Mountain biking used to be a staple of mine until I got road crazy several years ago… Too bad really as there are TONS of fantastic trails in the NW. This year I resolved to restore some balance and have ridden in the dirt several times, explored a skills park, entered a couple of MTB races and will enter a couple more before the end of the summer.
What is my ride of choice in the dirt these days…? Long story but currently this is it.
One speed and no suspension. Totally old skool except that it weighs 21 lb.
Today I hooked up with James B and Greg K and we headed out to Devil's Gulch which neither James or I had ever ridden before. Two friends rave about this ride all the damn time so I figured it was high time to check it out.
I'll get straight to the point - the ride was just okay. Sure it was fun in places and it is pretty smooth and fast especially up top but it's also dry as hell, kinda overgrown at the bottom and kinda boring in places. A good ride for most people but once you have been spoiled by exceptional rides this is no longer at the top of your list. I'm not complaining, just sayin'.
Both Greg and James had raced the day before and I had not so as we rolled out they were tired! After a bit I took off on my own and never saw them again until we got to the top. This gave me time to take some pictures.
It was nice to be able to ride up pretty much the entire trail! There were only a couple of stream crossings and switchbacks that I had to walk. I realized on this ride that going up loose shale is probably the worst possible conditions for a single speed bike. I was out of the saddle a ton and my rear tire was spinning out and slipping just as often.
This is a mixed use trail and the plus is there are cinder blocks in sections to prevent erosion and the minus is I had to get out of the way so motorcycles could pass me. Not a big deal really. I also saw sign of horses but never encountered any.
Once we regrouped at the high point there is still about one or two miles of trail to the road - this section was fun! Most of the turns were banked, there were some whoop-de-dos and it was pretty fast going both ways. Yes.
At the road we took more pictures and hiked up to a view point.
Then it was time to ride back to the car. And oh boy did it make me realize why this is sometimes called a gravity sport. The speed increased! That first flatish section was a total blast. James (the best skills by far) let me go in front and got some fun footage.
I felt like I was hauling ass but we probably never exceeded 20 mph. Still, super good times.
We stopped at the top of the trail, had a snack and this time James went first. Boom! He was out of site in no time. When he saw him again he was standing in the middle of the trail hunched over barely able to breath. Turns out (judging from his tracks) he had drifted off the trail and his front wheel had slid out. He proceeded to auger into the trail and in the process cracked some ribs. Ouch. Needless to say it took us a bit to get rolling again and James had slowed down quite a bit. But damn, he is one tough guy and rode the whole thing out even though every pedal stroke and each pull on the bars was obviously extremely painful.
At the bottom he looked like this.
We had lunch in town and made it home but James was hating life the whole time and had to go to the hospital that night. Rats.
I would come back here but not late in the summer - too hot and dusty! My recommendation is to do this ride as soon as the snow melts enough to get to the top.
|Breakfast||5:30 Am - cereal|
9:00 AM - large bottle w/1 tablet Nuun and 2 scoops HEED, pretzels
|Workout Food||water, 2 Clif Bar|
|Time of Day||10:30 AM|
|Weather||low 70s, sunny, dry, calm|
|Clothing||bib shorts, sleeveless undershirt, sleeveless jersey, cap, Fox full finger gloves|