Katie & Laura
Great Divide
Helena, MT - Island Park, ID Laura

What a GREAT week of riding!! We experienced a very wide variety of trails this week which made for some AWESOME times! Our ride took us from Helena to Basin to Butte to some continental divide crossings to Elkhorn Hot Springs to Bannack to Lima and finally to Island Park! LOADS of fun were had the entire week thanks to our riding pals Andy and Thomas who we met the week before at Barbara Nye's cabin.

Because this week was JAM PACKED I'll go with the highlight reel:
- Lots of technical climbing into Basin
- Seeing Katie CRUSH IT on the climbs and have so much fun with it! She has really progressed as a rider and her confidence has grown as well which is my favorite thing to see!!!
- Climbing the gnarly technical sections and actually being able to do it (except for a few) THANKS SRAM!! #1x11forthewin
- Losing my phone (again) and not realizing it and then having Andy surprise me with it a while later (I now fully zip my phone into my frame bag :) )
- Riding into Basin and being tripped out by the radon mines and the loads of Mennanites who frequent them
- Staying at Mary Widow Mine campground aka compound
- Meeting Kirk who is a believer of the mines healing properties and gave me change for a dollar so that I could take a 25ยข shower.
- Shakes and fries in Butte
- The PIT in Butte
- Crossing the divide twice in one day
- Camping at the top of the divide and seeing Katie's mom and grandma there!!
- Sunshine
- Cleaning the Fleecer Ridge climb (we climbed an extra half mile cause Thomas...) and bombing down the descent!!!!! BEST ADRENALINE RUSH!!! I need to give Niner, WTB, and SRAM a major shoutout because I'm pretty sure Rosie wasn't built to go through what I put her through fully loaded with my Blackburn gear...but she did it and it felt GREAT!
- Watching Andy try to find Wifi every time we arrived in a town or any type of civilization
- Celebrating my birthday at the Elkhorn Hot Springs during the day and at Bannack at night. Best bday so far!!!
- Meeting Paul Hansen and his dog Spook in Medicine Lodge Canyon
- Eating at Yesterday's Calf-a in Dell
- Ice cream in Lima
- Getting my new wolverine tires in Lima (thanks WTB!!!)
- Passing a lot of riders and then wanting to pass out
- Nice breezy headwinds that gave us more time on the bike and allowed for good personal reflection time. I got DEEP.
- Getting even more of a tan and then realizing that I had two random tan spots on my forehead from my helmet holes #embarrassing #lookslikeabruise
- Camping at Henry's Lake where they had showers!!!
- Sunday rest day!! Well almost rest...we road 10 miles into Island Park Sunday morning but it was a super chill 10 miles and proved to be a great start to an awesome day
- Attending church in Island Park and seeing our friend Kari there and ending up staying with her Aunt and Uncle!! Connie and Gene!!!! They are the sweetest couple and were SO KIND for taking us in for the evening!

This week has been one for the books!! We rode with Andy and Thomas until Saturday night when we pushed ahead to get closer to Island Park for Sunday but we'll most likely see them again. This upcoming week we will be figuring out how we are going to get to Jackson Hole because we have a rental car waiting for us there to take us to my friends wedding in Colorado. Then we'll drive back to Jackson, pick up our bikes and pedal onward!! Honestly CAN'T WAIT!!!!

Sponsor shout out for the week goes to Niner for making one BEAST of a bike! She rolls over everything and has been extremely comfortable this entire time. It's nice not having to worry about rocks in the road because she will simply roll over them without batting an eye. So glad to have Niner's support and it's been neat to have been asked so many questions about how we like them from other cyclists!!


-Celebrating Laura's birthday at Elkhorn hot springs
-Riding with new friends Andy Wrigley and Thomas Hash
-Ghost town in Bannock
-The pit in Butte
-Laughing so hard I can't pedal
-Crossing from Montana into Idaho
-Eating more candy bars in a week than ever before (this could be a con as well)

Low points
-Sun burns
-Saddle sores

This week I finally feel like I got into the groove of things. It was hard to adjust to everything, but I'm finally feeling comfortable and a lot more confident and am just loving the adventure we are having!

This week we rode from Helena to Island Park. We started off the week with wonderful views of mountains and trees and eventually got to open farm lands with no trees to be seen. Though I think I'm partial to the mountains it's always exciting to see new landscapes.

We made a birthday stop at Elk Horn Hot Springs where we swam and ate a donut for Laura's birthday, nothing else was available as we went on the only day the restaurant was closed.
Other exciting areas included the little town of Dell right outside Lima where we got a delicious meal at Yesterday's after an 80 miles of riding, and the RV park at Henry Lake where we got warm showers to end the week. The last big highlight was a stop in Island Park where we were able to randomly run into meet-up a friend from California who introduced us to her family and we spent the day eating and visiting. What a nice day of recharge.

Each new day brings its own challenges and surprises but you can sure laugh a lot along the way. Laura and I have talked a lot about how fun it is to have one another and other people to ride with as you have some to share each day with. No matter how many pictures you take there's no way to share the whole experience with someone else, so it's nice to at least have someone going through each moment with you. Here's a huge thanks to all those who have been a part of our adventure this far and have helped us so much along the way.


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Katie & Laura

Gear List

- My Ride -

- My Favorite Blackburn Gear -

- Complete Gear and Bike spec lists coming soon! -

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Katie & Laura
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? When Laura called me on the phone and said, "Hey I found this Ranger program while I was on the train today and I thought that you'd be a good PIC (partner in crime)."
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? Yes -- a couple of smaller bike packing trips
  • What is your goal for the route? Our goal is to morph all of our random outdoor skills into a successful ride of the Great Divide!
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? I see this as a soul-searching adventure for 2 months. I want to be able to get away from my normal 6am-3pm job and be on an adventure that separates me from life's distractions. I want to share my experiences with various biking communities along the route and hope to learn from them as well.

- Great Divide Milestones -