Although excited already to get out and ride, I was excited even more so to realize another sadistic BBTC’er would be joining me. Thanks to Doug Walsh for bearing the elements and getting out on this experimental ride with me.
We met at the Tiger Summit parking area, each clad in our own versions of neoprene socks, winter riding shoes and shells. It was pissing rain the whole drive there, but eased up a bit after we set out pedaling. The road up to the Preston Trail was well graded and eased our travels during the rough span between being in a comfortable car to actually being warmed up. Doug has been training for the TransRockies and let me know it by always having a bitof a lead on the grind up. We passed the Preston Trail and soon after theroad began a descent for aways until we found our gated turnout on the left. One sign said no bikes, the other said non-motorized use welcome; Needless to say we heeded the latter sign. A short grind up from here led us to the short trail that would grant access to the summit of Middle Tiger Mtn. We ditched the bikes and continued on foot a short, steep distance up the trail to the wooded summit. Got a couple pics and down we went.
Back at the bikes we descended back to the Main Tiger Rd and followed it downhill for another ½ mile or so then across 15 Mile Pass, taking a left about ¼ mile later. This was an undulating road, but was mostly up from what I remember. Finally the road came to a “T” at the saddle between West Tiger1 and 2. We opted first for West Tiger 1, with Doug doing some impressive climbing up the first and last 3rd of the climb. Up near the top we brokeout of the trees and were hammered by the wind. Thankfully, Tiger 1 sports a“Hikers Hut” (as well as signs claiming dangerous amounts of radiation.) We hunkered down in the hut and downed some grub while donning dry gloves andother essentials. Leaving the comforts of the hut was hard, but we did and descended the wind-swept ridge, being blown around by strong gusts and dealing with pretty loose traction.
Back at the saddle, time to climb again. This time to West Tiger 2. The road grade was much more appealing this time around and soon enough we were at the communication towers of Tiger 2. We saw signs of a trail leading to West Tiger 3, and quickly both agreed that we might as well do it, since we are up here anyway. We locked up the bikes and took off on foot for the ½ mile hike to Tiger 3. Some good ups and downs; Hard hiking in slippery bike shoes. No hikers on top of West Tiger 3.
Back at Tiger 2, I unlocked the bikes after I joked about forgetting the lock combination. Haha, sorry Doug!
We had some good downs on the way back, but also some good ups from Fifteen Mile Pass back to near the Preston Trail. From here on, we reaped our sweetrewards and smoked the fire-road descent back to the parking lot. My only hesitation was when passing by East Tiger, but I had had enough and I’m sure Doug wasn’t interested either! All in all, a great training ride for when the trails are closed, or heck,even when the trails are open. On a better day I bet the views would be a worthy addition to the incentives already gained on a ride like this.
West Tiger 1, 2, 3 and Middle Tiger Stats:15.6 miles RT, 3500’ gain, 2 hrs of actual riding time, 3.5 hrs car-to-car, 6 significant climbs/descents.
severe wind on West Tiger 1.
Craig at the top of West Tiger 1.
Me outside the Hiker's Hut atop West Tiger 1.
Time to go inside and get warm.
Nothing like Peanut Butter & Apple Butter burritos
to refuel the body!
Four summits later... can we please descend now?