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Mountain High

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I'm definitely not what you'd call a hardcore bicyclist. Sure, I like to jaunt through the Rattlesnake and Pattee Canyon here and there, but I have a newish model Schwinn seven-speed cruiser bike, so insane bouts of biking in the hills aren't really an option. Same goes for cyclocross, that rigorous form of riding that's a mix between mountain biking and road cycling. That's not to say I don't appreciate witnessing Herculean feats executed on two wheels, I certainly do.

In fact, I might join others—and perhaps get to watch some of you in action—during Saturday and Sunday's Montana Cyclocross Rolling Thunder Weekend race at Missoula's American Legion Field, off Spurgin and Tower roads. Make sure to pedal over to the course between 11 AM–1 PM so you can register and check-in for the event, which officially kicks off at 1:30 PM with a half-lap race for kids. Shortly after, junior boys and girls take on the road, followed by races for first timers and longer, more advanced races for experts starting at 3 PM and ending just after 8 PM. Check out montanacyclocross.blogspot.com for a link to an aerial photo of the winding course. Here's the price breakdown: $25 for adults on the day of the race/$20 pre-registered adults/$5 for juniors and first time racers/free for the kids' race. Click to rollingthunder.athlete360.com to register online and to the blog above to download a flier with more specific info.

That's just on Saturday. Sunday offers the "Greased Lightning" race, which starts with registration and check-in from 8:30–10 AM near Missoula's office of the Montana Department of Natural Resources, off Spurgin Road on 27th Street. Once you've committed yourself on paper, watch a junior boys and girls race at 10:30 AM, and jump in on men's and women's races starting at 11 AM. Prices are the same as above, but if you plan to race Saturday and Sunday it only costs $35 for adults and $10 for junior racers. For lingering questions, contact Shaun Radley at 544-5270 or by e-mail at montanacyclocross@gmail.com. Also note all proceeds are donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Missoula County.

Exhaustive pedaling might not be your thing, so if you'd rather fill up your stewardship skill box, skip the cyclocross race and head to Missoula's REI, 2230 N. Reserve St., for REI Missoula's Get Involved Day, which runs from 11 AM–4 PM and includes representatives from Glacier National Park and Montana Conservation Corps pushing info on how you can get involved with nature-based custodial duties. Treats are provided at this free outing, as is a chance to win a DVD copy of the Ken Burns series The National Parks: America's Best Idea. Call Ryan Newhouse at 829-0432.

After injecting your cranial device with tips on Earth worship, nab some plants for your garden and get some irrigation and mulching tips from those in the know during the Montana Natural History Center's (MNHC) Autumn Native Plant Sale and Open House, a free event which runs from noon–4 PM at the center, 120 Hickory St. Plants available include columbine, prairie smoke, fringed sage, June grass and more. Also, all sales benefit local plant restoration and education activities. Call 327-0405 or e-mail marilyn.marler@umontana.edu.

Once you've hoarded a few plants for your stash, stick around with your kid aged 5 and up for MNHC's Batty about Bats activity at 2 PM, where kids absorb deep knowledge about bats, view photos of the creepy creature and create their own bat masks just in time for Halloween. $2/free for MNHC members. An adult must accompany kids. Call 327-0405.

After overexposure to winged things, get some rest and then take a drive up to the Flathead on Sunday to meet with members of the North Shore Nordic Club as they celebrate the upcoming ski season with fermented suds at the Tamarack Brewery and Pub in Lakeside, 105 Blacktail Road Ste. #1, from 7–9 PM. Besides a no-host bar of brews, the event features music by Brett Holmquist, and drawings for Nordic ski packages, sporting goods and ski passes from Blacktail Mountain Resort. Free. Call Dave Hadden at 837-0788 or e-mail paddler@centurytel.net.

Once the microbrew hangover wears off, head back to work on Monday and then on Wed., Oct. 28, make sure you register by 7 PM for the upcoming 5K Turkey Trot, which takes place on Sat., Nov. 7, at the Kim Williams Trail at 11 AM. $12 person/$15 late registration. The race is open to all age groups and dressing up in costume, perhaps like a stuffed turkey, is encouraged. Call 243-2804 or vist life.umt.edu/CREC to register.

As Thursday rolls around, I've got two events for you to scope: the first is a free cake tasting/ cake auction fundraiser for the Ninemile Wildlife Workgroup at 6:30 PM at the Historic Ninemile Ranger Station, 20325 Remount Road in Huson. Tasting starts at 6:30 PM and the auction starts at 7:15 PM, with profits benefiting the workgroup, a nonprofit which aims to deter road kill by helping wildlife move securely through public and private lands, as well as transportation corridors. Call Surry Latham at 626-4304.

Later on, scoot back to Missoula and plop down in a seat at the University Theatre at 7 PM for a premier of Teton Gravity Research's Re:Session a high definition ski/snowboard film that promises to take you "into a revolutionary realm of action sports entertainment." Intrigued? Be ready to shell out $12 the day of the show or $10 if you pick up advance tickets at the Trail Head or by calling UM's Outdoor program at 243-5172.

As our meeting between ink and paper comes to a close, it's my hope that you find the time to shred it up—on two-wheels, or perhaps in your garden—sometime this week. Let me know how it goes.

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