This past weekend three of us went up to the local mountains for one day doing lift-assisted riding and the second day riding the Santa Ana River Trail (SART). We drove up on a Friday night and stayed at a cabin that had a front porch with full view of the lift we would be riding up on the next day. The bikes got a great spot in the kitchen. Every time I glanced at the bikes that first night I smiled. It’s just one of those things that bikes do to you.
Things had changed over the years in our local mountains. Just a few years ago the local mountain lift, Snow Summit, allowed you to bomb down the ski slopes with huge downhill/freeride bikes. But as the years have gone by, the local mountains have banned downhill/freeride bikes as well as riding down the slopes. In the meantime, great XC style & downhill trails developed as alternatives to the straight downhill slopes used by the winter skiers and snowboarders. The only difficulty? The XC and downhill trails are not marked, not on the trail and not on the map.
We met up with two other friends when we got to the lifts. The other two guys decided to only join us for one day of riding… the wusses. j/k. 3 of us had never ridden the lifts before. 1 guy had but it was years ago and he spent most of that time on the now forbidden slopes. The last guy did the same lift-assisted riding last summer, so at least it wasn’t totally blind leading the blind. But still, we basically guessed wrong the whole morning.
A paragraph ago I mentioned that there were XC style & downhill trails? Well, all morning, except for maybe a short 1 mile section, we rode downhill style trails. “Rode” may be too generous a term here as you’ll see in the pictures below I did very little “riding” and lot more walking. And as always, the camera never makes the trails look as steep as they actually are.
Some random pictures:
The great thing about walking our bikes is that we get to see things we don’t normally see, like this caterpillar that Tim picked up. Tim nicknamed him the dinosaur caterpillar due to the horns and weird tail.
RL, you like the caterpillar?
Part II, a HUGE lesson learned as things get much better.