I snapped this pic of the 1400 acre fire right outside of Helena, Montana on this morning’s flight to Great Falls. Seems to have died down some, but the windy dry air today could change that.
I’m racing right in this area this weekend. I know there are a lot more important worries with this fire, but I hope I don’t have to breathe the smoke in all weekend.
It’s been one Helena of a week for me. I had two days’ worth of meetings in Helena to attend followed by a crazy “exciting” day in clinic today that involved a helicopter. To top that off, I have a raging cold right now that is probably secondary to a suspiciously smelly 45 dollar hotel room.
It hasn’t been all bad though. I had some free time while in Helena, and I used the opportunity to get in a good ride and run combo. First up, the ride. I am doing the Helena Spring Meadows Olympic Triathlon on July 1 this year, and I figured now was a good time to do a TT on the race course. I did this course two years ago in perfect, no wind weather in 1:11 ish. In contrast, when I hit the road Wed, it was blowing something fierce on the course. +25mph gusts easy and the headwind started from the get go. Here’s the data:
I love this course. It’s pretty much uphill until right around the turn around, but I’m into climbing these days. There are also plenty of cool small bumps that are fun to get out of the saddle on and surge over with momentum. With the wind, it was damn near brutal on the way out. After the flip, things weren’t quite good either because it was mostly a crosswind. But after you make it to the top of that second peak, it’s a screaming downhill to the transition. LOVE IT. Oddly enough, it seems that I am only ever going uphill or downhill when I’m in Helena.
I’m pretty happy to have ridden as fast as two years ago with the wind problems. I’m hoping to see some good numbers on race day.
On Thursday, the wind was replaced with drizzle. Fortunately, it was time to lace the shoes, and I was thankful for the extra cooling. For my trek, I chose the mostly gravel Grizzly Gulch Drive. I parked next to the Blackfoot River Brewery and headed up. I just love this elevation profile.
As painful as it was going up, it was hilariously fun going back down. I felt like I was flying by the time I made it back to the brewery.
As you might have guessed, I didn’t start my run at Blackfoot River Brewery by coincidence. After the eight miles I rested my legs and tummy with a nice IPA on their patio. Just a perfect experience. If you are ever in Helena, I highly recommend Blackfoot. All they do is serve beer, and it shows. You can only get a few and they don’t serve beer after eight (weird brewery law), but it is still worth the visit. The staff is super nice, the tap choices are great, and the atmosphere is perfect for sharing a good brew with some friends.
Tomorrow, I am racing, but in a different way. My daughter is doing her first 5k, and I’m joining her, cold or not. Pics to come!