Mountain High 

My car broke down a few weeks ago, so I've been busy keeping the seat of my bicycle warm. It's been a nice change, especially when the weather is agreeable. But as much as I love two wheelin' it, I'll likely never come close to the skills of Rebecca Rusch, a three-time, 24-hour solo mountain biking world champion. She's what I'd call hardcore. For real.

On Thu., March 11, you can witness just how amazing she is on a bike, and meet her in person, during a screening of Race Across the Sky—a documentary about the Leadville Trail 100, one of the most intense bike races around—at 7:30 PM at the Roxy Theater, 718 S. Higgins Ave. $10/$5 children, with all proceeds going to benefit the International Mountain Bike Association. A free, special pre-screening party occurs at 5:30 PM at Big Sky Bikes, 809 E. Front St. Don't sleep on it. Visit outsidemedia.com.

Moving on. You best have a good 'tude for this one: The Rocky Mountaineers' Steve Niday plans to kick it backcountry style Thu., March 11–Mon., March 15, during a climbing jaunt to Miche Wabun Basin in Glacier National Park. The trip totals 36 miles, and it looks like it's for experienced climbers, but call Steve at 721-3790 to get the lowdown and make plans. Visit rockymountaineers.com for more specifics. On that note, two other Rocky Mountaineers trips occur this weekend, but lack of space means you should check out the their website, which gives all the details.

If you're all about fire, then get fired up on Sat., March 13, so you can zoom to the Bitterroot Wildfire Contractors Association Fireline Safety Class and Pack Test, which starts at 8:30 AM at the Corvallis Grange. $80. The pack test follows at Corvallis High School at 1:45 PM. Visit bitterrootwildfire.com for specifics or call 523-7887.

click to enlarge CATHRINE L. WALTERS

Then again, you could feed your addiction to pedaling when you join Missoulians on Bicycles Sat., March 13, at 10 AM for the Happy Trails to Stevi: Big Loop ride. Meet at Missoula's KMart at 10 AM, or drive thee down to the Conoco in Lolo and get there by 10:30. Call Lech at 207-1225 and visit missoulabike.org. They have another trip on Sun., March 14, but space is scarce so check their website.

Sat., March 13, is also a time when you can breathe in and breathe out heavily for fun during Run Wild Missoula's Run for the Luck of It, a St. Patrick's Day-themed 5k run/walk that starts at 11:15 AM at Sean Kelly's, 130 W. Pine St. $20/$18 Run Wild Missoula members. And yes, you will get a free beer after the race, but I'd recommend wearing green, unless you want spectators to pinch you. Grab a registration form and more info at runwildmissoula.org.

Building a sled, racing it over a jump and winning something wicked for your efforts (maybe a case of Red Bull?) is what's up Sat., March 13, during Red Bull's Schlittentag competition, which starts with onsite building at 1 PM, followed by sledding at 5 PM, at Montana Snowbowl, 1700 Snowbowl Road. Free. Visit redbullusa.com/schlittentag.

For something entirely different and watery on Sat., March 13, join the Watershed Education Network's (WEN) free community water monitoring training session, which runs from 1–5 PM. Meet members of WEN at the Greenough Park Pavilion Area, and get ready to soak up how to measure chemical, biological and physical water quality parameters. Visit montanawatershed.org and call 541-9287.

Scaly and slithery things are bound to be around Sat., March 13, during the Montana Natural History Center's Saturday Kids' Activity "Rad Reptiles," where you and your kid aged 5 and up learn about and meet a handful of reptiles at the History Center, 120 Hickory St. $2 child/free members. Call 327-0405.

Hoot it up with some birders on Sat., March 13, when the Five Valleys Audubon Society hosts a cross-country ski trip to Lolo Pass to listen for owls. Free. Meet to carpool at 4 PM at the west end of Rosauer's parking lot, 2350 S. Reserve St. Bring skis, warm clothing and a lunch, and call Larry Weeks at 549-5632 with questions. Visit fvamissoula.org.

On Mon., March 15, get your bull trout protection appreciation on by submitting comments for proposed bull trout critical habitat designations that are specific to western Montana. Comments are due today, so click to regulations.gov for the proposal, and submit your comments online at sierrasportsmen.org. Call the local chapter of the Sierra Club at 549-1142 with questions.

After you've submitted your comments on Mon., March 15, hightail it over the UM's Outdoor program, in the Fitness and Rec Center, to get brawny in the mountains by signing up for an intermediate mountaineering overnight class. $115. The class runs Sat., March 20–Sun. March 21, with a pre-trip meeting Thu., March 18 at 5 PM. Call 243-5172.

See caverns in a whole new dimension on Wed., March 17, during a meeting of the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto of the National Speleological Society, which hosts the program "Wilderness Caving in 3-D" and meets at 7 PM at Pipestone Mountaineering, 129 W. Front St. Free. Visit caves.org/grotto/nrmg/Home.html.

Finally, those outdoors enthusiasts over at Missoula Parks and Rec wanted me to let you know about two events of interest on Thu., March 18. The first is to remind you that it's the final day to sign up for a snowshoe adventure at Marshall Mountain, which occurs Sat., March 20, from 10 AM–3 PM. $12. The jaunt is for those aged 12 and up, and covers backcountry terrains, avalanche awareness and plenty more. Call 721-PARK to register and visit missoulaparks.org. The second event is a fly tying class taught by experts at Missoulian Angler Fly Shop, 401 S. Orange St., which starts at 7 PM. $7. The class is open for those aged 12 and up. RSVP by calling 721-PARK.

Until next time, pedal hard my brothers and sisters.

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