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Birthday Girl

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Monday was Kelly’s birthday and the gift she most wanted is to be carefree and happy. 

Tonight she is off to a good start and I could not be happier for her.

 

Galena Grinder

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With our time in Ketchum (Idaho) winding down, I’m scrambling to find (new-to-me) high alpine riding areas that are open for the season; many locations remain buried in snow/mud or are temporarily off-limits due to seasonal closures aimed at protecting mothering elks and their newly born calves.

Hmm … now what?

Enter the #galenatrails, or more specifically the #galenagrinder mountain bike course, to the rescue.

One of Idaho’s longest running races, the course is steeped in history and hits most of the trail network over a 25 mile effort.

Checking off multiple boxes (mixed terrain, hills, beautiful scenery, etc.), it was a no-brainer to download the course to my GPS, drive 30 minutes to the trailhead, and under deep blue skies get lost in the backcountry for a few a hours.

While places like Moab and Sedona routinely get all the MTB love (and deservingly so) these big mountain trails will always be my preferred scene.

Casual Friday

 

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Increasingly, enjoying scenes like these are becoming my preferred version of Casual Friday.

Today, on the eve of Memorial Day weekend, atop two wheels I enjoyed the sweet smell of Spring.  As I whooshed along smooth trails, marveling at the wild flowers basking in their own glory, I couldn’t believe I had the trails all to myself.

A good thing to as the scenery invoked movie memories resulting in my singing aloud to myself “the hills are alive …”.

Despite what must have been me being woefully out of tune, I still think the Von Trapp family would appreciate my carefree spirit and approve.

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Fits Like A Glove

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You know the feeling – how slipping into you favorite pair of jeans feels so right, natural.

We rolled into Ketchum (Idaho) this afternoon and let me tell you, doing so was easy.

Arriving felt good.  Familiar and comfortable.

Another mountain town Spring season is underway around these parts and it’s simply a glorious time to be here.

A full slate of hiking and trail riding, followed by visits to our favorite breweries and restaurants lies ahead.

Definitely one of our happy places, we are thrilled to be back, even if only for a few days.

Big Ride, Big Mishaps, Big Fun

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Naïveté: (noun) lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment.

I generally do not think of myself as being naive, but today proved differently.

Having spent the past few days riding trails here in Flagstaff (Arizona), I was keen to complete the “Round the Peaks” loop – an approximately 50 mile loop (+/- depending upon where one starts) circumnavigating the base of Humphrey’s Peak (12,633 ft).  Locals I spoke to – in some form or another – consistently described this loop as being “quintessential Flag”.

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Capturing a variety of terrain, offering stunning views, and presenting challenging climbs and technical downhills, I was told to find time for this ride before departing the area.

I was giddy.

Along a route beginning at 7,174ft elevation and peaking at 9,329ft, originally my thinking was to bike camp the ride, overnighting on the mountain, and in the process, splitting the distance into two reasonable day efforts.

However, because I continue to change my ‘perfect’ bike camp set-up and haven’t actually yet bought any gear, I find myself in a situation pretty much devoid of most necessary bike camping essentials.

No worries, I’ll do long day ride. On the trail early, home by mid-afternoon.

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In hindsight, I can now see that my actions this morning were pretty much naive from the start: 1) allotting only 6 hours for the ride, 2) assuming 2.5 liters of water would suffice, and 3) underestimating the toll 5,100ft of climbing would have on my legs.

I missed the 6 hours by 90 minutes, ran out of water 45 minutes from finishing, and hopelessly suffered from legs that turned into jelly.

And, I broke a spoke.

Despite a day littered with mishaps, I nevertheless had a great (and very long) ride.

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Durango To The Rescue

 

It was a good run.

But, as the saying goes – all good things must come to an end.  And so it was that our month long tour of Utah’s five national parks concluded this weekend.

With temperatures beginning to flirt with mid/upper 80’s (Fahrenheit), it was time to find higher ground and the accompanying cooler temperatures.

Scanning our options, it quickly became apparent that Durango (Colorado) would serve as the perfect location to sit tight for the next two weeks: the drive from Moab would be easy, organic/natural grocers are plentiful – as are craft brewers and mountain bike trails.  Finally, settling into a picturesque mountainside site would be simple enough.

Today I was able to confirm that the local network of mountain bike trails will keep me occupied for days.

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Riding Moab With Locals

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The local meet-up language described the mountain bike ride as “advanced”.

Departing the parking lot, I asked for details about the trail, upon which I was told that a few “flowy” single black diamond downhills would be mixed in.

It’ll be fun I was told.

I’m not going to lie – I strongly considered turning around then, trusting my instincts that when locals specifically call out a ride as being advanced, they mean it.

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Four hours and only 20 miles later, this was without a doubt the most sustained technical ride I’ve ever completed. A day of double diamond trails has a way of tempering speed.

I held my own on the flats and uphills, but had my ass thoroughly handed to me on all the downhills.

More humbling … I had a hard time walking certain sections these guys were bombing down with grace and style British royals would appreciate.

I only crashed once.

Nevertheless, I had a great day on the trails.  And, while the accompanying 3,000 feet of climbing may have me limping for days, there certainly were no shortage amazing views.

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