It would be cool to ride my bike from the valley to a trailhead and then hike up.

It’s MLB Wildcard time, and it’s about to be Wildcard October for Montana Moves as well. We are privileged to hear so many great stories about how our plan members stay fit as we travel around Montana. So in the spirit of the Wildcard, we’re giving you some options for the October Moves Challenge.  But I’ll save the challenge details for tomorrow.  I first wanted to preface the Challenge of the Month roll-out by sharing two stories of original events I participated in this summer which would constitute a Wildcard!

The first was the 2nd Annual “Neal Andrews Mile High Invitational” or NAMHI for short. This event basically involves gaining a mile of elevation via self-powered means. I got the idea in 2013 while gazing at some of the larger peaks south of Bozeman and realizing that they were almost exactly a mile higher than I stood in the valley.

“It would be cool to ride my bike from the valley to a trailhead and then hike up.  I’d gain a mile of elevation with just my own power.”

I thought this would be a solo event, because I seldom expect my friends to participate in some of my crazier ideas. But as I talked about the concept, I found some of my friends actually sounded intrigued, and signed up for at least a portion of the “fun”.

In 2013, three of us biked up to Hyalite Canyon, and then, after eating a delicious breakfast on the banks of the reservoir, a few more joined in for a hike up Mt. Blackmore.  The breakfast was provided by my wife—it’s crucial to have a support team in place for epic wildcard events! A total of 5 people and 2 dogs summited that day.

This summer, we decided to rotate the venue over to the Absaroka Mountains. After a breakfast in Livingston, four riders dipped our back tires in the Yellowstone River and departed toward the Livingston Peak trailhead. A rough ascent over a gnarly gravel road lead us to the trailhead, where several more friends awaited for the hike up.  For the 2014 NAMHI, we had 8 hikers and 4 dogs. We’re growing.

The other Wildcard I participated in this summer was a triathlon created by one of my friends: Friends TRI for Pizza Pie.  I’ll save that story for next week…stay tuned.

When you read the Montana Moves Challenge of the Month tomorrow, you’re Wildcard idea doesn’t have to be as involved in gaining 5280 feet of elevation. It can be whatever you want! Did you notice that everything I’ve mentioned has been tied to food? I like food. Make your Wildcard challenging, make it something that interests you, make it fun, and if there’s a nice meal or drink shared with friends at the end of it, even better!

Arriving with an entourage is best.
Arriving with an entourage is best.
What a summer of wildflowers we had!
What a summer of wildflowers we had!
Nice hat Ethan!
Nice hat Ethan!
Even for a Wildcard event, you need a race bib.
Even for a Wildcard event, you need a race bib.
The view from the top is always worth the work it takes to get there!
The view from the top is always worth the work it takes to get there!
A day spent with friends is a day well spent.
A day spent with friends is a day well spent.

NA

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