The only thing I love more than ripping rad singletrack is ripping rad singletrack that I’ve never seen before.
That was the order of the day yesterday, as I tagged along on the Blue Sky Cycles “we’re smart enough to be closed on Sundays so we can go ride” ride.
Steve here knows a lot of trails in the Jamestown area so he led us out on this particular adventure. And no matter how much whining there was about the quantity of climbing or the fact that we took a wrong turn here and there, he was unfazed.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, we had to mess around with the golf clubs that are inexplicably provided at the little park in Jamestown. There were no balls, so we resorted to using rocks.
After a few minutes of this, we realized that redneck golf wasn’t cutting it, so we took off up the forest road, which soon turned rocky and primitive.
It climbed steadily, which made Michael, the rad trials/dirt jump/freeride guy on the 38-pound Reign, not that happy. But he kept a smile on his face, even when pushing the big bike uphill.
Along the way, we encountered two creek crossings. The first wasn’t so much a crossing as trying to ride in the actual creek bed. With a substantial amount of chilly-ass water coming down. We each made a decent foray into it before big slippery rocks forced us to start walking. The second one was a true crossing, with two options: crossing along the old road bed (which was now under briskly-moving water), or walking along a log flopped across the creek. The log was just a big tree branch, lopped free of smaller branches but in no way fancily prepped for walking.
Steve had no problem with it.
Rob crossed this way also, but the rest of us weren’t too keen. We waded the other spot, freezing our feet off in the process. But at least we didn’t fall face first into the rock-filled water like we feared would happen off that log.
By now, we all had soaking wet feet, but in my book that’s a sure sign you’re on a great ride.
So….now we had a list going. Things Steve Forgot To Mention: We should have brought socks, guns and golf balls. Forget Guns, Germs and Steel. You need the first aforementioned items to have a truly civilized society. Although you’ll notice the guns keep showing up. Why, you might ask? Cougars, Steve said. And no, he doesn’t mean the women who show up to the yearly Children’s Hospital Half-Naked Firefighter Calendar Competition(rrrrowwr!). He means the big, furry cats that slurp up mountain bikers for breakfast. Or brunch, in this case.
However, we felt somewhat safe, because Michael was off the back a bit, faintly grumbling, “Are we going downhill yet?” We figured he would get eaten first. Then a discussion ensued about how close you’d have to let the animal get to you before you could truly kill it with a pistol, and Rob the resident gun expert figured it would need to be at least in paw-swatting distance. Give or take. (NOT that we want to ever kill a mountain lion. But when you’re about to be eaten alive, you’ll probably try to defend yourself.)
The chatter quieted as we took on yet another singletrack climb, and then we found a view.
Another discussion brought us to the fairly secure conclusion that we were looking at Mt. Audubon. Correct me if we’re wrong here.
So then we hiked up that little hillside you see in the middle distance, and found Gold Lake. That required a snack break and sock-drying session.
Then it was finally time for the downhill. Michael could hardly contain himself. Here’s a sampler of photos:
Rob, still rocking after soiling the famed yellow shoes. With mud, not…you know.
Chris enjoying a brief respite from the rocky rubble on his fully rigid, old-school Specialized. He proved that you do not need suspension or disc brakes to have a great time in the woods. Provided you’re not a sally.
And here we have the opposite scenario. Michael found every hip jump, tree-root gap and rubbly bit all the way down. Sick! All kinds welcome here.
After the little singletrack, which had some mud bogs, downed trees and spots of running water (whee!) we got back out to the “road,” where we hauled the mail back to town. Solid.
We found several of these beauties along the way, too. Mother Nature has been making hay while it rains. Or something like that.
Moral of the day: Go on a great ride with cool people and see cool stuff whenever possible.