Christian Ayoob
Powell, ID - Dillon, MT Journal:
On the first day of this week, I was said goodbye to my new friends I met in the Bitterroot Wilderness and headed uphill for a 70-mile day. I was following the Salmon River on scenic Highway 12 on the way up to Lolo Pass. After summiting the peak, I gave out a shout and a pat on the back and cruised downhill to Lolo Hotsprings where I spent the night.

It rained all night on my Big Agnes tent but, was I completely dry. I put away everything wet because I was heading about 50 miles into Missoula, MT. I biked toured last year, and got the opportunity to go there... it was my favorite city. I rolled through Lolo and into Missoula straight to the post office. I was staying with my cousin Nathan and his family who works for the Adventure Cycling Association. I had a wonderful afternoon and a relaxing zero-mile day the following day. I left Missoula with a friend I had met at the post office named Christopher. We rode all day up the Bitterroot Valley on 50 miles of paved bike path. We headed into Hamilton, MT, and stayed at a very nice campsite before a large climb the next day.

Day five consisted of frustrating rain and a scary situation while riding down a pass. I ran over a stick, and it punctured the face of my tire then broke off inside my rim. I was moving about 15 miles per hour and lost control into the ditch. I surprisingly did not fall and my bike was fine except my tire. I set up shop on the side of the road and switched tires (the cut tire was put in the front). I then crossed my fingers I could make it to Dillon.

That night, I hit Sula and planned to head 13 miles up Chief Joseh Pass which, sits at about 7,200ft. I was warned in Sula, MT about an afternoon storm I would be climbing into. Being motivated, I began up the pass about 4 miles per hour until the lightning and rain pushed me into a small hot springs campground. I was stormed on all night, but had a nice cool morning the following day. I traveled up and over Chief Joseph Pass and headed down to Jackson, MT with a population of more dogs than people. Stayed in the yard of the local hotel with another cyclist. Easy 55 miles into Dillon to grab a package and onward to Yellowstone! Cheers!

I have met more people this week alone then I have the whole trip thus far. I am rolling through many different trail crossings and the weather is right for cyclist all around. I first met Skylar and his wife Hillary at the campsite in the Bitterroot Wilderness. Their family and friends have been meeting at the same place for the same weekend for over 20 years for whitewater rafting and camping. I happened to roll up on that weekend.

When I entered Missoula, MT I went to the post office to grab a package. I was approached by another cyclist named Christopher who was asking about the trail. I then learned he was about to tour the Great Divide from Montana to Banff, CA. The rest of that day he showed me around to all the breweries in the area. We met up with his girlfriend Lilly and biked around town the rest of the night. Christopher also rode 50 miles out of Missoula and back just to keep me company a while.

I was pushed into a small hot springs campground in a thunderstorm which was very frustrating. I had to cut miles off that day. I paid too much for what I got, but I went to the inside to try and get satellite wifi and met a couple from Holland who was touring from Miami, FL to Anchorage, AK. They were both successful authors, and this trip was to discover and look into the American stereotypes many foreigners hear about. They are collectively writing a book and are having it published together.

After saying goodbye to this couple I met a girl named Erin close to Jackson riding her bike at a very good pace. She was training for a 130-mile race and was doing big days around where she lived. I met her at the hot springs and ended up having dinner and beer with her and her boyfriend, Matt.

This journal entry would be too long if I dove into everyone I met along the way. I also briefly met many TransAmerica Racers tackling this same trail in 20-30 days. They are a different kind of animal.

The start of the week was spent climbing Lolo Pass out of the Bitterroot Wilderness. It was a beautiful green and a dense wooded area with water at every turn. After the pass, It was more of an open valley into and out of Missoula. It was open fields along the bike path to Hamilton and became more wooded until about Sula, MT. Sula was the start of Chief Joseph Pass which turned out to be very steep with a small shoulder. The route climbed up to 7,000ft elevation and stayed at a general plateau. The terrain turned into the rocky, dry ride through fields overgrown with sagebrush. This ride through the valley into Dillon was the first big look at the Rocky Mountains from the valley. Next week is going to be lots of fun!

This week my gear was tested with water again. I was rained on at night and everything seemed to do well. I did have a chance to clean and lube everything in Missoula, MT. A screw came off of the cleat in my Giro shoes and a t25 screw was lost out of my disc rotor (both my fault). Since I climbed into a bit of elevation, I am seeing lower temperatures and higher winds and the tent and sleep system is keeping me extremely comfortable. Tires are getting replaced because of giant sticks but all in all, everything is holding up great.


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Christian Ayoob

Gear List

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- My Favorite Blackburn Gear -

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Christian Ayoob
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? The feeling of adventure and seeing new places. On a bike, time seems to move much slower and I would love to feel that again.
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? I have completed the Great Divide Mountain Bike route from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico.
  • What is your goal for the route? My goal is to diverge from the route off the beaten trail and go find adventure! I would like to be able to gather stories about my adventure in order to motivate others to get out there!
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? By the end of this journey, I hope to have collected stories, meet as many people as possible, and all around have fun. Along with doing this, I would love to have a very detailed journal and blog for others to follow and get inspired.

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