Biking Photos (14K)
Click Here For A Current Listing of Routes
Challenging Conditions

When faced with stiff headwinds, an arduous climb over a mountain pass, or other challenges of terrain or weather, put both the bicycle and your mind into a lower gear and keep going. Acknowledge that the prevailing condition is going to slow your pace. Then, continue to spin the cranks in a lower gear, and let the bicycle do the work.

A moderate yet steady pace will conquer uphill stretches. Too slow a pace may give you a sense of self-defeat; too fast a pace will deplete your energy. Use the time and the frequent rest breaks to view the scenery or take photos. When you do stop on an uphill stretch, leave the roadway first. Always be ready to yield to traffic that has backed up behind you. Some hills will require walking -- no cyclist should ever ashamed to get off the bike and stroll for a while. It’s a great chance to stretch some of the leg muscles not directly used for cycling.

Mountain descents and other long down hills are the cyclist's reward for the long hours of uphill riding. Unfortunately, many cyclists are so struck with the euphoria of having conquered a hill that they immediately treat themselves to a flat-out zip down a steep, unfamiliar road.

Approach a long descent with a mixture of joy and caution. Before starting down, check brakes, cables, hub quick releases, tires, and handlebar stems. A malfunction of any one of these components could result in a serious accident.

If it is chilly, you may want to add a layer of clothing. Reduced exertion means less body heat being produced. Keep your legs moving even when coasting downhill; otherwise, you'll have stiff leg muscles in the knee joints when you resume pedaling, especially if the conditions are cold and damp. Again, get well over on the side of the road or trail if you decide to stop.

Gravel roads require slow, steady riding. On thick patches of gravel, a slightly increased cadence in a lower gear will give you better stability. Keep your hands well apart on the handlebars, and your eyes trained on the road surface ahead. Steer straight through patches of gravel, and avoid quick steering inputs. Be extra alert on hills with a loose gravel surface – get off and walk if necessary.

High winds can bring some of the most frustrating experiences to be found in road cycling. Use your head before you use your leg muscles. Remember to drop to a lower gear, just spin the cranks, and let the bicycle do the work. Use the drop section of the handlebars to keep your profile low, with less wind resistance. You can't fight a headwind with anger or a foul mood.

Return To Montana Cycling Routes Index