Monday, October 27, 2014

Over-estimating Our Mountain Biking Skills

For our last day, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise! The mountains were bathed in a pink hue, and the sky looked promising.

We did our usual walk with the dogs, then came back and got ready to ride. Today's destination was the Bear Creek Figure 8. The first loop was a level 3. Okay, we had done level 3 yesterday. The second loop had some level 4 stuff. Hmmm...could be scary!

We rode from the house again (of course that meant coming back up the loooong hill at the end of the ride). We went out the same way as before. Although the sun was shining, it was pretty chilly in the shade, and we were in the shade most of the way to the beginning of the Figure 8. I looked at the temp on my computer. It was 36.6 degrees. But, that was okay because we were climbing. Only my toes were a little cold.

We headed up the dirt road toward Loup Loup Summit.
It was a very long climb, and I was very slow. Bill and Melody were great about waiting at every turn to make sure we all went the right way. 

After what seemed like a very long time, we made it to the double track part of the first loop...and continued to climb. There were tons and tons of larch trees (a needled tree that is deciduous). They are now golden yellow, and the needles cover the ground.

This one still has some green to it.

We reached the top, and the beginning of the singletrack descent. Here's Bill starting down.

Melody and I followed our fearless leader only to have to get off and walk about 20ft into the trail due to it being very steep and rocky...and Melody and I's desire to remain upright and uninjured. We seriously toyed with going back to the road and doing the Bear Mtn. Loop, then going back down the way we had come up. But, we decided to go a little further. Bill said it got easier. Welllll...not really. Clearly, in the exuberance of yesterday's Buck Mtn ride, we thought we were such accomplished mountain bikers, that we could handle this. Bill did pretty good (although he still had to walk a bit too). Melody and I would ride 10 feet, then have to get off and walk. In all fairness, I think Melody might have tried to ride more, but I was in front of her, and I was way too chicken. We did manage to ride some of the sketchier bits, but, for me that was only when I didn't feel like I was going to fall off the side of the mountain! And we also discovered that, although some of the spots looked absolutely terrifying, the more we rode, the braver we a point. Fortunately, our caution paid off, in that, neither Melody or I bit the dust.

We came out onto a logging road (this after I rode down a steep, rocky bit, giving a running commentary while my life was flashing before my eyes!). At this point, the trail crossed the road, and continued down for another .8 miles. Looking at the map, Melody and Bill determined that the logging road would take us back out to the dirt road we had ridden up. It was 2 miles. Melody and I decided to abort the rest of the Bear Creek Figure 8, and take the logging road back. We'd had enough of death-defying singletrack. Bill opted to finish the first loop, but also bail out on the second loop that was supposed to be harder. Then he would go back to the yurt to finish the ditch digging before we left for home.

So, Melody and I took the logging road, and ended up coming out where we had started the double track part. That meant we had the entire descent on the dirt road back to the turn to Loup Loup Summit. WOO HOO! It was a blast! I got up to 30.6mph! Here's Melody finishing it!
Coming down with a big grin!

Since we hadn't really gone that many miles, and we still had plenty of time, we decided to go and do Pipestone Canyon (level 1) again. First we had to go up and over the ridge on the way to Campbell Lake. We tried, briefly, to ride a trail that went alongside the road, but it was too deep of a rut and my pedals kept digging into the sides of the rut. We returned to the road. 
Going up, so we could go down.

Pipestone Canyon was just as fun the second time! 
Looking back into the canyon.

We came back out to the road. We still had to ride back up the road to the yurt. Even though I told myself, again, that I could walk, I managed to ride the whole thing, albeit very slowly.

Melody and I showered, then took the dogs for one more long walk before they would have to ride in the car back to Olympia.

We came back and started the process of packing up and cleaning. We finished and were on the road by about 6:30ish. 

I had so much fun these four days! What great adventures in mountain biking we had! I loved the walks with the dogs, and hanging out with Bill and Melody. I can't thank them enough for allowing me to join them! WOO HOO! WE ARE MOUNTAIN BIKERS EXTRAORDINAIRE!!! (At least we like to think we are)

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