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    Story I wrote and posted a while back (long tho)

    Stories from the forest and the desert (long)

    Wed: The trip down to Moab and first ride

    It’s early April, a chilly Pacific Northwest morning in S.W. Idaho and myself, Steve of “Dirt Dart Mobile Bike Service”, (www.dirtdart.com) his son Tyler, and Greg, are heading to Moab and Fruita on vacation for riding and hopefully equally good weather.

    The night before, we loaded up the “Dirt Dart” van with all our gear, the trailer with 4 full suspension bikes, and we are finally off on the road trip from Boise.

    About 50 miles east around the town of Mountain Home, the wind comes up and it begins raining. A few pit stops, fast forward five hours, and we’re in sunny Salt Lake City. We have a quick lunch and we’re off for the remainder of the drive to Moab. Coming through the little town of Helper, looking at the majestic mountains, one cannot help feeling awestruck. Very rocky and rugged at their peaks, the tops of the mountains of Utah are still covered in a layer of snow melting into sloping valleys of green rolling to edges of meandering creeks and streams.

    Finally, driving just outside of Moab, we are again amazed at the awesome Canyonlands. It’s been a few years since I’ve been here, and one tends to forget just how awe-inspiring this red rock country really is
    To use a cliché “pictures do NOT do it justice”! It’s now late afternoon and the weather is a nice 70 degrees.

    We check into our hotel, the Rustic Inn just off the main street, and drive over to the parking area at Gemini Bridges for an appropriate first day warmup ride. We meet up with Karen, Lisa, Dave, Jerry and Curtis. Also down from Boise and staying at Slickrock Campgrounds. We arrange to get picked up at Gemini Bridges by Jesse, the shuttle driver of Coyote Shuttle (nope, yours truly did NOT vote to shuttle) J It was fun though, shuttling for a change and then just bombing down the better fireroad sections. We found a couple of slick rock areas and played around a bit on some small dropoffs and step-up climbs, then rode over to an area with large cave-like openings and cracks to the slickrock floor below.

    We finished riding around, and up to the last descent back to our cars; a nice warmup after driving all day. Tyler and I had fun kind of racing down the fireroad. We were ready for dinner now for sure!

    If you haven’t been, there’s a really good Italian restaurant just off main street; and, I do not know the cross street, but assume one could find it very easily while in town. We all know the “joys” of a nice meal after a hard ride (or in this case hard drive and warmup ride). Chicken and Eggplant, ummm!!
    We then all hung out and had a few cold ones into the evening, and watched all the arriving hot rod cars for a big show going on in a park there over the weekend.

    Anticipation
    The Boise Foothills reach to about 5,000 feet and then become the treeline of the Boise National Forest; where exists the Bogus Basin Ski Resort at around 7,500 feet. Most of the convenient and easily accessible riding is in the foothills, and distance probably comparable to living in Aliso Viejo and riding Aliso and Wood Canyons, or Tustin Ranch and riding the hills in Orange.

    Most of the foothill riding of the Boise Front (front range of the Rockies), is laced with fast and steep, but fairly smooth, deserty singletrack. There IS technical, but the majority of the riding leaves one wanting, well, more! In terms of different types of riding, there are multiple, dedicated jump areas, a network of North Shore BC style stunts connecting sections of forested singletrack trails on the mountain; and right in some folks backyards. SWIMBA has also reached agreement with the city for an area to build a dedicated stunt park. But, overall, the trails themselves have a different feel than the steeps of the SoCal mountains or coastal hills, and if you’re talking about how important geography is (hey, home is home!), one tends to miss this aspect of SoCal and Orange County!

    Sooo, I was really looking forward to tomorrows riding at Porcupine Rim, which I had not yet done, as we all were.


    Thursday Ride: More Shuttling, A Crazy little 4x4 Demonstration, Tom Ritchey and of course Porcupine Rim Trail

    Good morning. After breakfast (they mowed down omelettes, I stayed with the oatmeal and bananas)
    We again arranged to have Jesse come and git us. (hey, you know the story, I did NOT vote to shuttle, okay?) J Steve knows Jesse; which came in handy in the form of some local knowledge that extended our ride, which I’ll tell about in a sec.

    This guy is very talented, actually. He designed and built a VERY burly and powerful little 4 wheel shuttle vehicle. Just before passing the slickrock parking area up to Porcupine Rim, there exists a section of slickrock with a nice big tire tread on it-and it ain’t from bikes,. At this point, he decided, to give us a spontaneous working demonstration of the abilities this vehicle possesses, by backing straight up onto this rock. Ummm, this was kind of a sketchy feeling, and felt much steeper being we were in the vehicle and like helpless!
    Good brakes, nice brakes…

    Starting back up to Porcupine again, we saw Tom Ritchey and a few of his riding partners. I believe TR was on a fully rigid but geared bike, no doubt of his design. It was cool to see them.
    Looking off in the distance, the LaSalles still had quite a bit of snowpack in places; very very pretty stuff. That would no doubt prove an outstanding area to ride in summer and fall.

    Arriving at the parking area, Jesse gave us that local knowledge: Why ride from the parking lot to the top of PR and descend, when you can get an extra four miles of tight, technical singletrack above the trail, drop down to the top and then start. So, about a mile and a half into the ride, we made a right turn which lead to a fireroad, and climbed until we came to a cattle guard/grate and fence with a sign on it that says LaSalle National Forest. Just to the left is the start of a sweet lil singletrack that offers tight turns, rock drops, roots, and one butt on the rear wheel lock up the brakes steep, descent. This all leads to a “cocktail rock”. We had our bars, soaked up some sun, and met other riders there from different places before we started what turned out to be a VERY fun descent.

    Helicopter picking up one of the fathers of Mountain Biking
    It’s weird and sucks if I may say so, when somebody gets seriously injured. At one area, we were waiting for the slower riders; it’s that very expansive area of slickrock at about the middle section of the ride. Well, someone told us to move because the helicopter is coming. Tom Ritchey was on the right side of the trail and apparently did crash and hurt his foot or ankle pretty badly. But, folks there had it completely under control. I have not read or heard anymore about this; but, hope all is well.

    Finishing up Porcupine Rim

    After a fast singletrack section and a bit of slickrock, the last couple of miles or so of this trail get quite a bit tighter; more technical, less high-speed sections; more maneuvers and threading. We took good lines and passed some slower riders who let us by. Fun stuff!!! There was actually only a few sections that gave any of us trouble; one in particular required probably pretty good trials skills or some other kind of exceptional skills applied to the terrain. The rest just keep it rolling and finesse it.

    Getting down what a pretty view of the Co. River! I pulled a long celebration wheelie, then we topped it off with a couple of hard pulls on the road along that very pretty river. Back to town to get cleaned up for Foooood, a bit of carousing around.

    Friday: Amasaback trail

    This ride no shuttle, just a nice warmup ride on pavement and dirt road to the trailhead. There are hieroglyphics on the cliffs above the fireroad, and those were cool to see (once I could focus in on them).

    On the trail, I really like the rock steps section that is the start of this trail or should I say series of trails and lines to choose from in this expansive slickrock playground.
    We rode down that, and a little dirt area leading to a downsloping dropoff which some of us played around, hucking off of it. Later, after our ride, we would be treated to watching some jeep drivers negotatiate this in their vehicles; slow going-pretty cool to watch, actually.

    We had a blast cleaning the rock step and technical climbing sections here; very very satisfying riding.
    I was really enjoying the way the linkage bikes travel was hooking up, digging in and letting me clean the trail. Steve, Greg, and Karen did great on the Superlites, and Tyler was finessing on the Mtn Cycle. This 15 year old kid has a BMX style and is very fun to follow down hill. His reactions are so quick, with little adjustments, manuals, and very good cornering technique. He’s going to be a really good downhill racer, which is his goal for mtn biking; still, he loves to ride XC with his Dad.

    Bullit Riders from Asheville, NC show how it’s done

    At one point, we came upon a couple of riders on SC Bullits wearing Giro Full Face Helmets and pads; going to session. I cleaned a longer technical section up to where they were jumping off a flat rock onto a downslope, and did it a few times too. Further along, with the rest of my riding friends, we watched one of the guys on the white SC sprint then use the momentum to get up a near-vertical little wall (about 5’ actually). Greg then did it with no problem except for a little scratching/half pedal stroke at the top, then I followed too.

    Another thing they were doing was dropping off a rock wall to a lower section of trail. This was probably about five feet onto a slight downslope.

    To the left of this from our perspective was a larger drop, probably ten feet off a rock face onto a downslope.

    The first guy rode up to it a couple of times, checking his line and getting a feel, and did it smooth; then, his buddy did it. Very impressive! I asked where they were from and they said Asheville (NC). To this, I responded “Lucky You”! He laughed and agreed their home is a pretty good place. Indeed.

    I thought I might give the smaller drop a shot on our way back, since we wanted to get up to the top of Jacobs Ladder and have lunch.

    We continued our way up, and more technical sections were cleaned by us; one being a steep little chute along the edge of the trail then through a little rock garden and drops. We worked our way up and around, to a very beautiful overlook of the entire valley floor and the rugged switchbacks of Jacobs Ladder.

    While we ate, we watched several riders ride along the valley floor, then begin hiking up the switchbacks.
    Steve said there is, or used to be a XC race that required riders to hike up these switchbacks before continuing the race down Amasaback trail to the end.

    Anyway, on our way down I decided to huck the rock drop (the smaller one), we watched done earlier.
    Folks were watching me…………. I rode up to it like four times before letting it go, and it was smooth and felt good. The photos came out but after I had already landed it, oh well…. Later, watching digital movie of the SC guy, he had really pre-loaded his suspension and gotten quite a bit of extra height and distance by doing that.

    Another great ride and time for some Mexican food!

    We had another great meal, then cruised around a bit, anticipating Sat and Fruita riding

    Sat: Fruita

    Only about an hours drive out of Moab, I definitely recommend this place. It’s really pretty desert/river country, and the riding was super fun, fast singletrack, short climbs and descents, just technical enough for most of it; and, super technical in certain spots.

    First we checked out the festivities at the Fruita FT Festival. There were people dressed up in, like everything, doing the cruiser race. I thought the coolest was the guy with the keg strapped to the back and and the girl standing on top of behind him. There were of course the typical industry booths, etc…

    A slow wheelie contest was announced, so Tyler, who is really good at doing manuals, decided to try it.
    Some of these guys were pretty darn good! The best I think was the guy on a Surly steel singlespeed; he could manual so good he just sort of moved slowly forward using his knees for balance. Tyler was a bit nervous, I think, but did really good. All in fun!!!

    I think the country here is Mesa, Deserty, but unlike that of Boise, or Moab, or California for that matter; just very unique.

    On the trail, there is one section that’s like a series of about 30 rock slabs/steps, with loose dirt in between and about ten million lines to choose from. One guys said he sees like 1 in 30 riders clean it (what, does he sit there and count?). Anyway, we started, but, admittedly, was one section we did walk.

    After lots of cool up and down riding, and with about two hours before sunset we decided to do a technical loop called “More Fun”, which indeed it is!!! Tight, rocky, up and down switchbacks with rock steps in the middle of them, and lots and lots of little sections that made me go aneorobic (what’s new?)

    We finished up and down the mountain and back to our car right at sunset. Dinner, Bed, and then look forward to a ten hour drive back to Boise in the morning.



    Another Trip: Riding in Bend, Oregon

    Unfortunately, any good photos I took got damaged in quick processing this time. But the 30 mile McKenzie River trail in the Willamette National Forest, is a must do if you go to Bend.
    By the end of this ride, my cornering skills on the bike had improved from so many tight corners!

    We worked out a shuttle situation since it is 30 miles and didn’t have time to do an “insanely epic” full out and back. A lot of this trail really reminded me of Upper San Juan trail.

    The start winds around Clear Lake, and has some neat, and surprisingly technical lava rock sections. They were kind of difficult because their sharp shapes tend to suck your momentum up; not to mention I WAS behind some folks who stopped in front of me, but that’s okay!!!

    At one point in the ride, the river, which goes underground, comes back up into a blue lagoon surrounded by cliffs, and is an awesome wonder in this tropical rainforesty trail!


    Boise

    I want to mention what an incredible job the Ridge to Rivers trail systems, through SWIMBA, is doing.
    SWIMBA is doing some awesome things here; and, since the city has given some area to us, a full-on north shore style freeride park will be built. This is in addition to several, very good dedicated dirt jumping areas. I might add that these areas are litter free, and the vibe is one of respect for local resident = trails that stay open… We met with a national forest ranger, Jim Schmidt, who moved here from S. Carolina, and is doing the survey project of the Owhyee mountains for the BLM. He is very motivated to map out, sign, and protect as much singletrack for us as possible. He is one of the good guys. There were other trail users at this meeting, including a horseman. Multiple users dedicated to the same goals: reminds me of meetings in Orange County pertaining to the Santa Ana mountains. Good thing…

    At first I thought SWIMBA, which is an IMBA organization, would be at odds with the Warriors Society.
    However, after speaking with VP Chris Cooke , very nice guy who moved here from the east coast to work as an engineer for Micron, and a good technical rider, I now am open to entertaining the idea that perhaps the goals are the same: to keep trails open, open more trails, find reasonable solutions to the Wilderness issues, and compromise when necessary. (but not the way that IMBA itself has been criticized for). I’m still not sure; and, would always lean towards the side of the Warriors Society to guide my views, and am comfortable doing so, but we cannot afford to be fractioned.

    Something We all Share, and what we fight to Keep
    A strong respect for the incredible outdoors that I feel was created by a creator; great people, incredible riding, awesome views, challenges internal and external, physical and further within, isn’t this at least some of what we all share in this incredible sport?

    Trips; it is amazing what multiple days of great riding does to polish ones confidence and technical skills on the bike. We become energized and refreshed by the great spirit that manifests in many ways, one being camaraderie forged through awesome shared experiences. Time away from work can be much needed! At the same time, just having a job allows one to enjoy things-worry free.
    How can one enjoy anything, maintain or build upon their self-esteem if their very existence and future is in question? Democracy, and free marketing economies, although the best systems, were never perfect.
    We have a long way to go.

    Of what we do, the resulting endorphin rush is like a fix: great but fleeting, to be repeated again and again indeed (and I bless you all long good health to keep doing it); It’s healthy but there is something else as well, longer lasting, not so ephemeral as the rush. This is something spiritual, and I refuse to ever put a label on it….

    Posted by Dk03 a 39 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a FSR Enduro Expert and Marin Palisades Trail from Boise on 07/03/03
    Responses: (1) (2) Post Reply
    Last edited by mtnbkrdr98; 11-30-2006 at 03:24 PM.
    Sound of Tires on Dirt: Sole Music
    Shredding with Good Comrades: Soul Music

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