It has been a busy week and one full of wild weather swings. Late last week it was in the mid eighties and this week it was snowing in the local mtns. Still there were a few things that stood out:
Beware of snakes in the grass...and other places. A new record of the most rattlesnakes spotted in a year was set in the last month. Three so far, all in April. Crazy. It will be a bad year to be a field mouse.
I have been trying to keep up with bike reviews and I had the chance to toss a leg over this baby below. Is it fun to ride a 22.5lb 29er hardtail? Yes, yes it is. Even with 1x10, it just flew up the hills. And yes, that is a bamboo and carbon fiber bike, the bike equivalent of a Woody wagon.
JeffJ and I set aside a day to get out and and do a series of local moto trails that drop off of a high ridge in the National Forest. The weird weather came in and changed that a bit, but we still got half of it done. It was not without its difficulties, though. I was stoked to be on this ride. I had not ridden here for a while and one part of the planned big figure eight had not been ridden in years, having explored it when I was writing a MTB Trail Guide book with a friend. We parked and began unloading the bikes and then I heard JJ utter a sound that never brings good tidings. "Oh Nooo", said Jeff. I froze and said, seemingly with some odd knowledge of impending doom, "you forgot your helmet, huh?" Yep. DUUUHHOOOH! Jeff had done the classic 'I swear I had everything' move and left his brain bucket at home. I had extra shoes with me, but no helmet. I did that once too and I rode anyway, but this would be no trailride to be sans helmet.
Emphasizing to JJ that there was NO WAY we could do this ride without that bit of armor, I was pretty depressed, realizing that we did not have the time to go all the way back and then return, so we would once again miss out on a ride that got us out of our backyard a bit. Then JJ remembered that, in a nearby house where he had been doing some work (belongs to a common cyclist friend), there was a helmet sitting around. Of course, there was always chance that no one would be home and we could not get in.
Off we went on our fools errand after reloading all the bikes and keeping our hopes up. There was no one home, but we found a window unlocked. OK, then! JJ slid the window up and just looked at me. Oh...you are suggesting I do this, eh? Well, JJ is not a window sized guy unless it is a sliding patio door, so in I went, hoping that no po-po (or neighbors with guns, including the 'Cat Lady') were watching. Yep, there was a helmet alright, but it looked like it belonged to a teenage girl. Good luck, Jeff. Out the window and back in the truck...back to our parking area with JJ adjusting the helmet to fit his decently large head. It sat somewhat comically on top of his bean, but at least it was not a pink helmet. Thumbs up! We are good to go.
The climb was about an hour long and as we topped out, the wind was raging and the temps were dropping fast. Jeff looked bundled up like an eskimo with a very petite helmet.
So, not really wanting to face the wind and storm clouds coming in, as the ride still had about 800" of elevation gain left and a long trail ride on the exposed ridge, we cut the ride short and dropped into the nearby trail. Yeah, we could have been all manly, etc, but we were out to have fun, not be all epic and everything. We were on some great FS bikes, JJ on the Anthem X 29er 2 and I on the FSR. It was the second time I had taken this bike onto a trail that really was more fun on a scoot with some travel and a slacker HT angle. Bouquet Jumps, as it is called, is a moto trail that is constructed with one big whoop after another. They laid down interlocking concrete rails and then covered them with dirt so the motos climbing up the 1000+ foot ascent in around a mile and a half would not chew it up. It makes for a hoot of a downhill on a bigger travel FS bike.
This was just what the doctor ordered for the FSR. I am not really a high flyer, so I kept it close to the ground, but man you could really get in trouble on this trail with some pretty big air.
After we celebrated at the trail bottom, we brought the helmet back...once again in through the window and back out like safety minded, bike riding thieves in the night. A post ride chicken burrito at Chronic Tacos and life was all good.