Jamie and I woke up and ate breakfast at a leisurely pace and then read for a while until John and Roger were ready to roll. There was a lot of mining activity along the route today, both old and new.
Jamie's tire was cut up by something on the road. I suspect a piece of metal rather than a rock, since we were traveling slowly uphill.
I pushed 3x today. Two of those were not solely grade-related, but also due to the additional presence of larger rocks, loose gravel or old gullies made by water running down the road.
We missed the turn for Priests Pass and went considerably out of our way, joining route 12 into Helena near the beginning of McDonald Pass. This led to a long, long shadeless and hot ascent on ashphalt at about 5.4 MPH. I would have preferred the mapped route, but the silver lining was a 7 mile downhill at 8% grade in places on which I achieved 50 MPH. Speed vs the thrill of a gravel descent... really, the gravel is actually fun, but so is 50 MPH.
Jamie only reached 48. She laughed and said she didn't want to do 50 because her tire kept losing air and a crash at 48 is far less dangerous than a crash at 50.
Coming into Helena, we stopped at a mini mart and found Roger and John. The Budget Inn and showers were the next stop and then the bike shop. They looked it over, but will keep it overnight and ride it in the morning to see if the take-up pulleys need cleaning or adjustment.
Next was the outfitter store Base Camp. A very nice, high-end gear store, we checked there for many items, all of which they had, though maybe not the exact make or model we wanted. I wanted a collapsable cup, but decided on an alluminum pint cup instead. Weighing in at only 1 ounce more, it will fit well into my handlebar bag and help me organize small stuff that keeps falling to the bottom.
For dinner we went to Karmadillas for Mexican food, the Blackfoot Brewery (they can't sell food), then to the Big Dipper for ice cream.