Last year, Spartan Race was embraced by the infinite warmth and hospitality of Bigfork and Kalispel. The inaugural Spartan Sprint that year will forever be remembered by not just the mountains, trees and views that just wouldn’t quit, but also by the generosity and friendliness of the community that welcomed Spartan racers from across the country into its heart.
This is why Spartan Race is so excited to return to Flathead Lodge Road and do it all over again. Arguably the most scenic Sprint on the schedule, but by no means the easiest. Many argued that Montana belied its beauty and hid one of the hardest – and therefore “ugliest” – Sprints in 2013. Remember that the terrain is there to break you. It’s beautiful, but it’s still your enemy.
Never was the term “beware of Greeks bearing gifts” more apt. Study your history, folks.
So what to expect? Hills. Lots of hills. They never seem to end, but it’s balanced out beautifully with that fantastic, lush smell of the trees as they wave to the gentle zephyrs that dance through the branches. Weather-wise, you can expect highs of around the mid 60’s, while lows can give you a sharp slap with a cheeky 39 degrees. Pack accordingly, as it can be a bit of a lottery.
There are plenty of hotels to choose from, if accommodation is proving to be a headache for you. Bigfork boasts the likes of Timbers Motel, Swan River Inn, The Islander Inn and Marina Cay. Further up the road in Kalispel you have the likes of Best Western, Hilton Garden, Aero Inn and countless others. (do links). Some of these hotels may even welcome Spartan Racers with a slight discount, although you’d have to check with them to be sure.
But given that you’ve traveled all the way to Montana, why not savor one or two tastes of the cultural stew that simmers away there? The Bigfork Summer Playhouse is ranked number one in the list of local attractions and entertainments and as Spartan will often advise you, having a well-honed body is one thing, but expanding and feeding the mind is another .
If you’d rather walk off those tight calves and thighs, how about a nice, relaxing game of golf at Eagle Bend Gold Club. Bigfork Anglers put on a highly rated fishing tour, so if that’s your idea of fun, they’re definitely an option to check out.
All that running around and rolling through mud mixed with forest debris will make you hungry and as such, you’ll need to know where to eat. Well, you are absolutely spoilt for choice. A quick check on Tripadvisor.com lists over 40 places in Bigfork alone. Add that to the almost 140 in Kalispel and there are no excuses for somewhere to replace everything you burnt off, or, should you need to carb-up the day before.
Are the kids with you? Well how about you take them to Family Fun Center in Kalispel? With Lazer Tag, bowling, inflatables, and everything in between, you can watch the kids wear themselves out and give you a quiet night as they recover. The Bar W Ranch is the perfect place for the cowboy in all of us. With horseback riding, cattle drives and wagon rides on offer, it’s certainly worth checking out. Worth noting is that they also have lodging and are dog-friendly.
In terms of nightlife, The Rendezvous Lounge and the Garden Bar in Bigfork are both highly rated music / bar venues worth checking out. Kalispel also boasts a number of casinos if you feel that your luck is in. Why not try out a poker room or spin the roulette wheel?
A vast number of bars are also available, so there are no excuses for boredom when the race is over.
All in all, if you miss this gem of a race, don’t say we didn’t warn you. One of the most underrated races on the circuit is offering you its hand. It’s down to you to accept and Spartan on.