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Thread: There.

  1. #1
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    There.


    Winter arrived locally late in November, intensifying into one of the coldest ever recorded 'round these parts.  The snow wasn't deep but you had no choice but to acknowledge and adapt to it.  Sub-zero temps also required adaptation, but that's just details: wear more clothes, not too many.













    We live where we do because we enjoy and embrace seasonal variety.  130* of temperature variation and a playing field ranging from 4500' to 11,000' foster a diversity that leaves no choice but to keep things in perspective.













    So that we might better maintain that perspective, we stepped away from home for a few days last month.  Drove to a land of warmth, light, rock and water to embrace what winter felt like there













    Our first stop was Prescott, where Eric came out of semi-retirement to remind us how to ride.



































    He did as requested, starting us easy on our first dirt/rock/real ride in over a month.
























    Then he shocked all present by leaving the ground--entirely and on purpose.  It was a cool move that I couldn't help but to mimic.













    Steep.
























    Little Miss Manual shook off the cobwebs and dove in.
























    As did I.
























    While Eric powered ahead, yammering ceaselessly about the upcoming trail or move or sequence, Jeny and I exchanged non-stop "omfg!" glances.  We were on dry rock, riding mountain bikes, with exposed skin.  Hallelujah.  








    Rolling the spine line.













    "MOMMY!"
























    The shot above and the one below are the same move, same line.  Much longer, steeper, more technical and committing than any still shot can show.  Eric smooved it.













    And then Jeny gave it a shot.













    Dan's notch from the seaward side.













    Dan's from land.
















    The Dells are home to an unparalleled (and growing) trail system, catering to all levels of rider and hiker.  Many of the trails have signs warning bikes off of them--these are the ones we've learned to enjoy the most.













    As the shadows got long the mild temps sharpened, reminding us to save something for the next few days.


























    They grow 'em odd, and hungry, around here.













    One last detail to attend to before we called it an evening and went in search of food.













    Later, I was compelled to execute a three-lane-change without a turn-signal.  That's what happens when Trader Joes appears without warning...





    More to come--stay tuned.




  2. #2
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    Yahoo! Wish I could ride like that. Used to hike those "trails". Can't imagine riding them. Amazing as always. Thanks Mike.
    The older I get the better I was...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Stay tuned--more to come.
    Good. I am finding myself really looking forward to these. Very cool shots!

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    [QUOTE=mikesee;10980961


    One last detail to attend to before we called it an evening and went in search of food.













    [QUOTE]

    Help me out, what did she break on the bike?
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  5. #5
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    looks like chain suck to me.

  6. #6
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    Aloha!!! Awesome Passion Post!!

  7. #7
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    Awesome photos.

    Here I am bikeless... one day hoping to do stuff even half as awesome as shown here.

  8. #8
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    Oh man, so jealous - of your riding ability, of your photography ability, of those trails, of that scenery, but you know what? good on you for having all of that! :-)

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the reminder that every day will not be below zero like today was. Great story and pix, as always.

  10. #10
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    51% smartass, 49% dumbass

  11. #11
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    Thusly supplied with pounds of Trader Joes necessities, we made our way to the Verde River day run.  















    Overcast skies and moderate temps kept the fair-weather boaters away, leaving us with a quiet day on a fun and scenic stretch.
















    Jeny boat scouted then ran almost every rapid, choosing clean lines and executing them with skill.























































    Her smile sums up the way we felt after a day of December padding.















    Next on tap: South Mountain Park in Phoenix.  And yes, I'm a sucker for leafing ocotillo.

























    Warm temps on a weekend meant the trails were packed.  Rookie move on my part, but we made the most of it by sessioning when needed--to give groups time to play through--and moving when that made more sense to do.

























    I've ridden SMP a handful of times and remembered a lot of the moves.  It was Jeny's first time here so we spent a few extra minutes when needed--scouting and scoping before lining up and taking runs at challenging sections.  The two pics above are the same sequence as the next shot below--and it's a rare person that gets it on their first-ever go.














    The harder they are to clean, the more rewarding they always seem.

























    'nuther one o' them spine lines... 




































    A brief, extra chunky roll-in, with a big audience.
















    The place is full of chunky ups like this one.  Often the solution is found with slow speed and precision.  















    I surprised myself by cracking this one with a teeny bit of mo' and a very direct line.














    Jeny swears she's not a basher.  Uh huh.

























    Descending the chunktacular goodness of Holbert.


























    How much tire pressure?  *Just* the right amount.















    Waterfall.













    On the way back out.


























    We finished at sunset, wringing every ounce out of our third vacation day.  Changed out of sodden clothes, then nabbed a Smashburger en route to meet M & M at the Salt.





    Stick with us--more to come.

  12. #12
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    Ooooo... The Salt. This is going to be good.
    The older I get the better I was...

  13. #13
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    There.

    Great shots! Keep them coming.
    - -benja- -

  14. #14
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    So much beuno! 8" of new snow here, and while the xc skiing will be great, your pics and story are just what the doc ordered. Thank you!

  15. #15
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    How does a chick that weighs next to nothing put that much hurt on wheels?

    Answer: maybe add a little air dude.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enel View Post
    How does a chick that weighs next to nothing put that much hurt on wheels?

    Answer: maybe add a little air dude.
    You act as though I didn't think of that.

    We've run more air. Bigger tires. Beefier tires. No combo of the above changes the basic fact that she kills rear rims, and rear tires, faster than I do or can. With less air she punches holes in the casings. With more air she dents the rims more often. Tires are expensive, rims are relatively cheap--guess which end of the compromise we've chosen...

  17. #17
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    Thank you, sir, for the awesome. It is quite good.

  18. #18
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    You're making me so jealous! Seriously ready for some dry, snow-free trails!


  19. #19
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    There.

    Quote Originally Posted by jncarpenter View Post
    You're making me so jealous! Seriously ready for some dry, snow-free trails!
    Road trip bro.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  20. #20
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    There.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Tires are expensive, rims are relatively cheap--guess which end of the compromise we've chosen...
    Doesn't hurt to know someone who can lace them up in a jiffy.

    I think I figured it out: she's actually a relative of Wolverine with adamantium bones and weighs 300 lbs.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enel View Post
    Road trip bro.
    I know...unfortunately, haven't had more than a single day off at a time in awhile. Mostly hiking for us this winter...


  22. #22
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    Yep, there too.




    For 3+ years I've been hearing about and wanting to see the Salt River canyon. Although the flows were at the low end of runnable, we were here, with boats, and the sun was shining.  Bonus that we were able to cross paths with Moe and Marlena on their ominiterrain tour of AZ.































    A late put-in and (s)low flows meant that we spent a substantial part of the float in shade.

























    Moe spent an anxious moment pinned in this thin spot before self extracting.  The rest of us popped our skirts and walked our way to the pool below.

























    As cliched as it sounds, we truly did spend the entirety of this day with smiles plastered on our goofy faces.














    No trip to Arizona can be complete, for me, without a day spent on the glorious, steep, and scratchy chunk in the 50 Year area.

































    Getting the idea why?



    It is difficult to look 'up' enough to notice the cerulean blue sky when riding the 50.  It is a place that requires focus, attention, and precision to keep from bleeding all over the rock.

























    Scott, sanitizing the joint.
















    One o' them off/gap/pivot then manual moves.
























    STIL.

































    "You go first."  "No, you!"


























    If you don't have a point-blank manual in your pocket when you get here, you'll get lots of chances to hone it.

























































    Going down.
































































    The one shortcoming of this area is a lack of climbing challenges.  You earn every ounce of your vert, but it's mostly smooth and non-challenging.  Which might be good because you stomp your adrenal gland to a withered husk on all of the down moves.




































    Late in the day we arrived at the Lunch Rock.  Formerly known as the Lame-O roller.  Scott walked up and looked once, twice, thrice, then backed up, clipped in, and sent it.  First time for everything, and he made it look easy.






















    And then, wanting to ingrain the motion, he did it againandagainandagain.




































    Daylight got thin as we rallied the lower luge-esque trails leading back to the barn.













    Standing and savoring the day, the place, the friends, the light, someone realized it was New Year's Eve.  And then we gave thanks for a phenomenal last ride of 'thirteen.











    Stick with us, one more day to go.







  • #23
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    Damn good riding. A few of those pics gave me sweaty palms.

  • #24
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    Inspirational.

    Excellent photos and riding... eagerly anticipating the final day.

  • #25
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    Back to here.


    Last day of vacation before the long haul home.  Bodies sore and stiff--not just from all of the activity, but from sleeping, resting, being, in places that are not home.





    We unwound the climb of Mount Lemmon slowly, deliberately.  Enjoyed the unfolding views of saguaros until they faded, then the appearance of ever thickening stands of trees.  A diverse mountain this is, reared up into the sky.













    Pavement blended into dirt, and the dirt got steep.  In past years I've given (at minimum) a college try of cleaning 'the scar' on the Bugs Springs trail.  This day I leaned heaving over my handlebars, feet shakily on the ground, looking straight the eff up the trail and wondering what the hell ever possessed me to care enough about it to dig that deep.






























    At the top we stopped and snacked, dozed lazily in the sun, giggled at the novelty of being comfy on January 1st at better than 6000' in the short sleeves we wore.
















    The multi-tiered descent from there is noteworthy for many reasons.  Go there, do it, see why--don't just take my word for it.






























    Near the bottom of Milagrosa we passed a misguided shuttle monkey pushing his DH pig up the trail.  Impressed by his output but confused by his trail choice, we asked what he was up to.  Keeping in mind that this was New Year's Day, his response, "I'm just trying to get this hangover off of me"...





    And on up he staggered.  



















    We sessioned a few of the chunky bits that initially caught us out, finding them easy and smooth once we could see the line(s).
















    Arriving back at the bottom we loaded up without ceremony, spritzed goop from faces, then settled in for the long drive home.
















    On that drive we had time to talk--the kind of unhurried, be-present time that you take when you're wrung out from stacked days of play, yet not rushing to get to _____.













    As the desert receded and the mountains came into focus, we agreed that we love to visit Arizona.  Love the mild weather, the chunky trails, the funky people.  And that we would likely hate to live there.  Not enough seasonal variety.  Not enough vegetal variety.  Poor air quality, and too damn many people.













    Just our underinformed and heavily biased opinions, of course.  But we were giddy to be getting back to the mountains, the snow, the cold.













    Home, in a word.




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