Today we had two passes separating us between Butte and Wise River. We crested the first pass and had a nice lunch on top of the divide. We then ascended to a valley (which we learn are homes to huge and basically always head winds) overlooking our next pass - Fleecer Ridge. The maps are usually quite direct in their descriptions of the route, lacking prose and voice some may say. But when describing the ascent/descent of Fleecer Ridge, it calls it "legendary" and there is even an alternate route you may take to avoid the ridge altogether. Since we're from Moncton, NB - daredevil capital of the world, we decided to attack it. Right after mustering up the courage and adrenaline, POP goes cam's tire. After a quick-ish fix (handpump...), we were on the road again. POP again. Anyways, after 3 tubes, agony, and planning, we somehow crested the ridge. Tough - yes. Legendary? Not really. That's until we saw the descent. This was honestly a >40% grade. If you turned around, stood up straight and reached your arm out horizontally, you could touch the trail in front of you. We were forced to get off the bikes and do our best to walk the bikes down. We finally made it into Wise River. A town Randy would love. Nothin' but fishing and cold beers.
After a closer inspection of Cam's bike, we noticed that the rear tire itself actually had a small tear in it. Geoff did a great job doing his best to patch this, but this is something that required a real fix. The closest bike shop was in Butte. We phoned to see if we could somehow get a tire delivered but the shop was closed. We had a couple Trout Slayer beer (very good) and camped out in the lawn behind the bar.
View of Butte. Basically a huge hole/mine.
Geoff snacking on top of the divide
break down #1
Cam descending the first pass. Note Mount Fleecer in the background
We saw these things all over the place in Montana. Hundreds. We also saw the word "gulch" even more. We think this picture sums up Montana.
Breakdown number two... on the way up to Fleecer.
Atop Fleecer. Forgot to take pics of the descent. Doh.