Monday, June 30, 2014

Semi Booked Up

I was looking at the calendar and noticed I'm sort of booked up.  There's plenty of things happening between now and September.

June 30 - July 7     Visiting family

July 18 - July 20     A three day mountain bike adventure near Crystal Mountain, WA.  Trails we'll be hitting include Palisades, Noble Knob, Ranger Creek, Skookum Flats, and White River.  I've not ridden any of these.  There will be a group of us camping and riding on these dates.

July 31 - August 3    Mountain biking trip to Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

August 15 - August 21     Family visiting me

August 22 - August 25     Gigantic Bicycle Festival, Snoqualmie, WA

Another thing I've noticed is I've not yet, nor have planned, and camping outings.  I'd like to work this is, too.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Travel Time

I leave tomorrow to visit family.  Typically I fly there.  Last Christmas/New Year's I drove.  This time I'm doing this:

It's going to take a bit longer but it costs about half of an airfare.  I've not traveled cross country by train since I was nine (I think).  Amtrak is not known for the punctuality but it will be OK.  I'm taking books.  This will give me a chance to catch up with my reading.

I get back mid afternoon July 7th.  Posts to resume sometime about then.  Maybe I'll have some good pictures to share.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Going To Camp

I was looking at the Whistler, BC mountain bike park website and noticed they're having a two-day mountain bike camp August 2nd and 3rd.  Since those are days I was planning to go, I signed up.

I signed up for the Elevation Camp.  From the website:

Whether you are an intermediate wanting to learn to jump or master technical trails or the advanced rider wanting to refine your skills and progress further, our guides can show you how it’s done. Over two fun days of coaching and guiding you will improve and take your game to the next level. All camps include optional bike set up tech session, access to the Top of the World, Whistler Blackcomb’s best pro coaches, oh and of course apr├Ęs at the GLC on Saturday night.

The webpage for the camp is HERE.

I was thinking, as long as I'm headed up there and riding at Whistler, why not rent and try a bitchin' bike with lots of travel?  I found a rental for this:

This is the Trek Session 9.9, carbon fiber, 8 inch travel, fun machine.  All the info can be found HERE.  My rental included the bike and body armor.  It was not inexpensive, but WTF, I don't think I can justify, even by stretching huge, an eight inch travel bike.  All of a sudden my trip to British Columbia is becoming big.

Friday, June 20, 2014


Today is Friday and my every-other-Friday-off.  What am I going to do?  Yard work.  Yuck.

From there, things only look up.  Tonight it is sounding like Thai food and maybe following that up with a trip to the drive-in movie theater for a double header feature.  We'll see.  Saturday I'll step it up some notches.  I'm planning on what is becoming one of my favorite bike rides. Issaquah, WA to hop on the Grand Ridge Trail ending up, and playing at, Duthie Hill.  I might even do that again on Sunday.  I'm trying to develop my jumping.

I'm trying to develop my some jumping skills because the longer range game plan is to head to Canada with a mountain bike to hit a few places.  I found a campground at Lake Squamish.  Near Squamish is the Half Nelson mountain bike trail.  Video (not by me) here:

My tentative plan is leave here right after work on July 31st and then ride August 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  I'd come back on the 3rd as well.

What would a trip to North of Vancouver, BC be without a trip to Whistler Mountain Bike Park?  If you said, "A wasted trip." I'd agree.  The maps for Whistler are HERE.  Yes, we've all heard of the A Line Trail.....

....but there's much more than that.  I do think investing in a full-face helmet and some knee and elbow pads might be wise.  I think this will not necessarily be a "try-not-to-die" experience.  My greatest fear is I'll love it so much I'll end up needing/buying another bike.  One with more beef and travel.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tuesday Night Ride

As a dues paying, card carrying member of Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, I get word of rides.  The West Sound Chapter does a Tuesday night ride every week at Stottlemeyer / Port Gamble Tree farm.  I've joined in the festivities.

Photo from the West Sound Chapter Book of Faces weblinkpagething.

Some nights there's 50 riders.  Almost all nights the masses are divided into fast, medium, and slower groups.  This keeps things fun, and within skill levels, for everyone.

Tonight I'll be back at it.  I'll be sporting the Surly Karate Monkey single speed.  I love this bike and haven't had a chance to ride it much lately.  Presto change-o!  I'll be riding it tonight.  I'll launch with the Medium group and see how it goes.  I can always graduate up to the Fast group at another Tuesday ride.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sunday Monday Recap Bend Trip

I'm sorry for the delay in the last of the Bend, OR recap.  Life sometimes gets in the way of life.

On Sunday (May 25th) our group saddle up and hit the Phil's Trails trails just outside of, or on the edge of, Bend.

Click the map picture it should get bigger.  If it doesn't click HERE.  

We pulled into the parking area and gathered up at the pump track.  The pump track area is outstanding in itself.  In addition to a pump track, there's a series of humps, of various sizes, moving away from the parking lot.  Then, when you get to the end of those, there's a great jump line.  The jump line has little ones, medium ones, and quite large ones.  More on this later.

We departed the parking lot headed up some trail.  Vague?  Well, I honestly can't remember the name of the trail.  What I do know is we went up that trail, got on Phil's, and sort of topped out and the helicopter landing pad.  There we snacked and rested a bit.

Leaving the helicopter pad we made our way down some junction 29 on the map.  There is a bench at that location.  Everyone sat on the bench but left a gap.  The gap was for a recently deceased rider who was part of the group.  A beer was opened and shared in his honor.

Post picture beer pause, seats were lowered and the quite fun descent down Whoops began.  Whoops has a nice mix of bermed corners and jumps of various sizes.  When we intersected a road, we rode it back up to the start and rode Whoops down again.

Finally, it was time to descend the rest of way down.  We found a not-quite-as-fun-as-Whoops-but-still-downhill trail.  We bombed down stopping only once to group up.  Once at the bottom there was much rejoicing but more like playing on the aforementioned jump line.  Another rider and I were on the medium sized jumps honing our skills.

When I dude's done riding for the day, what does he/she like to do?  If you said, "Drink beer!" then we're on the same page.  What's a trip to Bend without a stop at Deschutes Brewery?  If you said, "One lame-ass trip." you'd be right!  Our trip was not lame-ass as we did stop.  Not only did we sample their finest, I loaded up my growler for post ride, campsite thirst quenching.

If you're heading to the Bend area, I highly recommend hitting up Phil's Trails.  It was a blast.

Post ride, we headed to the State Park, showered, and then headed back to our Sisters area campground.  Tomorrow was Monday, our last day of riding, and the long drive back to home.

Monday we were back through Bend in search of Tiddlywinks trail.  Some of our group had other plans and head off in their own direction.  However, with two vehicles of riders left, that meant shuttle the bikes and riders to the top, stash a car at the bottom, and gravity ride Tiddlywinks down.  How's Tiddlywinks?  Well watch the YouTube video I found (not by one of our group):

This was quite the trail to end our trip to the Bend, OR area.  Much fun was had, much riding was accomplished, a few crashes were survived, but the beer didn't.  Saying the trip was Amazing! does not come close.  So, in usual mountain biker fashion, a new word to describe was launched.  A female rider in our group proclaimed, "This was more than Amazing.  It was Amazeballs!"

There you have it - AMAZEBALLS!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Bend Area Recap - Saturday, McKenzie River Trail

In our mountain biking group, we took turns volunteering to cook certain meals.  I was lumped in with a rider who caught a ride with me to this event.  The deal - I paid for the gas, he brought all the food for the two meals for which we were assigned.  Though I was lumped in, I really didn't do much.  And, in reality, neither did my travel dude.  There was another person who very much enjoys cooking, who took the lead in this department.  I assisted a bit.  Anyway, what's turned into a paragraph, after community breakfast we hit the road for the upper trail head of the McKenzie River Trail.  Here's the YouTube thing:

The video is pretty much accurate.  We did have some newer riders in our group.  They were a bit frustrated with the day.  I found the trail to be wonderful.  It has the harder technical riding coupled with amazing scenery.  I had my crash of the trip on this trail.

All in all, not bad as far as carnage goes.  In this case, the very sharp and very abrasive lava rock could have made things much worse.

Though I was toting a camera along - with fresh, brand new battery, I did not take that may pictures.  I was too busy riding, it seems. Here are a few.  Click for bigger.

Per what most people do, we started at the upper trail head and worked our way to the lower.  Though there's a net loss of altitude, this was not a downhill coasting ride.  It was technical, extremely fun, and took all day.

A word to the wise, if you're not an experienced mountain biker, this is probably not going to be fun for you.  If you think, "Well, I'll just walk all the hard parts."  Well - you'll be walking most of the day.  If you're an intermediate to upper intermediate rider, this trail will push you.  If you're an advanced rider, you're going to love this one.  It really is fun.

Once done, we headed to a State Park for showers.  After showers we headed back to our rural Sisters campsite.  Joining us for the evening was Mrs. Washington (Mrs. Washington is a beauty contest similar to Miss Washington, or whatever State that goes on to Miss America, but is for married women).  I don't know how she because affiliated with our group, but she and a female friend showed up to camp the night with us.

Though everyone seemed dog tired from the McKenzie River Trail, a group second wind was attained.  We campfired and beer drank until 2 AM.  The mountain bikers who were not part of our group but were camping very near were not amused.  Evidently they had a race the next day and voiced their opposition to our late night activities around 1:15 AM or so.  Loud music at a campground with no campground Nazi - OK, guilty.

Here's a handful of the pictures I can show.

The next day, Sunday, we were heading for the town of Bend, OR and going to ride Phil's Trails.  An early start was not anticipated.