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Benjamin Ferencz is the creative behind Freeman Transport, Tom Robertson is a photographer, and Selden Daume is the manager and baker at Le Petit Outre. When the Rapha Continental van stopped at the end of Cherry St. in Missoula, MT, we were welcomed by a Spanish-style villa and these three characters. They led us promptly to the back patio where a local keg of micro brew, fresh ginger rum cocktails, a homemade spread of food, and guest Continental photographer Chris Milliman were waiting.
Hospitality has been a recurring theme on this summer's tour. We only asked our hosts to be our guides for a day, but they also generously took care of our crew in many diverse ways. As I joined in Salt Lake City for the last four rides of the summer, the Northern Rockies region saw our group sleeping in Brock's granddad’s cabin, secluded and tucked away in the mountains of Park City, UT. Carl introduced us to the grandeur of Beartooth Pass in Yellowstone. And Jason, in Boise, opened the doors to G Fit Studio where we cleaned our bikes one of the most well designed and polished mechanics shops we've been in. Hospitality has been present this whole summer and in Missoula, Ben, Tom, & Selden made sure we experienced it Montana style.
Le Petit Outre was our morning hub where Selden offered up remarkable French pastries and rich Doma espresso. Then it was off to Drummond to start our ride. For about 15 to 20 miles we double pace lined on a quiet highway that led us to a climb topping out at Georgetown Lake. We sprinted up and coasted down rollers that followed the circumference of the lake until a left turn put us on a small stint of gravel and then it was time for lunch.
We dry docked our bikes along side the lake, where 10 Freeman/Le Petit Outre musette's suddenly appeared, filled with aged salami and sharp cheddar cheese sandwiches, a multi-nut/fruit roll slathered in peanut butter and honey, and a brownie baked in the shape of a small ice cream cone. With a rain storm looming across the lake, we sat in the grey light feeding on the joys of what was inside our musettes.
Fueled and more than happy, we made our way around the rest of the lake and found the rain. We descended in a warm down-pour until we took a dry left to roll through the brown and orange hills of the surrounding valley. The ride almost over, we were promised a fast eight mile run of gravel before the last big climb, and fast it was. Except for a couple of flat tyres, this section was a full on charge; gravel tends to put some extra energy into the legs and even with a couple of pauses we were all up and running.
The day's last climb was beautiful, long, and rhythmic with stunning views of the rolling hills and blue silhouetted mountains in the background. We collected at the top and cranked down a long descent, tucking in behind each other and flying as a tight group until it flattened out in the small town of Philipsburg. We ended at Bob's BBQ with a fully catered meal via Selden and Bob; it was a perfect cap to our Montana experience.
PHOTOS: Tom Robertson & Carey S-H
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