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July 31, 2018

Tri Tour Weekend - Montana was made for weekends like this

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Public Land as far as the eyes can see.  

Let's keep it that way!



Madison Triathlon -- Tour de Gravelly


Montana was made for weekends like this


What a wonderful July in Southwest Montana!  Beautiful weather.  Wildlife abounds.  Wildflowers are in the kajillions.  Clear, clear blue skies.  No wildfires in the region.  Our public lands campaign is making an impact.  Public Land is remaining public. Thank you!!  


Life is beautiful.  [I know I write that a lot, but in Montana it's true!]


August awaits, and it's gonna get better.


For the Greater Yellowstone Adventure Series (GYAS), we are down to our final weekend.  The 7th Annual Madison Triathlon is on Saturday, August 4.  The 2nd Annual Tour de Gravelly is on Sunday, August 5.  The races are open and race day sign up is allowed.  Sometimes in life, you just gotta show up and see what happens.  That's how we're built.  Carpe Volutpat Vestibulum!   



Show up at the Madison Triathlon and here's what happens.

  • You compete in one of Montana's only Olympic distance triathlons

  • You compete in a point-to-point tri that most definitely ain't a pansy ass city tri

  • The finish line is in front of the Pony bar

  • This is the final leg for the Madison Trifecta and the anointing of the TBAs for the year so you get to meet the rock star athletes of 2018

  • We will have a hell of a fun party in Pony at the awards ceremony



















The finish line of the Madison Triathlon



Here's some basic details


Race Day:  Saturday, August 4


Race Check In:  7 to 8 AM at Kobayashi Beach on Ennis Lake


Race Day Signup Allowed?:  Hells to the yeah.  Just show up and compete


Race Start:  shortly after 8:00 AM


Race Day Entry Fee: $60


Race Route:  1,200 yard swim in Ennis Lake, 23 mile bicycle ride to Harrison on Highway 287, and then a six mile run to Pony.


Bike of Choice:  A road bike is the best choice.  However, be aware that there is a three mile gravel road section which is usually hard packed from Ennis Lake to the highway. 


The Extras (aside from doing Montana's gnarliest triathlon):  Free party at the end for athletes and their family/friends.


Show up at the Tour de Gravelly and here's what happens.

  • The route is simple.  It's up and over the Gravelly Range in the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest.  This requires 57 miles of cycling of which all but 10 are on gravel roads (not a trail race).  The map of the route is posted below. 

  • The net elevation gain is 4,651 feet.  That's a 40 mile uphill!  Actually, most of this uphill is within a 30 mile section.

  • The net elevation loss is around 3,600 feet.  That's a 17 mile downhill, most of which is within 12 or so miles.

  • The Tour is still a new race so it will be a small race in terms of turnout.  You'll be a pioneer.  Kinda like one of the guys on the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

  • It will take some time, but this race is destined to be a national and international Bucket List gravel road cycling race.  A 4,651 foot net gain in elevation in such a pristine setting will be one for the books.  You have a chance to be among the first.

  • Of course, since it's the final race of the GYAS 2018 season, we will definitely have a great party at the end.  We have a cabin rented out at Vigilante Station.  Come one, come all!  You can even sleep over if you want.





















Somewhere in rural southwest China there is a 3.5 day uphill 



Here's some basic details


Race Day:  Sunday, August 5


Race Check In:  5:45 to 6:30 AM at Lion's Club Park in Ennis  


Race Day Signup Allowed?:  Oh hell yeah!  Just show up and get ready for the ride of your life


Race Start:  6:45 AM


Race Day Entry Fee: $50


Race Route:  See map below.  The race starts in Ennis and finishes at Vigilante Station in the Ruby Valley


Bike of Choice:  A cross bike is best.  The route is a gravel road and overall a quite good one (not too rough) and it's ideal for a cross bike.  A road bike would get beat up and a fat tire mountain bike might slow you down.  Be sure to have a granny gear.  You'll need it!   


The Extras (in addition to being a total stud for doing this race):  One hell of a party cuz this is the final race of the GYAS 2018 season


Not to brag (but I'm gonna anyway), but the uphill for the Tour de Gravelly is likely one of the hardest in the nation for a gravel road cycling race.  Despite that, it still doesn't compare to the uphill I endured on my cycle tour of China back when my hair was its original color (photo).  It was also entirely on a gravel road.  It was also remote as hell. It was also a very limited support journey since there was no support.  We didn't know where we were going because there were no maps.  And, we had a three and one-half day uphill.  Now that was a Holy Shit! kind of uphill.   One of my goals in creating the Tour de Gravelly is to replicate that experience right here in Montana.  I think I got it pretty close.


When was the last time you did something for the first time?  When was the last time you did something impulsively, crazy, and that you knew was going to scare the shit out of you?   Unless you've done so recently, I think this coming weekend is a chance to do exactly that.  Consider just getting in your car, driving to Ennis, and doing one or both of these races.  


We are just plain lucky to live in Montana.  We are fortunate that we had leaders like Teddy Roosevelt who created the concept of public land.  Now, it's time to show up, give thanks, and enjoy what we have.


See you this weekend.


Stay Happy, Healthy, and Always Keep Swimming, Running and Cycling Forward.



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The John Colter Club

The John Colter Club is a members-only club for athletes who are or have been:

  1. An inaugural athlete in one of the six GYAS races. 

  2. Earned a podium finish (top three) in the overall men and women's category of any GYAS race. 

  3. Are a three-time returnee to a GYAS race. 


We want to recognize those who went first, those who finished well, and those who just keep coming back.  For a membership fee of $30 per year and immense bragging rights for getting in, members receive the following:

  1. personalized water bottle with the GYAS logo, your name, and the club's name. 

  2. Early access.  Members get to sign up for the GYAS races before the March 1 opening. 

  3. discount of 15 percent off the entry fee of the race you sign up for. 


Do the math and you can figure out that your $30 comes back to you pretty quick.   If you qualify and if you want to join an exclusive club of athletes named after Montana's most famous total bad ass, send me an email.  Tell me how you qualify.  I'll confirm it all and send you the application. 

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