can ride challenge. By posting times and having an omnium based on Strava times, it's inevitable that our most competitive sides will come out: our heads drop over the handle bars in tiredness, we cut corners or take corners too fast, we cross the centerline, and unconsciously take those additional risks that could lead to a hospital visit. Now's not the time to visit the hospital. So in lieu of a traditional results page and omnium based on placements within a segment, we will only report a list of who completed the stage (without times). And we revised the omnium scoring where it will just be a checkmark to say you completed stage. However, we will still use Strava use to determine the forthcoming stages/routes. With that said, if you personally want to go hard on a segment go for it but there is no incentive or encouragement to do so for the sake of this challenge. Just make sure you ride safely and prudently while abiding by traffic laws. We hope you understand : )
First and Foremost - Our intentions are not to skirt around the serious guidelines put in place by health officials. We all have an obligation to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to do that we need to follow guidelines. At this point going outside while practicing social distancing measures is okay by the Missoula County Health Officials and the State of Montana. However, we must respect any orders to stay home if they come.
Not feeling like riding outside and still want to donate to the cause? Hit the donate tab.
It goes without an introduction on what COVID-19 is and how it's drastically affecting our community's health (mental and physical) and economy. Now's the time to come together as a cycling community and support those businesses that have supported our events over the years all the while finding the motivation to ride. Enter, the Missoula Ride Solo Challenge For Small Business #mslaridesolo.
Why? Missoula shoulder season is tough and some of us are finding ourselves with extra low motivation on these blustery MT Spring days. It's easy to hit Netflix (are you still watching?) or do that same workout on Zwift and put off that outside ride. But for the time being the Health Dept says it's still safe to go outside on bikes as long as we are practicing physical distancing and good hygiene. Of course that can change at any moment so let's take advantage of fresh air and open roads.
For who? Restaurants, taprooms, coffee shops, bike shops are hit hard right now. These businesses are what supported our events and now's the time to return the favor.
What? This is a two week, virtual, 7 stage cycling event that can be ridden on any bike: road, mtn, or cx. Although we will be sticking to mostly paved and dirt roads and lettings the trails dry out. The event is simple. First, this isn't a sanctioned event. There is no entry fee. Roads are open to traffic and there is no podium. New rules may be implemented at any time. You must register on BikeSignUp and upload your ride to Strava. The cost is free but there is a donation page. 100% of donations will go to buying gift cards or prizes from local businesses that support our community. The more you donate, the more prizes we can provide. The goal is to make sure there is a prize for each stage and a chance for a prize at the end for those that complete each stage. Every three days starting Tues (3/24) there will be a Strava segment you must complete. You don't need to ride it fast, you just need to complete it. It's about getting out, not going fast. Sure some of us are competitive and want to ride hard. You can go hard if you want and better your time but you will only be awarded with kudos with a fast time. The segment will be announced the night before in an email to those registered along with the highlighted business.
Prizes: Most likely gift cards and maybe merchandise bought at local business from donated dollars. As of now, prizes will be randomly drawn for those that complete a stage., not the fastest time of the stage. Prizes may be drawn for special awards throughout the stages. This is ever evolving.
Omnium scoring: Omnium will be completion based. Those that complete all the segments will will be entered for final purse (gift cards to local business) with remaining donation funds.
Segments and Stages (revealed the night before each stage)
Stage 1 - Tues 24th / Wed 25th - Strava Segment: Settore Vidritta - Small Business - Dram Shop
This segment's name comes from the first dirt sector of Strade Bianche, settore Vidritta. With Strade Bianche postponed this year, we are bringing the white roads of Tuscany to the white road of Miller Creek. And since the most euro thing I've seen recently were those rad Dram Shop cycling caps, this stage is for you! So here is to Stage One and Dram Shop! Thanks Dram for keeping us hydrated and supporting our local bike events. Dram Shop is currently open and taking online orders and deliveries. You can even go in and fill up a growler without touching a thing.
Start - Just after the traffic circle (first driveway on the right) on Lower Miller Cr. End - The last tree on the left where the dirst ends on Lower Miller Cr.
This stage is 4.64 miles and begins with 3.5 miles of smooth pavement leading into a 1 mile section of smooth dirt. Half way through the paved section we encounter a short quarter mile climb of less than 100 ft. Take a look around and enjoy the views of the i93 corridor before we then descend into the Miller Creek Drainage which leads us into the final mile of Lower Miller Creek. The final mile is where we hit our first and our last dirt sector of the day. It's generally in pretty good shape and with a 2% grade, you will be going slow enough to pick good lines. This segment is for the all-rounders.
Stage 2 - Thurs 26th / Fr 27th Strava Segment: Tichenburg - Small Business: Burn St Bistro
This next stage goes out to a guy with many personalities. Some know him through his famous trail reports as Vanilla Thunder. Some know him as the Rattlesnake1000 General. And most everyone knows him as the guy with the best brunch spot in town, Jason McMackin, owner and operator of Burns St Bistro. Burns St Bistro is currently not open for breakfast and lunch do to the public health emergency but they are currently selling gift cards to be used when restaurants are able to open. Jason's never turned down an ask for help. He was a sponsor for Rocky Mt Roubaix, Rolling Thunder, and MTB Missoula events. Jason spent a whole morning pulling weeds on the Rolling Thunder course and spent an afternoon shuttle lights for the event.
You can blame Jason for Stage 2. He brought a little taste of the Tour of Flanders to Missoula in the form of the Tichenburg! This one is for the climbers and those that say, I should get better at climbing. The segment is 2.94 miles with 738 ft of climbing at an average 5% grade. There are 1-2 sections of flat recovery as it winds it way up from the bottom of Pattee Canyon road to the top of Mansion Heights which has great panoramic views of the Missoula Valley.
The Start. Bottom of Takima Dr where it intersects Pattee Canyon Rd.
The Finish. The cul de sac at the end of Spanish Peaks Dr.
Stage 3 - Sat 28th / Sun 29th / Mon 30th Strava Segment Cote De La Lincoln - Small Business: Caffe Dolce
This next stage goes out to Caffe Dolce. Caffe Dolce provides a little taste of Italy right in the slant street neighborhood. A favorite spot for rose on the patio on a warm spring day, a lamb burger after that epic bike or hike, or a cappuccino on your way to work. Peter Lambros and Caffe Dolce have sponsored countless bike events in Missoula. You've probably received one of their free pizza, wine/beer, or pasta coupons from a bike event. Rumor also has it Peter was one of the founders of Missoula XC back when Sam Shultz didn't even have a mustache.
Unfortunately Caffe Dolce is closed and their staff need our support. They are doing a campaign where all the gift cards purchased through April 12th will go towards their staff. They are selling their gift cards online here.
This segment is called Cote De La Lincoln, which is french for something but let's just says it's a lot shorter than the Tichenburg and a lot more straightforward. This shorter climb goes up Lincoln Hills in the Rattlesnake along Lincoln Hills Drive and climbs up almost 1 mile with an average of 6%. This one is for the puncheurs.
The Start. The bottom the Lincoln Hill Drive climb just east of Sunflower Dr/Pump Track
The Finish - Basically the Lincoln Hills trailhead but if you want the specific it's the third from last house on the right.
Complete by Monday sunset.
Stage 4 - Tues 31st / Wed 1st /Thurs 2nd - Segment - The Poggio - Small Business: Grist and Black Coffee Roasting Company
This next stage is for Black Coffee Roasting Company and Grist Milling and Bakery. Both Matt McQuilkin and Selden Daume have been huge supporters of our community. They have been keeping us caffeinated with spro and carbo loaded with good hearty grains at Rolling Thunder, Missoula XC, and all MTB Missoula events. These are good folks to have in our community and always willing to lend a hand in addition to sponsoring our events.
Black Coffee and Grist's storefront currently closed but luckily, both are available in stores. You can pick up both at The Good Food Store and Orange Street Food Farm and if delivery is you jam, you can order Black Coffee here. So please buy a bag of BCRC coffee and a hearty Grist loaf next time you resupply at the store!
This next segment, Stage 4, is called The Poggio. It's a short, gradual climb that never gets too difficult. We stay in the Rattlesnake for this one and we will be thankful that's it's not too difficult or hard to get to with the poor weather forecast for the next three days. But, just like your old coach used to say, there isn't bad weather, just bad clothing. So bundle up for this one and consider it the rest stage. Just like the real Poggio in Milan-San Remo, it's anyone's for the taking.
Segment - The Poggio: https://www.strava.com/segments/23231978?segment_edit=true
.90 miles, 3% grade, 161ft of climbing.
Start - Arbor Street on Duncan
Finish - The North Hills trailhead parking lot.
Stage 5 - Fri 3rd / Sat 4th / Sun 5th Segment - O'brien Creek - Small Business: Green Source
Cheeseburgers are my favorite food. I would eat one every day if I was invincible. Fortunately there are healthier and just as tasty options served by Green Source that can keep those pedals turning quickly and heart beating consistently! They have tasty smoothies, salads, bowls, pressed juice, espresso, and of course WAFFLES! Currently Green Source is closed but is offering curbside pickup only from their online menu here: http://www.greensourcemissoula.com/. Since Green Source's opening they have been a great supporter of our cycling events and MTB Missoula.
You will be thankful Green Source is a part of your lunch habits because we transfer over to the West Side of Missoula to Stage 5 - O'brien Creek. O'brien creek, although not as long, is a Missoula staple right behind Pattee Canyon. It's a great 2.24 mile climb at a shallow 3% grade that allows you to get in a good rhythm. At the top, the terrain opens up from a narrow drainage to an open meadow that host's a small horse ranch. At the top of the climb and end of the segment the road narrows and turns to dirt. It's a fun ride to get an extra mile or two going down the dirt road. It's definitely doable on a road bike, I recommend it. If you are looking for more riding, riding Big Flat Road to Kona Ranch Road is also a nice stretch
Segment - O'brien Creek: https://www.strava.com/segments/1218630
2.24 mi - 3% Grade - 326 ft of climbing
The Start - The Corner of O'brien Cr Road and Blue Mt/Big Flat. At the very bottom of the climb.
The Finish - There is a big turn around area at the top of the climb right about where the road turns to dirt. Ride just past the turn around area to ensure you complete the stage.
Getting there - You can take the bike path to Blue Mountain Road and the Peak. Take Blue Mt Road to Obrien Creek. Or you can take North Ave over Maclay Bridge.
Stage 6 - Mon 6th / Tues 7th / Wed 8th - Segment: Butler Creek- Business: Your Local Bike Shop
We can't get through this Tour without a day dedicated to our local bike shops. Have you ever turned the limit screws of your derailleur or squeezed a hydraulic brake lever without a rotor between the calibers just to wonder what would happen right before a big ride? Me neither. But if I did, I am thankful to have a great local bike shop that would be able to get me up and running again.
Every shop in town is part of our event community and we are lucky to have so many. However, there are three that stand out that have been extra supportive. Missoula Bicycle Works and Hellgate Cyclery have been the organizers for Wednesday Night Cyclocross for years. And you can count on Big Sky Bikes providing prizes and having a mechanic tent setup at Rolling Thunder and Missoula XC to fix those last minute issues. So this next stage is for your local bike shop whether that's the above three or Bike Source, Open Road, Bike Hanger, Bike Doctor, or Free Cycles.
Stage 6 we transfer over to the northwest corner of town and ride Butler Creek. It's a shallow, 2 mile climb at 2% on pavement. The segment ends where the pavement ends but you can continue climbing on the dirt road (road bikes are okay) for another 2 miles or so of bonus dirt to the gate that heads up to Point Six. Butler Creek is off Expressway and the best way to get out there is usually through the Northside by riding by Missoula Cemetery and crossing Reserve Street on Expressway by the Hilton Garden Inn and Karl Tyler. Big Sky Brewring is close by for those looking for parking for your kids who want to complete the stage.
Segment - Butler Creek: https://www.strava.com/segments/6521691
1.98 mi - 2% Grade - 245 ft of climbing
The Start - Goodan Lane and Butler Creek.
The Finish - The road turns to dirt (but you can continue climbing if you'd like).
Stage 7 - Thurs 9th / Fri 10th / Sat 11th - Segment: Snowbowl Rd - Business - Big Sky Brewing.
This last stage, the Queen Stage, goes out to our number one supporter, Big Sky Brewing. I'm not sure where to begin with Big Sky. They have been involved with projects such as the International Snow Science Workshop, The International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula Skatepark, Brennan’s Wave, United Way, Missoula Urban Demonstration Project, Garden City Harvest, Missoula Art Museum, Five Valleys Land Trust, and many more.
Every summer at their concert series all the tips of beer sales and a portion of beer sales go directly to local non profits such as MTB Missoula, Missoula Nordic, and Five Valleys. Tips have literally gone to trails and new nordic grooming equipment. Bjorn has even let us host bike events from his front lawn of his house like the Rocky Mt Roubaix, MT Gravel Challenge, and Money Stapled to a Tree. Bjorn and Joe didn't even blink an eye when we asked to host Rolling Thunder Cyclocross again on their newly landscaped back yard. They truly have our backs and know the importance of community and events.
So we ride the Queen Stage to support Big Sky during this time. And if you are thirsty, you can fill up that growler in their tap room which is open for fills, or grab a six pack from Orange Street Food Farm. Take a pic with your hoppy beverage with the hashtag #wemakewaterfun.
Stage 7 - Snowbowl Road. Yep it's dirt. Yep it's a challenging climb. But Bjorn at Big Sky wouldn't want it any way. But with the ski hill closed, I suspect there will be light traffic and I am betting after the past week the dirt road is in the best shape it will be in all year. I am confident that road tires would be fine on the road (just pump them up to avoid pinch flats) but if you are worried about the gearing, the MTB might be a better choice. Careful on the descent and please don't cut corners. Bring your skis for extra kudos.
4.44 miles, 5% Grade, 1,200 feet of climbing.
Start: The intersection of Snowbowl Rd and Keegan Gulch Rd (on the right)
Finish: Where Snowbowl Road Plateaus and starts to descend toward the parking lot.
You have until Saturday sunset to complete. But I hear there is a Blizzard warning above 5,000 feet on Saturday so Thursday and Friday are looking good.
Make up stage Sunday -12th to Sunday the 19th. Make up any stage you missed to still be entered in the final drawing of those that completed all seven stages. Bonus stage and more details to come.
Make Up Stage
We now have a make up week. You have until Sunday evening if you missed any stage. After Sunday, we will raffle off the remaining donations (We almost hit $4,000! Can we break 4k?!) and it looks like it will be in the form of Downtown Association Gift-cards which can be used at over a hundred small businesses in Missoula.
If you completed all the stages. Then I challenge you to pick your favorite ride, and complete it by Sunday night and name it after your favorite small business that didn't get highlighted. Name your Strava ride #MslaRideSolo Riders Choice #RideFor(said favorite small business) and share with those tags on Social Media.
And/Or BONUS CHALLENGE for #RideForEssentialEmployees
There is also a bonus challenge that will have a separate drawing for those that complete it. You have until Sunday as well to complete it and you have to ride ALL SEVEN Stages of the challenge in one single ride. You have to do the stages in the right direction but can do them in any order as you want. I will create a new column in the spreadsheet where you can log completion. For the Bonus Challenge name your ride #MslaRideSolo Bonus Challenge #RideForEssentialEmployees. This one is for our health care workers, grocery store workers, delivery/post people, and everyone else keeping us safe, healthy, and society running.
Thanks all for participating up until this point. Let's keep it going!
Questions to Cory at Cory@competitivetiming.com.
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