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Beartooth Pass, MT
WORDS: Carey S-H | PHOTOS: Cole Maness & Carey S-H
As cyclists most of us are familiar with the word or concept of "Epic". People often use the term to explain why a ride is inherently hard, long, beautiful or heroic. Epic is the conviction that the Rapha Continental has been built upon and it is a concept that fully manifested itself on July 25th in the mountains of Yellowstone National Park for the six of us riding that day.
Looking at the definition of epic, the first part speaks of a long poem portraying heroic deeds and adventures over a long period of time. Beartooth Pass was indeed a very long poem that we recited for a good 7 hours by bike, with each verse of prose getting richer and more visually stunning as we ticked away the miles. Beauty, pain, suffering, weather, good people, rivalry, outstanding geography, and glory were present on every moment of this ride.
We started in Gardiner, MT and climbed to the Valley of The Bison which also followed the waters of world-class fly fishing. Then onto a gravel road that brought us to the small but bustling town of Cooke City where we fueled up on BBQ and PB&J's. A small climb and fast descent through pine trees lead us to a crystal clear river where our overheated feet took relief with a soak; then off to tackle Beartooth Pass and the "Top of the World". The next 20 or so miles would be one of the most beautiful climbs some of us have ever done. European style switchbacks, forests, to tundra, to glacial lakes, then to a pure mountain summit of 11,500 ft with sweeping views of glacial ranges—all while a very vocal thunderstorm had been chasing us. After an awe inspiring stop at the top to take it all in, it was time to descend the most perfect pitch of switchbacks for 30 minutes in the rain .
With only two verses left to go in our poem the day was coming to an end as we pace-lined for the last seven miles into Red Lodge, MT. 124 amazing miles later, we sat in front of our cabins for the night with glorified energy and wide eyes of disbelief that we may have just ridden the US version of a what we believe would be a European classic. It was truly an epic day on every level.
"I wept two times on the climb and once on the descent." - Ira Ryan
- How good is this shot ! “@TourdeKorea2013: @mike_cuming looking good in yellow! #TdK2013 @johnherety @raphacondor http://t.co/CrCV1zkCUB”
- RT @TourdeKorea2013: @mike_cuming looking good in yellow! #TdK2013 @johnherety @raphacondor http://t.co/oCjdyhvSue
- Reality check we also lost teammates @AaronBuggle and @carthy94 today. Going to be tough to defend.
- @mike_cuming in yellow with just over a minutes lead going into the final 2 stages of @TourdeKorea2013 couldn't of happened to a nicer guy
- RT @TourdeKorea2013: 25km to go in Stage 6. @mike_cuming is the virtual leader for @raphacondor. #TdK2013
- RT @TourdeKorea2013: 102 riders will sign on today after eight were dropped by their teams in the TTT and failed to make the time cut. #TdK…
- RT @London_phill: @raphacondor @MiBsponsor @james_fairbank_ Rapha team in Tour De Korea 2013 TTT http://t.co/SW09x70Zs0
- RT @182Jay: @raphacondor please share my @JustGiving page @thomwilson88, @DavidMetherell1 and I are fundraising for @MyelomaUK http://t.co…
- Great ride by the boys in Korea. 3rd by only 3 seconds in the 25km TTT today. Mike Cuming now up to 5th overall.
- Some nice pics of the boys and report on the great Mr Cancy's ride last night: http://t.co/ctoHu37ixb