Friday night, a half-dozen of us set out for a short 5 mile ride after setting up camp. Famous last words. We ended up riding 9.7 miles and getting back to camp at 9pm, with just a few minutes of daylight left. The ride was fun though, as we came across numerous elk and deer, and even got to climb up onto some Washington slickrock and check out the snow-covered peaks framing the valley. I had already run 11 miles earlier in the day and was plenty tired by the time we got back to camp, but sleep never came easy Friday night. The rain did however. I laid in my tent, awak, all night long listening to the rain hammer down atop the rainfly and my truck parked nearby. Kristin slept soundly, as I'm sure my dogs did too. But not I.
Friday night view of the Enchantments.
Morning came and the rain sprinkled on and off, but the sky looked ominous. A dozen or so riders showed up, having driven in from the west and said that there was plenty of rain headed our way. I don't mind riding in the rain, but I certainly didn't want Kristin and the dogs to be cooped up in the truck or tent all day, taking shelter from the rain, so I thought about just going home. Fortunately, Kristin assured me she and the dogs would be fine, and I should go ride. So I set off with about 20 other riders and within a half hour, the sky emptied of clouds and bright sunshine poured into the valley.
Saturday's ride consisted of a lot of climbing, mostly on abandoned double-track logging roads. And although there wasn't a whole lot of singletrack to ride, what we did hit was enjoyable. Bob led us on a 23.8 mile figure-8 shaped ride with 3,000 feet of climbing. I was feeling great despite Saturday being my 8th straight day of riding and pleased myself by doing nearly all of the climbs in the middle chainring. I also spent quite a bit of time racing to the front of the pack, building a lead, and then quickly dismounting and taking photos of everyone else. Rinse and repeat all afternoon. Much of the trails and dirt roads were very loose and sandy which made the going tougher than expected, but it was a fun day with a good crowd.
Bob dropping in on the big rock.
Jeff tackling the big rock.
Who needs Moab?
Chris cruising Washington's slickrock.
Rob zipping along some tight singletrack.
Sue and Brian climbing past the wildflowers.
Wearing a helmet all day does strange things to my hair.
Some of the group had to head home right away on Saturday -- we missed you Saturday night Erik -- but most of the gang hung around the campfire till midnight and indulged in a burrito bar fit for Vicente Fox. An entire picnic table was weighed down in various burrito fixins and fillings including some delicious chicken in mole sauce, shredded beef, home-made (and delicious) guacamole, and plenty of other appetizing offerings, including Randy's famous garlic mashed-potatoes. The night grew old, but the weary mountain bikers continued to consume the adult beverages occupying space in our coolers (there is nothing better after a ride than a nice cold bottle of Moose Drool) and Jeff and I began cramming toasted marshamallows between the double-stuff Oreo cookies for our own s'more variation. Sleep wasn't as hard to come by Saturday night.
Much of the group was feeling some various aches and pains on Sunday from Saturday's lengthy ride, but we nonetheless had another half-dozen or so riders head out for one final two-hour ride. We rode pretty fast on Sunday morning to try and beat the incoming rain and squeezed in a fast 11 miles and 1,200 feet of climbing before breaking camp and heading home. The rain did start to come just as we were finishing the ride, but Kristin and I run a clean camp and had no problem getting on the road with minimal soaking. She had spent three days hiking with our dogs while I was out biking and despite none of the trails being easily discernible, let alone marked on any maps, she hiked well over 20 miles and managed to avoid getting lost. The one time she thought she lost her way, the dogs sniffed out the trail and led the way back to the road. I guess I needn't worry about her after all. She had the camera on Sunday and although she didn't get any pictures of the wild turkey or deer she saw (nor did I get any of the elk I saw), she did take some nice shots of our very tired and very, very dirty dogs.
Annana relaxing in the shade.
Kimo is still exhausted from the weekend's hikes.