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.
(LATE EDIT: Ed posted pix here).
The Beginning -- heading out through the Enchanted Forest
Total, we ended up with 50 miles, about 6700' vert, and a solid 9.5 hours out in the wild-wild-west.
The day started at 43 degrees, with heavy promises of real wet weather. Always a daunting way to start the day ... in drizzle. It rained on and off throughout the day. It was sunny at random, well timed parts of the day, and it was spectacular all the way around.
Trails were in prime shape!
Today I had the distinct pleasure of riding with the following crew:
Steevie, Ed, Mateo, Jeff, Chad and Cal -- just after finding the RIGHT way to where we wanted to go. Sort of. (I know Ed will post pix, Steevie has posted pix, and I hope that Cal posts pix, too.)
Notice they're all on their trusty SingleSpeedSteeds? All I can say is thank goodness I had a full range of gears!! ;-)
I don't have much of a story for the full ride. It's just awesome. We get to some places that feel really remote, and I think aren't very populated. We didn't see any other riders, and only one other hiker while way out there. We saw a number of moto and 4x guys... and that was about it.
The boys kept me on my toes all day long. I didn't really have the will to pull out the camera too often ... for pix or for videos. So, for the full slide show, click here:
The "way home" of our GetLost ride includes these far-away dirt roads that are nothing but an endless set of steep down hills, followed immediately by steep-steep slap-in-the-face uphills. That these "steep rollers" happen at the END of the ride is somewhat disappointing, especially considering that even after we finish them, we still have a massive amount of single track climbing to get back up to the cars...like a solid 12 miles of it ;0)
The crew finding their way up one of the countless rollers.
Getting out never fails to include a bit of this:
Steevie, trying to figure out exactly where he led us all in a wrong turn.
And sometimes, the 'road' is easy to miss.
Personally, I can't stand it when there are more than 2 minds trying to figure the right way out. So usually I just go looking. Luckily for me, I have a good sense of direction. Ask Ed. He knows.
Luckily for me, I expected this to happen and was not disappointed when it did finally happen. I was prepared! And I just kept eating and eating and pedaling and pedaling....
I must admit tho... I started the day feeling wasted tired, and it never changed. I was hoping that somewhere along the trail the body would figure it out and just wake up and be energetic and strong... but that never happened.
Jeny taking a break after FINDING THE KEY HOLE to get outta that insane back-roads world ;-) Yes, I'm lying smack in the middle of an ancient 2x or singletrack.... See how invisible it is!
For Steevies Pix, go here.
I will also say this: I don't think I've ever completed such a big day feeling so rotten!
NOTE to self: Session Rides are NOT Rest Rides. Silly Jeny.
A little humor.... Like I could actually carry that thing out of there...LOL! Ed and I are accumulating quite the collection of elk antler sheds! Yes, this one will be added to the collection.
One of my favorite of Ed's pix of the day:
But! We did find our way to the long single track that led back up to the cars. And, as usual, everyone in the group ends up at their own pace (now that everyone knows where the heck they're going), and we all get spread out a bit. The long climb home, (after all the long climbs getting out there and getting us back to the final single track) is always daunting in my mind. But, once on it, I always seem to find a relative pair of wings. I am going to call this my "I'm almost there" set of wings.
View from part of the final stretch home
I do think it was a wildly successful day. We got Chad out on his "hardest ride ever", and we got to ride with Jeff once again (it's been a couple of years, no?) We also were lucky to show Cal, Chad and Jeff a nice new set of trails!!! Not that I think they'd be willing to put themselves out there to try and find their way home again any time soon.
It was a fantastic day, with truly wonderful people. I'm lucky I got to tag along!
Our ponies at rest, absolutely nowhere near home:
By Friday afternoon this week, my brain had been sucked out of my head and I was feeling like a broken record ... psychologically, intellectually (as intellectual as I can pretend to be, anyway), and emotionally. Just wasted, worked and not feeling particularly physically present (or well for that matter).
Friday night is reserved for Date Ride Night! So, I took myself on a date ride over in the Bergen Peak area. Apparently, I felt pretty wasted physically, too.... Good thing I brought the camera along!
Meadow View was beautiful, and I leap-frogged with another (random) rider for a short bit. It was apparent that he was heading up Bergen Peak loop, and so, for the sake of everyone's solo friday night sojourns, I opted to keep going straight and see if the legs opened up along the trail through the trees at the base of the mountain.
My HummingBird Pony at rest on a seldom visited ridge line
They didn't. But somehow, someone turned the wheels up the TooLong trail. Ugh. I did NOT want to ride this trail. I swear it. But, I did not want to turn around, and I did not want to go back inside yet.... So, up we go. Oddly, I cleared all the first obstacles without even trying (the obstacles from the last 'Fog' video I did). Surprise-surprise! Then, at one switch back, I decided to follow a faint trail off into the woods... in search of, perhaps, a place to NAP. No, I'm not kidding.
Ah, quiet and invisible ... and soooo beautiful!
I played-hiked-rode-and explored around for about 45-minutes, and found myself in old, old familiar areas (used to play here as a child). No paths really still exist... but it was fun to be kind of exploring.
Sneaking through the woods, old trail would appear for a while, then disappear like magic
At the landing spot... the furthest point out
I found my way back to the TooLong trail, oddly not much higher up than when I had jumped off it. I had this really, really deep longing to just STAY OUTSIDE. I couldn't pedal to save my life, but I did NOT want to go back inside. So I thought: ah-well, there are 2 sections up ahead that I've not cleared yet. I'll ride easy in granny and just go session those two sections.
Luckily I had my camera ;-) So I took some Session Vids!!! THEY ARE BORING!!!! They are repetitive, and not particularly interesting. But you know, it was fun to do ;-) The vid is posted near the bottom of this post.
- The first section was simply something I've not really even bothered trying before. Not sure why. It's much more narrow than it looks, and the step up looks big, but apparently rolls really easily. Oddly, I nailed it on the first try. I actually laughed out loud after clearing it.
- The second section is this odd, triple-root step, right next to a tree. Steeper than it looks. I've never bothered trying this one uphill either... mostly because I never thought I could do it. Now, it's been done!
- The third section I've cleared once before. Ed snapped the pic posted below, and now I have it captured on vid from a different perspective. I have to say, it's much different doing this one without a spotter ;-) Fun stuff indeed. Ed's pic from the first time:
- The fourth section I've cleared once before, and Ed got a series of pix of that one too... but I'm not sure he's published those. In the vid, I ended up leaving before TRULY clearing it. The last attempt this day I had to dab just as my rear wheel cleared the final stupid water bar. VERY frustrating. But oh-well.
THE VID (I promise you it is very, very repetitive... and might not be interesting except to a few people):
At SOME point, this entire mountain will be done in ONE fluid, fast, beautiful motion. And that will be a beautiful day for me ;-) .... In both directions, of course... because we all know that the other way up this mountain is a series of a different kind of challenges. A fun one, I might add ;-)
By the time I was done with the top section (the last one in the vid), it was much later than I had expected to be out. So I bombed down Bergen trail completely and utterly in the zone, and flying along all well adjusted and zennnnnnned out.
Then I had a flat.
Then I got home.
And then I went out to a super sweet dinner with my super sweet SWEETIE! Made the afternoon and evening just deeeevine!
That was my Friday night date night!
ps: i'm working on getting a helmet cam -- so i can show both the outer perspective, as well as the rider perspective. could be fun ;-)
(the batts in the real camera were dead... and the phone takes marginal pix... and absolutely no video... booo....)
... a little buff creek action with a lazy bunch of boys. 30 miles in a relatively untraveled direction and we found ourselves up against a Wall.
Much fun was had getting to said wall. Those boys really know how to ride over really large and really downed trees. Gah!
... found M and Aj and I scootin' around Apex. Michelle is absolutely MASTERING the perspective game with her camera... holy crayola! Go see M's site ... she's put up excellent pix, from that fancy new camera!
Alrighty then. Everyone: get out and get summa that SUNSHINE!
Thought I'd make a whole day of it and spend as much time outside and on single track as possible.
Started at 8am with JasonB. We had a pristine and heavenly climb up Bergen, gliding through the morning light that blessed a bright and fresh day.
Jason, winding his way up the morning mountain
We took our time and let the light seep into our spirits.
We made it up to the junction of Bergen Peak trail and Too Long trail, and I busted out the thermos and poured the hot coffee (thanks for making the coffee honey)! I raised my cup and toasted to Anthony (in true Ride and Imbibe style).
At the high point of the day. Pony. Trail. Peace. (And Coffee).
After a nice long chat, Jason and I bombed back down Bergen Peak Trail, cruised the paver-connector, and whisked through Didesse...
This is a view of where we would ride to after finishing Bergen
By 1030 we were climbing our way over to Three Sisters. Along the way, we caught up with a few other fun souls who were riding over to the event at the top of Three Sisters.
A view of Evans from Bergen
Once at the top, rolling fast and high, we flew through the bright green fields ... under the bright blue sky, and towards the massive white Evans peak in the background. We rolled right up to the Yeti truck ... as we all always have.
It was just after 11am, and the crowd had formed ... and we set off to climb Evergreen Mountain. The crew took off in fits and starts, and I would wager that everyone made it up that mountain faster and with more energy than ever before.
Moi, courtesy of Ed, climbing up to the top of EM
Once at the top, and once everyone had a beer in hand, we toasted ... and had a moment of silence that will sit with me until the end of time...
And then off we went! I met Liz and Alex and Steve, and we rolled the long way back down to the bottom of Three Sisters. We rode Silver Fox to the 'top', we rolled along the top, and we descended the chunky and gratifying Three Sisters trail back down again .... Cleaning that descent in it's entirety for the first time, hootin' and hollerin' with the girls, it was a fine way to wrap up a day of riding.
I let Liz and Alex roll their way home, and I climbed back up to the top of Three Sisters and re-joined the larger group of loving people.
The afternoon, filled with laughter and tears and food and beer(s) lasted well into the evening.... People shared and talked and met -- and re-met. Anthony touched the deep hearts of so many people... The gathering was such a crossing of so many different circles... Anthony being the connection point in the midst of such diversity. It was lovely to see so many worlds collide on such a beautiful afternoon.
The sun started setting, and people started to drift off, back into their worlds... hopefully to gather much more often, and very, very soon.
From home, to the top: 1:12:30 -- without pushing or racing the clock.
That's a fine 2,200' vertical attitude adjustment.
Not so bad considering I felt tired the whole way.
I'm so glad that spring is springing ... fills me up with Life!
Not a big long ride, but a short sweet out and back. Had the place to myself, and the trails were perfect ... for most of it. This ride's intention was to be out in the fog more than anything. I'm wasted tired from a week of riding....
Playing around a bit more with the video stuff. This time I used a combination of Picassa and Windows Media something or other... fun (time consuming) stuff! Another experiment: