So what makes a Bitterroot Classic? Well, this isn't the Rattlesnake, or Sun Valley, or someplace with buffed trails. These are old school trails built before sustainability and flow were ever considered. So there are rocks and roots and slopes that are too steep and prone to erosion. They are along overgrown creek bottoms with hidden obstacles and creek crossings. There will also be, sad to say, a gravel road climb.
If they aren't your style, you'll be cussing, but once you reorient your possibilities, you'll be laughing and smiling.
So take the above as warning. If you are intrigued, read on.
Warm up with five miles of road. Up higher, enjoy the views of Fox, Kent and Congdon Peaks. When the road ends, take a break and wait for your friends on their trail bikes, that way they might wait for you on the way back out.
Head on up Polecat
. It may not be very long, and it may be climbing, but it is still singletrack. The climbs are steep, but you can usually see the top and make for good interval training. Notice how the forest is coming back after the fires, and wonder how many trees are still due to fall.
Close to the junction with Weasel Creek Trail
, the trail seems to come to an end at the top of a small knoll in the midst of an old burn with a bunch of fallen lodgepole. Don't fret, Weasel Creek Trail
is about 100 yards to the south. Take the chance to create your own adventure.
Hopefully you aren't lost, and are comfortably pondering whether to hike-a-bike up Weasel Creek Trail
to 313 or, more likely, putting on the knee and elbow pads and powering up the Go Pro for some downhill fun.
The trail starts out fun and fast as you cruise along the ridge line. Slowly, the ridge gets deeper and the trail get steeper with more cobbles and roots to challenge you. The last drop to the creek is pucker worthy - with loose, steep switchbacks and a big root drop into a creek crossing that is best with momentum.
Reviewing the GPS, it's hard for me to believe that there is only 1.5 miles of riding left. While this trail is now among my favorites, the creek bottom part of this trail has left me bloody, muddy, and dispirited more than once. The trail here tends to get overgrown and there are plenty of obstacles to punish you. Unfortunately, more often than not, caution will curse you. Momentum is again your friend, and if you can find that balance between paranoia and overconfidence, everything will be fine. If not, well, it's only a little over a mile of suffering.