Mountain High 

While a 110-mile or 85-mile bike ride might seem daunting to some of us—myself included—many of you probably get a little buzz when envisioning yourself leisurely pedaling it up for several hours among your cycling buddies. And I'm guessing if you add western Montana's beautiful landscapes into the mix, several of you start swooning. Well, maybe not. But if you have a bicycling itch to scratch this week, I've got just the thing for you.

On Sat., May 22, that group of fierce pedal pushers known as Missoulians on Bicycles (MOBI) hits the road for the 40th annual Tour of the Swan River Valley West ride, a hefty two-day jaunt, which is either 110-miles or 85-miles—depending on whatever suits your seat and legs. The 110-mile ride departs at 7 AM, May 22, from UM's campus, while the 85-mile ride departs from Potomac likely an hour or two later (you'll be departing from a breakfast joint in Potomac, where riders on the 110-mile ride are chowing down.) From Potomac, you'll glide up through the Swan Valley with quick stops for lunch and snacks, and you'll eventually hit your breaks in Swan Lake for camaraderie and a night's rest. On Sun., May 23, you'll ride back down to Potomac and Missoula. The trip costs $115, and you need to be a member of the organization in order to ride, so click to missoulabike.org/tosrv-w-information for specific info and to download a registration form, or to register online. Also, note that a check-in meeting occurs Fri., May 21, at 6 PM, and Sat., May 22, at 6 AM, both a UM's Miller Hall. Call Tim at 250-7228.

With that on your docket, let's go back a day to Fri., May 21. Those of you who enjoy scaling boulders can join Shawn Bennett with the Rocky Mountaineers for a Kootenai Canyon Rock Climbing trip in the Bitterroots. Free. Bennett doesn't yet have a departure time, but he indicates the jaunt is open to anyone interested in getting into the sport. Give him a ring at 493-4892 to finalize plans. Visit rockymountaineers.com.

click to enlarge CHAD HARDER

Or stick around and dust off your party hat to live it up with some disc throwers during the Missoula Ultimate Frisbee Federation's Fundraiser, which starts at 7 PM at the American Legion Hall, 825 Ronan St. $10. The soiree includes carnival games, dinner, drinks, dancing and a silent auction. And here's something else you should know: The nonprofit wants to help build disc sports throughout Missoula, so if you've ever played a game of ultimate, I'd say you ought to check this out. Visit missoulaultimate.com and call John at 360-1086.

But just remember to keep an eye on how much punch you drink so you can rise early Sat., May 22, to learn the finer points of breaking a sweat and breathing deep during Run Wild Missoula's Beginner Runner Class, which meets at 8 AM every Sat. and 6:30 AM every Wed. for eight weeks at Runner's Edge, 325 N. Higgins Ave. $50/$25 Run Wild Missoula members. The idea behind the class is to prepare you for the Hellgate Village 5k, which occurs July 10. So lace up and click to runwildmissoula.org.

If you're already well versed in pushing your legs and lungs to the limit, skip that class and get to the 24th annual Evaro Mountain Challenge 5k and 10k Run and Walk, which begins Sat., May 22, with registration at 8:30 AM at milepost 7, off Hwy. 93 near Evaro. The 10k race/walk follows at 9:30 AM, and the 5k begins at 10. $10/$8 for registration received by Thu., May 20. T-shirts are also available for $12/$11 advance. Register early by visiting racemontana.com or by e-mailing evarocommcenter@blackfoot.net.

Alternately, learn how to pack something other than your medical pipe on Sat., May 22, during the second annual Packing and Equestrian Skills Expo, which runs from 10 AM–5 PM at the Missoula Equestrian Park, 3500 North Ave. W. Free. The fair offers a host of activities including basic horse handling safety, a packing demo by Smoke Elser—a packing God of sorts—plus demos on riding skills. Visit bchmt.org/missoula to download a schedule and call 531-2455.

Your rugrat aiming to be a butt kickin' rugby player gets the good word from the pros on Sat., May 22, during a Touch Rugby Clinic with the Missoula Maggots, which begins with a youth rugby clinic at 11 AM at the Fort Missoula Rugby Pitch, just west of the South Ave. parking lot. Free. Clinics for high schoolers also begin at the same time. Call Ashby Kinch at 721-2227 and visit missoulacultural.org/sistercities/new_zealand_day.htm.

On Sun., May 23, get your hike on when Julie Kahl of the Rocky Mountaineers leads a hike near the Miller Creek Logging Roads. Free. The time to meet is TBA, so contact Julie at jawkal@hotmail.com to get the final word, and visit rockymountaineers.com for trip updates.

Ease your Monday blues with the sensual sights and smells of wildflowers on Mon., May 24, when the Clark Fork Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society meets for an evening walk with Annie Garde up Pattee Canyon at 6:30 PM. Free. Meet at the Pattee Canyon trailhead parking lot at 6:30 PM, or carpool by meeting at 6:10 PM at the northwest corner of the UM's Adams Center parking lot. Expect to be delighted as Garde points you in the direction of an abundant array of flowers like blue camas and arrowleaf balsamroot. Visit mtnativeplants.org.

Finally we conclude with an event tailored for kayak hounds and fitness freaks that I mentioned last week. It's the Deep Bay Kayak and Fitness Symposium, which runs Fri., May 28–Mon., May 31 at the Deep Bay Resort in Lakeside. If offers you the chance to enroll in sea kayak basics to advance skills courses, as well as a slew of fitness and yoga workshops. E-mail bobbie@glacierseakayak.com for pricing or call 862-9010.

Ready, set, pedal!

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