Mountain High 

Ladies and gents, it's time to secure your bike helmets and hit the trails for some serious huffing, puffing and pedaling on a mountain that's just over 8,000 feet in elevation. If that sounds like a challenge worth tackling with your trusty bike frame, head east on Sat., Aug. 14, to the Big Sky Resort in Big Sky for the 15th annual Lone Peak's Revenge, a two-day mountain bike race on Big Sky's Andesite Mountain that begins with a cross country race on a 6.7-mile loop for expert racers at 10 AM. Cross-country races for other race categories kick off at 10:10 and 10:20, with a kids race to follow. Then, on Sun., Aug. 15, you can ride with the wind during a downhill race on the Revenge DH Trail that begins at 11 AM. $30/$25 advance until 10 PM on Fri., Aug. 13, with same-day registration from 7:30–9 AM. Visit gascyclingteam.com to register and call 995-2313.

You could also take a cue from a Pink Floyd song and "Run Like Hell," but in the most enjoyable way possible, on Sat., Aug. 14, during the Bigfork River Run/Walk 5k, a benefit for Big Fork's high school and middle school cross country programs that begins at 8:30 AM at Bigfork High School, 600 Commerce St. in Bigfork. Once the race is on, you'll run or walk through some seriously spiffy scenery on the Bigfork River Trail and eventually wind your way back to the high school. $20, with race-day registration at 7:30 AM. Click to runmt.com/cal1.html to download a form, and call Jill at 212-6760.

Of course, if you'd rather run, swim and bike in the beauty of the Swan Valley, then head over to the YMCA Seeley Lake Challenge Triathlon/Duathlon on Sat., Aug. 14, which begins at 9 AM at the Riverpoint Campground, off Boy Scout Road in Seeley Lake. Here's the skinny: The triathlon features a 300–600 yard swim (depending on ability), a 3-mile run, and finishes off with a nice 10-mile bike ride, while the duathlon consists of a 3-mile run, a 10-mile bike ride, and then another 3-mile run. Get yourself registered early for $25, or slack off and show up at 7 AM on Saturday for day-of registration, which runs you $30. Visit runmt.com/cal1.html to download a registration form, and call 677-2309.

click to enlarge CHAD HARDER

Raise your glass for river restoration—but don't even think about drinking the river water—on Sun., Aug. 15, during The Friends of 2 Rivers Community at the Confluence nature festival, which runs from noon to 4 PM at the old Milltown Dam site, off Juniper Drive near Milltown. Free. The aqua-based soiree features speakers like Doug Martin and Jamie Jonkel giving the good word on river restoration and area wildlife, along with activities from groups including the Watershed Education Network. Live music is also on tap from slap guitar master Dan Dubuque, as well as the Blue Mountain Music Makers. Visit friendsof2rivers.org for specific directions, and call 258-6335 with questions.

Those of you yearning for another shot of nature-based revelry ought to then head west on I-90 on Sun., Aug. 15, so you can make it to The Ninemile Wildlife Workgroup's Community and Wildlife Appreciation Potluck, which begins at 3 PM at the Ninemile Community Center, 25620 Nine Mile Road. Free. Expect an awesome afternoon filled with homemade food, prize drawings and talks with reps from the U.S. Forest Service, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and others. Visit ninemilewildlife.org.

On Mon., Aug. 16, sign up to ski and save lives during the National Ski Patrol Outdoor Emergency Care Technician Course, which occurs on Monday and Thursday nights in early September through December. This is the first step you'll take in order to become a National Ski Patroller at Montana Snowbowl, so if carving powder and serving your fellow skiers is your winter calling, shoot an e-mail to snowbowlskipatrol@gmail.com to sign up. But do it before Aug. 19. $350, which includes instruction and materials.

Those of you near Stevensville can take aim at something educational on Mon., Aug. 16, when the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks presents a hunter education class that runs from 6 to 9 PM at the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge. Free. The class runs at the same time Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights until Aug. 30, with a field course planned for Aug. 28. Visit fwp.mt.gov to sign up or call 542-5500.

Believe me, this is going to be off the chain, for real: On Tue., Aug. 17, all bicycle enthusiasts ought to hightail it to Free Cycles, 732 S. First St. W., at 7 PM for the "Bikestravaganza: The Off the Chainring Tour," a night of urban bicycling/alternative transportation appreciation with Portland, Ore.'s Joe Biel and Elly Blue. The event features discussions on alternative transportation issues, plus screenings of short films by Biel, and a slideshow by Blue. $5 suggested donation. This also doubles as a fundraiser for Free Cycles, and local bike expert Bob Giordano plans to speak about alternative transportation initiatives here in Missoula. Visit bikestravaganza.wordpress.com.

I'll leave on a hiking and running note with a heads up about the 23rd annual Big Mountain Run, which begins at 9:15 AM on Sat., Aug. 21, at the Danny On Trail at the Whitefish Mountain Resort, just outside Whitefish. Here's what's in store: You'll ascend 2,200 vertical feet, in 3.8 miles, in order to reach the summit of that monstrous mountain. And, as a bonus, those of you with dogs can bring them along for the run, but they need to be leashed. $20 family/$10 per person/$5 children age 16 and under, with pre-registration due Aug. 19. Also, this is a benefit for the Glacier Nordic Ski Team, just so you know. Call Robin at 862-8121.

Now go push your chain to the limit.

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