After last weeks GetLost adventure, I was inspired to hit the same loop, solo. There is just something about this loop that is so different from every other place I've ridden. I like to be OUT THERE. And being OUT THERE, on this particular loop, makes me feel like I'm WAAAAYYYYY out somewhere ... even tho I'm really not so much. It feels like it. It feels like a REAL adventure ... especially when I don't have our usual Tour Guide, Steevie, or any of the other boys. I wanted to find my own way, find my own pace, and get it done in my own style.
Somewhere along the lines, a force of nature inspired me to email a not-yet-met-friend. The universe moved me to contact another adventurous spirit, and I sent a random email inquiring as to the interest and availability of one GooneyRyder.
To my surprise, not only was she available, but she was interested, too! Well then, I thought... we have ourselves a crew!
So, Sunday morning, we met, chatted, saddled up, and headed out into the wilderness for a day long adventure. LUCKY little us ;-)
The universe smiled upon us in so many ways. For starters, we didn't have to start in mist, rain or other weather. We were lucky to start the day in pristine sunlight and fresh morning air.
MyssGooney rolling and waking up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!!!
The trails were in FINE shape! And we rolled the first 10 or 12 miles or so of absolutely fresh, lovely, lively, tacky single track.
Our view... our ALL DAY view!
I definitely won't lie. I was a bit worried that my choice in adventuring loop might not strike MyssGoney's fancy ... but some how I got the sense that she was having a BLAST!
Note the smile on her face? That was there quite often. PHEW!!!
I do believe that we both showed up pretty worked. I was tired from my last couple weeks of riding and playing... and I know MyssGooney had killed it at the Growler the previous weekend, and seemed to have failed to rest much during the week. AND, I know she went out and rode for a solid 7 hours the day before our ride. Thank god!!!!
So, even at our nice casual pace, I was FLOORED to find that we hit the summit before the long meadow descent in 1 hour and 50 minutes. I told MyssGooney: "HA! we're an hour and 10 minutes ahead of schedule".
Giggle giggle giggle!!!
MyssGooney rolling through heaven! I'm fairly certain she's smiling in this picture. ;-)
We hit the bottom of the valley, and rolled the vertigo bridge to cross the river. (Nice job!!). We climbed our little butts off (some more) to get to the top of the forest road, and sat and ate a bite to eat.
Meanwhile, weather was unavoidably rolling in....
I showed MyssGooney the ghosty-connector trails to get us a few valleys over, and we ascended (more) through the place where I found the elk antler last week. It is so much like one long whisper in that valley. I love it there.
We climbed our butts off, and hit the NS single track. The thunder was rolling heavy and deep, and we eventually found ourselves riding through a rather thorough hail storm!
We continued climbing and summited the NS trail in 4 hours flat. I was jumping around all giddy-like!!! I could NOT settle down!
I was shocked and pleased and giddy ... and a wee-bit cold! MyssGooney showing me the spread of her excited wings!!!
We threw on our warmies and descended my FAVORITE single track descent anywhere... on a slippery blanket of hail!!!
Unfortunately, I did go down rather suddenly, and rather hard, and put a solid dent in the Pony:
We made it to the bottom entirely way too fast. Our feets were frozen, so we basked in the sun for a while, ate some food, and giggled quite a bit.
. MyssGooney soaking it all in
I do not know how to describe "The Way Out" from here. I tried to do it in last weeks post, but I really feel like I failed. How do you say: "We have 20+ miles of climbing to get home (after having ridden 30 miles already), and this is not your usual 20+ miles of climbing?" I just don't have the words for it ... maybe because I don't understand exactly what happens between miles 28 and 37 ish... which leads to the 12 miles of single track ascending to the real top. All I know how to say is: "Steep rollers, the land of the lost, hold onto your hats, and please ... please ... do NOT forget to eat."
I can say this: we didn't get LOST!!! HA!!! I did make one wrong turn -- and was fairly certain of my wrong turn rather immediately. Thanks to ED, my darling, who stuck the GPS in my pack with the "correct route" loaded into it. I took it out for verification, and sure enough, we made one itsy mistake, and were back on course in under 5 minutes ;-) I will admit that it was my goal to not have to look at the GPS even ONCE. But once I looked at it that first time, I checked it a few more times just to make sure my delirious head was right on track! And sure enough, I made all the right choices from there on out ;-)
We made all the right moves, and found our ghosty connector to close miles 36 and 37. Along the way, we encountered 4 horses ... who RAN up to us, and wanted some rather immediate and focused attention. I was scared! But they were SO beautiful! After petting the horses for a bit... and cautiously starting to roll away, we looked behind us only to see all 4 of the horses running after us!!!!!
We found our way to the last connector spot quite happy and relieved!
I think she likes to spread her happy wings!!
For comparison, this pic was take last week in the same spot:
I think the boiis were quiet.
From here, it's the PERFECT single track ascent to the top. This is where the 'almost there wings' show up ... and we made it to the top a LOT quicker than I had expected. I kind of think that MyssGooneys conversation the whole way up helped me out a ton!!! I love listening to this woman talk ... when we're climbing!!
Almost to the tippy top!
We were blessed to have been spared the fury of the other storms that were brewing and blowing and thundering all around us. How we got out of any one of those is beyond me....
We summited the tippy top and railed the short and suuuper sweet descent back to the car. What took the team 9.5 hours last weekend took MyssGooney and I 7 hrs and 9 minutes yesterday ;-)
That made me really happy!!
And, as a parting shot ... this one is for MrGooney:
Thanks for letting me borrow your partner in crime for a day ;-) Does this set of mtns look familiar?
On another note: CAL, I predict that you can get this loop done in 5 hrs and 30 minutes... GO.
And yes, MyssGooney and I will likely be back out there shooting for a 6:30 lap.