Thursday, September 19

Steamboat Springs Trip: Day Three

Woke up to day three a little bleary eyed from slightly too much fun the night before.  Were we meeting up for breakfast or on our own?  I couldn't remember.  A misfire or two, breakfast at the chalet, and then we met at the Steamboat Bike Shop to get ready for the Bike Park.

I brought clipless pedals, despite being advised against them.  Most in our crew suited up in full downhill regalia.  I fought back.

"I don't want to come off as arrogant, but I ride all kinda shit basically dressed in nothing but underwear.  That said, I don't really take risks and am very aware of my mortality and the limits of my skill level."

"I'm not wearing a full face helmet and bullet proof vest."

It took some convincing and a little bit of compromise, but I walked out with my fifty pound rental bike wearing SIDI's, my XC helmet, and a pair of knee pads.  It felt like a win... and I'm sure the guys in the shop were thinking they'd be scraping me off the mountain in a few hours.

We headed up the lift, Daniel, Nikki, David, and Trevyn Newpher.  Who's he?  Pro downhiller, the man behind the bike park, formerly the man behind Snowshoe's gnar-gnar, and MTB skills aficionado.

So a gondola ride later and were dropped off at 10,000'+ (I think).  Talking about options and what not, Trevyn gave us a few pointers.  This is when I discovered that the cornering thing I do... yeah, I'm doing that wrong.

I've always been a bit off anyways.  I shoot a rifle left handed, as well as a bow, yet I shoot a pistol with my right hand.

photo cred: Nike Fedele
I can't do anything the right way, just my way.  My cornering is an eclectic mix of roadie, fixed gear, and some instinctual SUP skills.  As we made our way down the easier Tenderfoot and Creekside, I did my best to implement the new information.  Every once and awhile, I got it right.  It felt good.  Most of the time, I was fighting "muscle memory" and mixing the good with the bad.  I continued to try and utilize my new skill set going down Rustler Ridge, but I'm pretty sure I'm gonna have to wait until I get home to drill this exercise.

On our last run, we went down the expert line called Rawhide.  So far, I had seen nothing to justify the big, heavy bikes (IMHO), but this changed things immediately.  I was off the bike in less than a few hundred yards wondering how I was going to scramble down the rock face in front of me with fifty pounds of dead weight. 

And it didn't let up for awhile.  Many, many, many steep roll-ins, techy corners with slick mud and huge penalties for error... no doubt this was an expert line.  I was humbled but happy to know that the bike park delivers the goods for all types of riders, not just those looking for flow and some geek air.

The best I can say is that I didn't walk down the entire Rawhide Trail... just more than I'd like to admit.

Done for the day (so we could squeeze in more riding later), we dropped off our rental gear and headed to the Slopeside Grill for a lunch that couldn't have came any sooner and a couple beers to settle the  nerves I had disturbed coming down Rawhide.

After lunch and well before my sausage calzone had time to settle, David from Bike Town USA took Daniel and I over to Emerald Mountain.  The rains which had dampened our spirits the day before had treated us to hero dirt conditions at the Bike Park, so things looked good for some XC type riding in the afternoon.  The riding on Emerald is much improved since I last rode it in '09, and it was almost effortless to gain hundreds of feet on the town below riding up Bluff's Loop, Lupine, Ricky's Ridge, Larry's, Prayer Flag... all the way up to the quarry where people like to drive cars off the cliff.  Back down trails like MGM, Molly's, Eye to Eye, Blair Witch... rewards well worth the effort it took to get up there.

After the ride, we took a quick trip on the Yampa River Core Trail to the Bear River Bike Park to see the pump track and the location for the upcoming expert jump line.  The park won the Bell Built grant and is using the $100,000 to build an entire jump section that's accessible from town by bike... which pretty much is a shit-my-pants reality. 

Why don't I have that here in Charlotte?  Dunno.

Running late for dinner once again, we rode back to the chalet, showered, and rode back out to the Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill for yet another meal that was beyond what my taste buds can normally comprehend.

Tomorrow, I'll tie up the loose ends and maybe talk about the whole 650b ride experience...

You know, because since I actually rode one, I might have a valid opinion.

1 comment:

John parker said...

Lets just have a guess at your reaction to 650b.....a whole lot more like a 26" than a 29 so a tweener it's not?