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Old 09-12-19, 05:56 PM
Dave Kirk 
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Bozeman MT
Posts: 201

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I'm finding it hard to slip back into "real life" after a few wonderful days at the Cino. The weekend started off with a Concours d'Elegance on Friday evening to show off some of the vintage bikes that would be used for the ride....and some that were pure show bikes that were brought just to show off. There were some stunning bikes to be sure and I was glad to see the work of Bruce Gordon represented in all its glory. I brought a Serotta that I built for the Coors Light Team back in 1990. It got a few sideways looks from the vintage purists but even those people smiled when the realized that the builder of this old bike was in the room.

The ride on Saturday was 57 miles (45ish were dirt/gravel) with plenty of vertical. Some of the surfaces were not in any way road bike friendly but if you rode those short sections carefully all was
fine. I used 32 mm tires but a friend used 23's and managed to not get any flats. Much of the ride was in wooded areas but after the seriously gourmet lunch by a stunning waterfall you cross over a ridge into a different drainage and the trees are gone replaced by low scrub brush and views one only sees in Montana. It was wonderful.

The Saturday ride descends to the little town of Hot Springs, MT (pop. 544). There was much story telling and tweaking of bikes and no small amount of beer being consumed. A fun way to wrap up the ride.

The dress-up dinner on Saturday was over the top. The food was to die for and the wines being passed around suited the scene and meal perfectly. Everyone looked so elegant... Handsome men and beautiful women in their fine clothing (some really cool vintage looks going on) set the tone. Very nice.

Sunday morning the word was that it could rain that afternoon so most wanted to get an early start and they got into breakfast first thing. Pancakes, bacon, organic coffee, melon, cereal....etc made it super easy to get fueled on on the best food you can imagine. One can no overstate how good all the food was.

The Sunday ride (47 miles) climbed slowly out of Hot Springs on a bit of pavement before the road turned to dirt.....a few miles of which were rutted and rough. This brings you to the lunch stop. It was a bit early for lunch for me but it was impossible to resist the cheesecake squares...I'm sure you understand. When leaving lunch you start the infamous "9 mile hill" and it's exactly what it says it is - a 9 mile long climb. I looked later and saw that you gain just under 2000' of vertical. It's the real deal. The surface was good and in the end this might have been my favorite part of that ride. I like to climb. At the top of the climb you come to a water stop where one could get water, beer or a martini. I was tempted by the beer but stuck with water but I enjoyed overhearing a conversation where two riders talked tricks on how to get a Campy Nuovo Record rear derailleur to wrap more chain...over the woods....on road northern Montana. An unlikely scene to be sure.

The Sunday ride wraps up with a long and flowing descent back into the tiny town of Kila Montana where a truck has your bags full of dress clothing and camping gear from the night before. There was a gathering at a local pub that I missed in an effort to get home before it got dark (5+ hour drive for me) and the mule deer and elk wandered onto the road.

The stories are endless but one that sticks out to me was the gentleman who took the train from northern California to Whitefish, MT where he got off and then road his bike from Whitefish to Kalispell and camped. He then did the two days of Cino rides and was going to reverse the trip to get home....and he had a prosthetic arm with a metal hook to hold the bars with on washboard gravel. Big respect.

I was honored to be asked to join the event this year and it won't be my last time there. If you want epic gravel rides, over the top food and cool people you should put this weekend on your list.

Dave Kirk is offline