Monday, September 19, 2011

A Ticket To Ride

It has been years since I was at Mammoth Mtn and the bike park there.  Likely the late 90s at best and more likely the mid-90s.  And I do not huck.  So, the thought of getting into the lift ticket thing had me a bit nervous.  I do not even own a set of pads (well, I do now, but that was an apres Mammoth acquisition).

So here I was, pinning a ticket to ride on my FSR, the biggest travel 29er I have at 5.5 inches F/R, and getting ready to 'session' the mountain.  I had mounted some new tires I was testing, some 2.3 Geax Sturdys, that looked burly for the pumice covered trails, and that was about as much as I had going for me.

I took the gondola up and the ground dropped from beneath me.  I am not all that crazy about those gondolas.  I actually prefer the lift chairs that are more open.  Maybe it is the enclosed feeling, but I get the impression that they would bounce and roll nicely back down the mountain if they fell off the cabling.  At least the chair would just wad up like a big lawn chair with me in it and get it over with.  More dignity but less style points I guess.

The first trail was a pretty easy run off the top of the mountain which still had snow on it and was 45 degrees and windy.  Off the backside, the trail wound down toward warmer climes but was, well, kinda boring but scenic.  I suggested that we up the ante a bit and was pointed toward another trail for the next lift run.


I should have kept my mouth shut.  Now I am a pretty decent technical rider for an old XC guy, but this was an eye opener.  I would be pulled to the side looking at an oncoming trail feature and have two grommets pass me and cruise down it like it was flat.  Well, nuts!  So I made it and some of it was really fun, but also scary.  I was using ALL the travel the bike (and me) had and then some.  I felt kinda naked and I think a bit burlier bike and some body armour would have helped me feel better about things.  Still, it was interesting.  It was also a chance to catch up on my daily prayers.

A bit of grace here was appreciated.  Thank you.

The next run(s) were on trails that split the difference between too easy and too hard.  The Momma Bear trails were awesome and the Sturdy tires on the FSR were killer, floating and digging in.  Big wheels are such a great help in poor trail surfaces and the combo of big wheels and wide, aggressive tires was made for the day.

I know I need to get back up there and do that some more as I need to push and stretch myself a bit every so often.  Trails like this will do that for ya.  And I have to use those new pads I got.

Maybe I do huck every so often, but I would not want to earn a living that way.

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