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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been wanting to post a few reports of some local rides for a while now, and when the opportunity for a ride yesterday opened up, and the weather was so good, I grabbed my little P&S camera and stuffed it in my jersey pocket.

The plan was to meet Pat and Ari at the raquet club on Rimrock, just W of Zimmerman Trail. We headed out on Rimrock until it curved off and became Molt rd. Rimrock is not the best road for cycling. As can be seen in some of the pics, it has practically no shoulder, and has quite a bit of traffic. However, it leads to some great roads out in the country, so a short trip is tolerated.

Both Pat and Ari have new rides. Pat just got a shiny new Madone 5.5, and Ari a Tarmac Pro as a replacement for a previously broken frame. Ask him to tell the details of that one.

Once Rimrock turns into molt, we turn left on 64th St and head S until it T's into Grand ave. Here we head west again and head out of town. At the end of Grand ave is the RC airplane field.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
At the end of Grand ave, the route turns S again for a short downhill on 88th St. We are now out in the country, completely surrounded by farmland. At the bottom of this short little hill, we again head W on Lipp Rd. A few pics of Pat and I. Pat then decides to "put in a mean attack", and off he goes. Ari tries to document this moment in history with the camera on his cell phone, but I think he may have been too late. Eventually we come to the end of Lipp Rd and the picnic shelter, or whatever it is. I know it has worked to protect us from the rain on a ride before. We are now about 10 miles out of town.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Now the real work (fun?) starts. From here we have a good 8 or so miles of climbing. Lipp Rd T's into Buffalo Trail and the route heads north. It starts with a short hill, then turns W again and flattens out for a bit before heading N again for some serious climbing. Some pics of Pat and Ari having a chat, and Ari and I as we relish the thougth of what's to come. Once the road turns up, Ari attacks and is gone. Pat and I are left playing catch-up. I can just here Phil Ligget's voice in my head: "Those boys are really suffering now". Pat has camera duty for a while and gets a shot of me from behind as he comes flying by.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Up and up goes the road. There are a few spots where it seems to level off a bit, but then it goes up again. Another pic of Pat and his shiny new Madone. I think there must be about 4 or 5 of these little "hills within a hill". Ari is way ahead by now. On some of the pics you can see him. He is the dot way off in the distance. A month or two ago we saw quite a few wild turkeys out here, sometimes alone, and sometimes with the rest of the gaggle (is that the right group name for a flock of turkeys?). Anyway, the top of the climb eventually comes. At the top Ari is waiting for us, taking a nature break. Good thing there are no cars around.

The road goes ever so slightly downhill for a short bit here until it T's into Molt Rd. As Pat takes off sprinting for the stop sign he asks "anyone want to sprint for the si..." but he's gone. My testosterone kicks in and accept the challenge over my better judgement. Pat wins easily, but with my hard charging for the line, I run out of road and almost loose it as I skid around the corner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Another R turn. We are now heading E, and uphill again--for another 4 miles. This part of the road has about 7 or 8 false summits. This can be quite a drag when you have a headwind. This, being the highest part of the ride, can get quite windy at times. Today it is calm. There are some great vistas from up here of the mountains in the distance. Today it is a bit hazy, but if you look carefully you can still make out the Beartooth range to the SW.

After a short bit, we get into a paceline with 30" pulls. This works quite well and keeps a steady tempo. The 4 miles tick by quickly. There is the occasional farm along the way, meadow larks on the fence posts singing, life is good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
We reach the top, finally. Ari had taken off in a sprint again and then waited for us on the final uphill section. Another friend of mine refers to this point as the "tripple point". From here on a clear day you can see the Crazy Mts to the W, the Beartooth Mts to the SW and the Pryor Mts the the S. Today you can barely make them out due to the haze.

Now it is all downhill into Billings. Ari prepares for some fun in a tuck. The road winds down 3 distinct hills, affectionately termed the "Hoggsbacks". It you are short on time, it is a great out-and-back ride.

Ari chats on the phone with someone. After the 1st steep part Pat and Ari trade front wheels. Pat has been having some shimmeying of his front and thinks it may be too flexy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
With a different wheel on the front, Pat continues on. With all the rain this winter everything is so green. Off in the distance one can barely make out the Pryor Mts. We eventually make our way down the Hoggsbacks into Echo Canyon. The road follows the ridgeline down into Echo Canyon, so coming down the hill on a windy day can sometimes be a bit dicy, as the wind will often gust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm not sure why Echo Canyon got its name--I guess it had something to do with echos. Sounds like a story there. Anyway, this is where civilization starts again. Still out in the country though.

Pat and Ari stop to exchange wheels again. Pat is pleased with Ari's wheel--much stiffer. We continue on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
We go under the RR tracks by Phipps Park, round the corner and back onto Rimrock. Ari give me a leadout up "Temple Hill" (there is a Mormon Temple off to the left here) but I don't have the juice to capitalize on it. The road is rough here, and again no shoulder. Fortunately there is not too much traffic. We finally make it back to the raquet club where we go our separate ways. About 35 miles with a good mix of hills and flats, a fantastic ride, good friends, great weather, all under the Big Sky. Hopefully more good weather will bring more good rides and pics (i.e. ride reports).

Until then, enjoy.
 

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...nice pics

that is definitely some beautiful country up there in the big sky state. i've only been to billings once, but i have family that lives there. my pops grew up in butte, and we spend two weeks or so about every summer at a cabin they have northeast of anaconda. i'm hoping to get up there this summer and put in some miles.
thanks for the pics, you've motivated me to make sure i get up there this summer!
 

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Is Pat crazy? He looks crazy to me.
 

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Looking good John! A little warmer than our ride too! What a beatiful place up there.
 
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