By Jess Cerra
Jess Cerra is a professional gravel adventurer and racer for Canyon Bikes and Eliel Cycling, as well as an accomplished former professional road cyclist and XTERRA veteran. When she’s not crushing long rides, she’s running JoJé, the San Diego-based energy bar company she founded in 2010, while also offering private, nutrition-conscious in-home chef services and event catering. In her spare time… who are we kidding? This motivated and accomplished rouleur is far too busy to have spare time! We officially welcomed Jess to our Eliel family for 2020 and today she joins us to share the story of adventuring through Montana on bikes with her sister.

If Glacier National Park is on your bucket list, then these photos will surely move it up on the list. Known as ‘The Last Best Place,’ northwest Montana in particular does not disappoint when it comes to roads, groads, trails, vistas, glacial waterfalls and wildflowers. You don’t even need luck to see mountain goats, bighorn sheep and marmots roaming the roads of the national parks. On the other hand, you will be lucky if you don’t run into a mama grizzly or moose. With that said, pack your bear spray and your best Eliel garb and cross Montana off your darn bucket list!

Three years ago, my little sister, Mel, got her first slick-tire road bike. I took her to Glacier National Park to ride the main section of the Going-to-the-Road ascent, which covers 3,000 feet of gain in 8-miles. She was slightly terrified, slightly overjoyed and massively spent at the end. Over the past three years, Mel has been riding more and more, gaining fitness, becoming less terrified and more overjoyed.

Each summer, we are fortunate enough to spend about 10 days together. It’s always a time where I get overly ambitious with my little sister. So much so, this special time together has now been affectionately deemed ‘Sissy Boot Camp.’

Known as ‘The Last Best Place,’ northwest Montana in particular does not disappoint when it comes to roads, groads, trails, vistas, glacial waterfalls and wildflowers.

This summer was next level and our trek through Glacier National Park was no exception. The plan was to cover the 16-mile section from Avalanche Creek all the way to the top of the Continental Divide or Logan Pass. The kicker was we also had to ride back for a total of 32-miles!

To celebrate what I knew would be an accomplishment (Mel wouldn’t have signed off on this pre-ride), I presented Mel with her very own Eliel kit! This is significant because she has been putting up with my hand-me-downs for years and didn’t know how glorious a new chamois would feel let alone a best of the best one from Eliel. Since it was ‘Sissy Boot Camp’, I figured we might as well be #twinning for the occasion, so off we went in our matching Soledad bibs and jerseys.

I don’t know what is more satisfying – watching my sister crush that climb and actually have enough energy to enjoy the views this time or hearing her squeal in joy over how great it was to ride in a super comfortable bib short. This is the moment when it’s easy to realize your gear really can help your climbing ability and fitness, and I must have smiled for three hours straight watching Mel crush this big goal.

Hopefully when you come to Montana, climb to the sun, and cross Glacier National Park off your list, so you too are able to share it with someone special. In my humble opinion, that is how Montana is truly meant to be enjoyed.