The sound of the pavement under my tires. I love that sound. Living in the city, I hadn’t thought about that sound much, or often…we hardly ever get to hear it. But there we were, in Montana, hearing the sound of the pavement under our tires. The road…expanse and open. The sky, big. Rarely a vehicle passing. Every road seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but every road leading to a fabulous meadow, or field, or wooded campsite that would be our home for the evening. Our tents were ready, we only had to shower and relax…..if we wanted to. We could go for an afternoon hike, or swim, or river soak, or hit the hot springs….every day provided another opportunity to see more, do more, ride more.
The Cycling House Tour of Montana is not just about the cycling though….I mean, that’s what you go for, but you surprisingly get so much more-
- FOOD– Really, honestly, completely amazing, gorgeous food. Most of it locally sourced, every meal different, every meal better than the other, and you wonder how Hannah and Chloe pull this off…all while being some of the best humans you have ever met in your life. Cheerful and attentive, these two remember food preferences, allergies and concerns and you’ll never go without. Both of these girls can also pull the peloton faster than your average cyclist. What a luxury it was to arrive in camp daily to snacks and cold drinks…followed by cocktail hour of gorgeous appetizers (caprese anyone?) and then the main event…things like wild caught grilled salmon, flank steak, lamb burgers….we did not go hungry.
- GUIDES- Guides sprinted and drifted back and forth between the splintered groups, providing assistance, acting as tour guides, giving a wheel for pulls back to the group. We figured out early on to be last to roll out of camp in the morning in order to get the what amounted to be personal guide service- all of the guides different and interesting (math teachers, law students, master woodworkers), all with a true passion for the bike (be it road, dirt or gravel) and the great outdoors. These were some of the finest humans we have ever met and when I die and go to heaven, I want them on my team.
- ROAD SUPPORT– We flatted. We broke derailleurs. We lost headset bearings. But we didn’t worry about any of this. The team of mechanics are masters of their craft and we weren’t held back by failing equipment.
- CAMPING– We never tired of tent camping (I’ve also never said this in my life). Every night was picturesque and every morning equally so. They don’t call Montana “Big Sky” for nothing….and you can’t even comprehend the moniker until you experience it yourself. Surprising was how the Cycling House manages to find these spots…complete with shower, laundry, maybe cell service, sometimes karaoke…tucked away in towns with names like “Wisdom”.
- OWEN GUE– Owner extraordinaire and former pro racer, Owen is the personality that creates the culture of the Cycling House. Owen has the unique ability to pull together the group of guests with extremely different backgrounds to operate as a community. Aside from the bike, he manages to find and engage the commonalities within the diverse group…the oil tycoon from Texas, the ironman triathlete from Germany, the concrete contractor from Florida…the list goes on. By day two we’re all having the time of our lives together- committed and focused on having the BEST VACATION. EVER.