Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Just Swell.

One of my top five favorite rides on the planet is a mere 2 hour drive from home.  Due west out to the San Rafael Swell, then a bit south to 5 Miles of Hell.

Skippy, Pauker, Morris and myself adjourned from our everyday lives and met out there last Friday to ride.

Even though it was a mere day ride, the place is special enough that I've devoted a page on my Exposure site to it.

Thanks for checkin' in.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Preserving Moore.

There's this trail in our backyard.  Pretty technical, in an old-school, slow-speed, rock crawling sort of way.  It is one of our favorite trails because it requires a delicate blend of skill, finesse, and horsepower to ride well.

The trail is called Moore Fun.  I helped a tiny bit with walking the ridge, laying out the route, and building this trail way back in the late '90's.  Not positive which year exactly, other than it was a long time ago.

In the intervening years I have enjoyed riding this trail maybe a hundred times.  Probably more.  I've never, not once, cleaned every move, end to end, all on the same day.  I know very few people who have.

But I have been able to clean every move on it.  Getting to where I could say that took years.  Delayed gratification.

It's the sort of trail where you have to be in a certain frame of mind: Patient, committed, and focused.  Otherwise the wheels come off pretty quickly and you just frustrate yourself trying too hard.

We've ridden it on hardtails, full suspension, full rigid, singlespeeds, fatbikes, and plus bikes.  All sizes of wheels.  They all work just fine on Moore Fun.

Honestly, the bike matters little here.  If you like the bike you're riding, it's good enough for this trail.

This trail has never been heavily used relative to anything else around it.  Not exactly sure why that is, but I'd conjecture that most people prefer to have a little more speed and flow on their rides.  My proof for that guess is that many (most?) other people I see on this trail are usually walking.  And bleeding.  Seriously.  I've heard it referred to not as "Moore Fun" but instead as "Moore Walking".  One friend simply calls it "Uncle".

It isn't for everyone.

I've gotten to ride it three times this fall, and each of those times I've noticed that Moore Fun is changing.  Being dumbed down, sanitized.  

Several of the marquee moves now have go-arounds, or ramps, or have been butchered such that a unique, well-designed, engaging move is now a straight line with zero challenge whatsoever.

Why?  I really don't know.  By whom?  Don't know that either. 

What I do know is that we have very, very few tech trails left.  So many of the classics have been neutered, brought down to the level of the least common denominator.  And then the tiny fraction remaining is being sanitized by the least common denominator.  Or stravatards.  Or maybe on accident.

Probably ignorance is the theme tying all of the above together: They don't realize that in cheating themselves out of becoming better riders, they're cheating all of us.

Clearly this is a first world problem.  Not something that needs attention from lawmakers of any ilk, nor even from those that administer these trails.  I'm not even certain they ride bikes.

What this problem needs is for us, this community of riders, to stand up and say enough.

If you see someone sanitizing a move on *any* trail, educate them.  Maybe they don't know any better.

It comes to this:

Elevate yourself to the level of the trail.  Don't bring the trail down to your level.  Can't ride it?  No biggie -- walk it this time.  Next time, give a few of the moves a try.  The time after that, try 'em twice.  Eventually, you might put it together and experience the intense satisfaction of delayed gratification.  It is addicting, in ways that the instant kind can't be.

Moore Fun is literally one of the last places that that experience can be had, locally.

Tech trails are vanishing fast.  Please share this around while we still have a few worth saving.


Mike Curiak
Grand Junction, Colorado

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A ride, recently: The last of it.

A few weeks back, when the dregs of the leaves yet lingered in the high country, Doc, Greg, and I went to suss a new-to-us route.

In the sun the temps were glorious.  In the shade they were decidedly less so.  

Most of the ride was silly steep: Grunt in your granny for a few brief moments, awkwardly grab a limb, then gasp for an equal duration.  Then repeat.

The bulk of the ride was deep within mature forest, meaning our views were more often like the shot below than the one above.

Most of the route was unknown to us, and as such there was a hint of anxiety carried silently within as the day progressed: Would we make it out before dark?

The truth is that, one way or another, we had to: None of us had enough layers or calories to survive a night out at this elevation with what little we carried.

We saw few people on our traverse, all with a very different agenda than the one we pursued.

Just beyond the high point we skirted a fresh elk carcass, wondering if it was placed so to bait in bears, but unwilling to stick around to discover the real answer.  Daylight was burning.

We reached familiar ground as the last direct sun vanished, then finished the descent in luminous, indirect, and decidedly chilly twilight.

The loop was not one that we felt bore repeating, but some yet-to-be-explored permutation of it will likely make it into the annual repertoire.  

Thanks for checkin' in.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Grand Canyon of the Elwha.

Early in September I joined two friends for a late-season trip into Olympic National Park.

It was my first trip to the peninsula, and, as you'd expect, only made me want to dive yet deeper.  I haven't had a whole lot of time in the old growth, but every little bit feeds the desire for more.

I've shared a complete report on my Exposure page.  Please find it here.

Thanks for checkin' in.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Meriwether's deep dive on Brrrrly.

A few years ago I posted a bit of detail about what was then my brand-new flotation bike.

First I gave a bit of an intro on why, and how, and then a little later shared a bit more detail.

Somehow, in the ensuing 2 years of using it for some really cool trips, I neglected to share the frame (and fork, and rack) builder's perspective.  Please find that here, and give yourself a few minutes to read and digest all that Whit has shared.

It has been a fantastic bike.  My only complaint at this point is that I don't get (or choose?) to use it often enough.

Don't hesitate with questions.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A ride, recently: Milking it.

Fall.  In the mountains.

Air so crisp it crackles.

Light so fragile it breaks your heart.

High likelihood of encountering the intermittent presence -- nothing more than an ephemeral pocket -- of that most elusive elixir: Rotting leaf mold.  Nothing announces the zenith of the season quite so succinctly.

Temps utterly perfect -- despite wild daily swings -- for those of us wired a certain way.

You know it won't last.  Can't.  

You wish it would go on forever.  Can even convince yourself, sometimes, sorta, that winter isn't so close.


Doom gave us a rolling tour of a corner of his backyard.  

It was the sort of day where you could have, wanted to, wished you would have, curled up under an aspen and spectated the shadows creeping as the day progressed.  Counted leaves that landed on you, maybe even those that missed.  Nothing more.  When you weren't napping.

But that's not how Doom rolls.  So we rolled with him.  And this is what we experienced.

Thanks for checkin' in.