A cycling race of approximately 88 miles up and over the Gravelly Range
Okay, we’re going to try something totally new. Therefore, the logistics involved is going to be a work in progress. If you’re the type of cyclists that needs a more defined and detailed agenda, this might not yet be the race for you. We’re limiting this race to just 50 cyclists because it’s an inaugural event and who knows what will happen. If you want to join the fun and break some new ground with us, please do. Someone has to go first and you will be more than welcome to be part of the group.
The basic logistic picture is as follows:
The race begins in Ennis at Lion’s Club Park. It ends in the Ruby Valley as the Vigilante Station which is a US Forest Service site. The route is essentially up and over the Gravelly Range on the Gravelly Range Road. The proposed route for the Tour de Gravelly will wind its way up to the Gravelly Range, cycle along on top, and slowly meander its way down Cottonwood Road and into the Ruby Valley. It will be approximately 88 miles (we think!).
The rough description of the route is as follows:
•Cyclists start at Lion’s Club Park and head out of town towards Virginia City on Montana Highway 287.
•Just two miles outside of Ennis, they turn left onto Varney Bridge Road which parallels the Madison River as it heads south.
•After about 12 miles, there is an intersection. If you go straight, you get to Varney Bridge and eventually Highway 287. If you turn right (which is what you will do), you head towards the intersection for the Ennis Fish Hatchery and the Bar 7 Ranch. Up to this point, the road is paved. Shortly after this point, it is gravel.
•Cyclists will keep to the left (do not go to Ennis Fish Hatchery) and eventually end up on the Call Road, which is gravel, and goes through the Bar 7 Ranch.
•The next destination is the Gravelly Range Road which enters the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest. There’s a few intersections, but none are too confusing. You just need to remember that it’s all uphill. You will eventually veer right and begin a very long climb up the Gravelly Range to get to the top. You’ll see the incline of the road from a good distance away.
•The distance from the Ennis Fish Hatchery/Bar 7 intersection to the cattle guard for entering the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest is about 25 miles. It’s all uphill.
•Upon entering the National Forest, cyclists stay on Road 290 (Gravelly Range Road) all the way through. Clover Meadows is about 14 miles from the gate. Monument Ridge is another eight or nine. The turn-off to Cottonwood Road is about 11 miles past Clover Meadows. You’ll pass all these landmarks.
•For anyone who has run the Madison Marathon, this is the same route. The highest point on the race will be Monument Ridge at 9,587 feet. Since the starting line at Lion’s Club Park is around 4,940, you’re looking at almost a 4,650 feet vertical climb.
•At an intersection on Road 290 as you’re heading south, the road goes into three directions. To the left, it goes down Standard Creek Road. To the middle, it goes towards Black Butte Mountain (and the starting line of the Madison Marathon). To the right (which is the proposed route), the road is Cottonwood Road. This leads into the Ruby Valley.
•Cyclists stay on Cottonwood road all the way down to another road (Ruby Valley Road or FS Road 100) . This road eventually begins to head north towards Ruby Reservoir and eventually the town of Alder.
•The finish line will be at the Vigilante Guard Station.
As far as getting people and bikes back to Ennis, we don’t yet have a plan but we’ll work on one. For now, please build a contingency of your own with friends, family, etc… to get back to your vehicle in Ennis.