Mother Nature continues to remind us that it isn’t quite spring in Montana, yet. But thankfully, we are getting little glimpses of what could be, every now and again.

With those little bursts of nice weather, you start to see the bicycles come out of hibernation. Families out for a walk with little ones on bikes, neighborhood kids out together for a ride, and then a few ‘hardcore’ riders, decked out and looking to get some miles in.

I have never been part of the mountain biking community (despite many friends who have tried). I have always loved being on two wheels, but when it is human-powered, I prefer road bikes. (I’m a sucker for speed).

I’m not sure I ever appreciated how big of a mountain biking ‘family’ we had in southwest Montana until the first Butte 100. When that first event was announced I just remember how exciting it was, people came out of the woodwork to race or to volunteer, it was amazing.

Getty Images
Getty Images

I’ve always known Butte is right in the middle of serious single-track trails, but I’m not sure I was aware of just how serious. A simple google search brought up a couple of insane resources for seasoned riders to absolute greenhorns.

The first was

This page is fantastic. It lists all the trials that can be found in your area, it color codes them, ala ski slopes, it gives you overall distance, elevation gain, and elevation loss. It also gives an opportunity to leave individual ratings on rides, and (what I found pretty cool) it has dated notes. The notes can be pretty helpful when you read that someone posts that the trail is washed out because of run-off, or trees down over the trail.

According to Trailforks there are 118 different mountain bike trails around Butte. Including the trail known as ‘8 miles of hell’. (For some reason, I read that as Dana Carvey’s Church Lady, “Well isn’t that special”).  8 miles of hell, is just under 12 miles in length, has 1754 feet of climb, and 2,597 feet of descent. It is also a section of the Butte 100 Mountain Bike Race.

To learn more about the Butte 100 please jump to their website HERE.

Again, Trailforks is a fantastic resource, but it doesn’t compare with locals. If you are thinking about dipping a toe into Mountain Biking stop into a bike shop and talk. Some of the nicest, most genuine people I have ever met live life on two wheels. Trust me, they love to talk about it.

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