Monday, June 14, 2010

Ultra-concentrated Joy

Now available in bottles.

This weekend I went to Winthrop... a place I have had some great rides the past few years. This time I was with Alex, Malcolm, Vince, Chuck, Ned, and Tom... who I've (mostly) not ridden with before. Same place, but a different time of year and different people. There were certainly more green plants that I am used to seeing in September/October, and it was about 35 degrees warmer than the last time I was biking there.

After a later arrival and necessary sitting around and drinking beer, some sleep, and then an extravagant breakfast... we set out on Saturday to do one side of the Starvation Mountain loop. Would that make it the Starvation Mountain arc? There was some fun creek-crossing to be done and we pedaled up until we hit the snow. En-route I managed what is becoming my signature crash... getting jettisoned off my bike down a precipitous slope while I am riding uphill. This time an overhanging branch caught in my pack, and refused to let go. The tension fired me off the back of my bike and down the hill. I escaped mostly unscathed, but how I ended up down there took some explaining.

Vince running the gauntlet of "bike shoes on the log over icy water"

We were looking forward to riding back down this

Tom demonstrating correct snow-crossing technique

When we reached the end of the singletrack we turned around and rode back down. The descent started muddy and slippery, with deep snow patches to plough through.... then fast and dusty through the burned forest, and finally back on the exposed trail cut into the loose valley side. Fun! The evening progressed from swimming in the lake and making friends with a local dog, cooking too much, eating too much... and finally trying to build a hot air balloon powered by beef fat. The beef-balloon was a sadly a failure, but version 2 will happen one day.

On Sunday we rode the Buck-Mountain loop which had far more cow and wildflowers than I am used to seeing. The place felt alive and looking at the snowy peaks in the distance reminded me of some of our ski touring trip this winter. For now, I am happy to see some sunshine and warm temperatures. Hopefully after the shaky start, summer is here to stay.

Ned's video evidence