Friday, March 5, 2021

Bull Mountain

A few weeks back, I was feeling adequately recovered to do some real mountain biking.

Bull Mountain.

Nowhere else would do.

But, first I needed to get some work done. My rear derailleur had been getting progressively worse for a while now. It was getting stuck in the big ring. Like if I shifted up into the big ring, it wouldn't come back down without nudging it with my foot. First I released the clutch which fixed it for a while, but then it started doing it again. Next, I let off a slight amount of b-tension, which also fixed it for a while, but made the chain skip in smaller gears. I was pretty sure my cable wasn't sliding very well over the guide under the bottom bracket, and probably the derailleur needed some tweaking, but I don't have a lot of experience with this particular derailleur, so I took it to the shop.

The first thing I noticed was a sculpture by Ed Baltes that Glen had posted on Strava a few days earlier.

Ed's Sculpture

The second thing I noticed was Ed himself!

He'd been helping Glen out off and on, and just happened to be there that day. Man! I think the last time I'd seen him was when I ran into him at Blankets like 2 or 3 years earlier. So cool.

I don't remember exactly what he did, but he got my derailleur working again.

Eddie B Wrenching

I'd intended to spin some local miles afterwards, but it turned out I'd forgotten my shoes. Goodness, when was the last time I did that?

No matter, the next day I got a bit of a late start, but made it up to Bull Mountain with 3 or 4 hours of daylight available. The drive up was nice, and the weather was cooperating nicely as well. It had been in the high 20's a few days earlier, but that day it was all the way up in the 60's.

The trail wasn't perfect, as it had rained a tad recently, but it wasn't unpleasantly muddy or anything, just slightly damp here and there. It looked like lots of trees had fallen recently though, and somebody (probably Stan) had been busy remedying the situation.

Thanks Stan (Proabably Stan)

Thanks probably-Stan!

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again. No amount of not climbing in the mountains can keep you in shape for climbing in the mountains.

It was tough, but it was a good tough. And, as terrible as I felt, I managed to get a PR and 2 second-best times, all on climbs. Somehow.

Obligatory truck:

Bull Mountain Truck

About 1/3rd of the way up Bear Hare, I ran into a guy that I've worked with at a bunch of the work parties. I forget his name because I'm terrible with names, but he's a trail runner, and a pretty damn good one. He's won a bunch of ultras at Bull Mountain over the years. I feel bad for not remembering his name. It's on the tip of my brain, but I'm getting old, and I've been doing this a lot lately.

It's "the dementias" I bet.

Right after the singletrack on Bear Hare, just as I was getting on to the old fire road, I passed a couple of riders. The mentioned they had one guy still back, and that guy turned out to be Franklin!

What are the odds I'd run into 2 guys I know up there? Actually, considering how much that happens, the odds are actually quite good. It was cool seeing him. I think the last time I rode with him was at Bull Mountain - a mock Fools Gold where I shredded my rear tire, but managed to hold it together with boots and duct tape.

I passed some folks on horseback taking a break at Lance Creek. We joked about the fickle weather. How do you dress for a day like that? It was 68 degrees in the parking lot, but when you get down in a hollow, it's freezing. Not so bad if you're on a bike, working, but you can get pretty cold on a horse.

I felt the kick back up over the Whoops. Whoo.

I also realized that though I'd worked on the new trail down to the dam, and ridden Bandit down it, I'd not yet ridden it on a bike. All right! New trail!

And, it was glorious. Except for the very bottom, there were long lines of sight, so I could really shred. Full freaking speed. Man it was awesome. Working on it, it seemed like it was short on grade reversals, but riding it you could really feel them. Mike really knows what he's doing.

I noticed some side trail leading down off of the dam too, but my phone had died by that point, so I didn't bother riding it. I'll hit it later when I have functioning GPS capabilities again.

I rode up and over Jones Creek Ridge, took Turner Creek over to 28-1, and just rode that back out to the car. It was getting darkish, really cooling off, and I was getting hungry.

It wasn't the greatest ride of all time, but it was still pretty good, all things considered.

I can't remember what I ate for dinner. It must not have been that great.

More mountains. I need more mountains.

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