Saturday, October 1, 2011

Best laid spontaneous actions.

My day started with a few urget woofs from one of my riding buddies.

She wanted to go mountain biking, and she wanted to do it right now. Bella and I loaded up the truck, and headed to the Wood's Gulch trailhead in The Rattlesnake.

The first few miles went by without incident, but, I'm new to the area, and I had to stop and consult the map a few times.

There are a lot of reasons to ride a knobby tire bike through the woods; fast flowy trails, the rush of adrenaline while cleaning a technical section, the pure athleticism of grinding up endless climbs, actually being able to feel your own soul, however, mountain biking is first and formost about exploring in the woods.

I hadn't really explored the Wood's Gulch trail past the logging road yet, so when I got there, I figured I keep heading up the singletrack to Blue Point. The climb is steep, loose, and technical enough, that I was looking forward to the downhill. Once Bella and I got to the top we enjoyed the view, and split a Clif Bar. I figure even Bella-the-endless-energy-herding-dog needs a snack after a steep, technical, climb.

After a little snack, Bella was reenergized, and decided to run hot laps around the summit.

Since my riding partner was ready to rawk, we pointed downhill and pinned it for 3.5 miles, flat out shredding. I kept checking to make sure Bella was with me, and every time I glanced back, there she was, right on my wheel. I got a text from Ricky Gnarmichal after every turn I railed. Until...

Sometimes, you take a wrong turn. Sometimes, you hesitate and think when you should just trust your instincts. Sometimes, your worn-out rear tire just doesn't hook up. Regardless of why I blew a corner, I did, and slammed into a rock pile hard enough to cause an instant flat in my rear tire, and also hard enough to utterly fuck my big ring...not that one should ever need a big ring on an all-mountain bike.
One does however, need a rear tire. Something I frequently tell people is: "Never ride with just a patch kit, sometimes tubes can't be patched." Tonight, I gained another anecdote to back up that maxim. The inch long slash in my tube wasn't fixable, even with four patches over it.

All's well that ends well though. Bella and I had a great afternoon/evening in the woods. I learned a little more about the sweet sweet singletrack that Missoula has to offer. And, after a sorta nasty crash, the worst thing I had to endure was a 1.5 mile hike, while my dog frolicked in the woods, chasing down unwitting squirrels.

On top of all of that, there was a gorgeous sunset while driving home from the Rattlesnake.