Monday, July 23, 2012

Adventures in Sun Valley and Missoula

The journey began on Wednesday the 4th of July.  I left Bellingham and drove to Winthrop where I met up with Joe Brown, owner of the famous Methow Cycle and Sport bike shop.  He got my vacation started for me with a 30 miler in the Rendezvous area.  Super fun newish singletrack loop that I will definitely ride again.

After watching fireworks and spending the evening with my family in Orondo on the Columbia River, I embarked the next day for Sun Valley, Idaho and the USA Cycling XC Mountain Bike Nationals.  The Honda was driving poorly, stalling on the hills, so I was feeling a little uneasy as I got myself further away from home.  I think it must have just been bad gas from Arco, though, because things improved after I filled up in Oregon.  Not the first time I have noticed problems after buying Arco gas...

Matt Luhn, the Sun Valley legend, was incredibly accommodating and let me take over his house for almost a week and a half.  It was the perfect basecamp for a mountain bike vacation.  Everyday we watched the Tour in HD then rode our bikes around in the mountains.

Basecamp.  The creek was lower this year but also colder.
Up the death climb 6 times we went.  I was glad to have some passing clouds and shade.
Descending the rock waterfall.  Photo:
Finished the race off in 22nd place.  Hey look, it was over 2 hours!  None of that sub 1.5 hour UCI crap.
Photo:  Lori Brazel
Backside of Baldy, descending Warm Springs.  Keep an eye on Aaron Bradford, 3rd from right.
Looking back towards Sun Valley, Baldy in far center.
Evidence of forest fires is not surprising in such a dry place.
Andy, the other Sun Valley legend, pushing up to Mars Ridge.  This is granny gear and hike-a-bike country.
Mars Ridge.  Evening cumulous clouds rolling in.
The trusty steed begging for more singletrack.
Matt, with 10k+ foot Baker Peak in the background.
Warm Springs High Ridge Trail at about 9500 feet elevation.
Another one from Warm Springs Ridge.  Our bikes went where few bikes go.
My time in Sun Valley finally came to an end and I drove up to Missoula Montana.  As far as drives go, this one has to be up there with the best.  Twisty scenic roads through the mountains.  The honda sipped only 6.4 gallons of gas over the 320 mile journey for a new best of an even 50 mpg.  I was pretty excited about that, but I am a bit of a nerd afterall...

In Missoula I raced the Pro XCT race, part of the national series.  It was right up there with the most fun races I have ever done.   Hundreds of beer drinking spectators, technical descents, and jumps.  It was so much fun.  My legs were feeling all the Sun Valley riding though, and I was pretty slow on the climbs.  Not my best race, but whatever, I got to hit jumps through tunnels of partying drunk people!  Local hero Sam Schultz took the win after winning nationals the week before.  Looks like a changing of the guard at the top level of the sport in the US.

A-line jump.  Photo:  Myke Hersmeyer
Huck yer meat!  Photo:  Spoken Chain
Alan Adams really helped me out a lot by letting me stay at his place both nights in Missoula.  The Saturday after-party was wild, as expected.  The race promoters rented out a building downtown and threw a dance party.  It was rad.  When I got back to Alan's at 2am, I was the only one home yet out of the roughly 8 people staying there.  Missoula knows how to have a good time!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mars Ridge Panorama

Let the amazing Sun Valley riding commence...