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Adventurous Hacker
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yet another "Year in Review" thread;

In a nice turn of events, 2009 ended up sucking a lot less than expected.

Flashback: September 08--exiled from Eden (Montana) and transferred to MTB Hell (Washington DC). Fully expected 09 to suck from end to end.

But: the job ended up including a lot of travel out west and I had so much vacation time saved up that I could use some on the end of each of my trips to get in some great riding. Combine that with an absolute jewel of an understanding, supportive spouse who gave me guilt-free passes to indulge my passion when the opportunities arose, and 2009 worked out okay.

First Trip: March 09 to Albuquerque--some local riding and a drive to Sedona to knock off a few from the bucket list. Albuquerque had some great riding close to town and there was just enough daylight to get in some after work rides on a rented bike. Didn't care much for the Specialized Epic, but the price was right and it beat the heck out of not riding. The Tunnel/Otero Canyon complex is supreme singletrack and the North Foothills trails were nice to have right on the edge of town.

Pics:
1. Tunnel Canyon
2. Otero Canyon
3. North Foothills
 

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Adventurous Hacker
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Making Lemonade in 2009: Part 1b

After completing business in Albuquerque, grabbed a rental car and busted 5 hrs West for Sedona.

Sedona was everything I thought it would be and then some. At times, it seemed like I'd found a place with Moab-quality rock, Fruita-quality singletrack, and scenery that was the better of both. Of course, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but the place rocked.

Also, the guys at the Sedona Bike and Bean were great. I rented a Titus Motolite, which was a superb bike, for a very good price and the shop tweaked it just to my liking. Despite the whole Horst link vs. single pivot thing, it rode much like my Yeti 575 and I felt right at home.

Pics:
1. Big Rock Trail
2. Chicken Point
3. Llama Trail
4. Teacup Trail
5. Templeton Trail
 

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Adventurous Hacker
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Making Lemonade in 2009, Part 2

A trip to northern California in August provided the opportunity to hit two areas on my bucket list. Time was short and I only got a couple days at eash location, but made the most of it. A friend was able to join me on the trip, which mad it even better.

Rented a new Yeti 575 in Downieville and tooke the shuttle to the top on day one to hit the Sunrise to fire road to the Big Boulder trail into Third Divide to First Divide. Awesome plummeting downhill ride! The new 575 was significantly different from my first-generation 575. The lower bottom bracket had me banging the pedals on the technical ups, but this thing really railed the corners on the downs. I could tell it was stiffer as well.

Day two was another shuttle to the top for the classic Downieville Downhill with a slight variation. Sunrise to Butcher Ranch and then switch to Second Divide since we had done third divide the day before. Another killer ride.

Day three was a transition to Tahoe for a run around the Hole in the Ground trail. Rented locally a new Rocky Mountain Altitude which proved to be a very competent bike. The geometry was a little different than I'm used to, but I adapted quickly and really enjoyed it. I had seen vids and pics of the Hole in the Ground trail and had very high expectations. As high as my expectations were, this trail exceeded them. I could rave all day about this trail and not do it justice.

On day four, my riding partner had to split early, so I was back to riding solo. Had originally planned to do Mr Toad's Wild Ride, going from sea-level to altitude, three days of strenuous riding had me pretty wiped out and I didn't think it wise to try a 3kft climb followed by a technical downhill, especially since I was riding solo. Opted for an easy cruise on the Flume instead. However, they were having a big event there (Nissan Xterra, I think) so I just looked for a recommendation from a local. Ended up on a stretch of the Tahoe Rim on the NW side of the lake in Ca. This proved to be a great stretch of trail, with a lot more climbing than I was looking for, but well worth it nonetheless. A great way to wrap up the trip.

Pics:
1. Chillin' on the rocks at the lookout before hitting Big Boulder
2. Cruisin' down the Downieville Downhill
3. Hole in the Ground
4. More Hole in the Ground
5. Tahoe Rim trail at Watson Lake
 

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Adventurous Hacker
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Making Lemonade in 2009: Part 3

Finally, late September included a trip to Ogden. After concluding business, a bud and I drove down to St George for some of the best riding I've ever experienced.

Unfortunately, I didn't get along well with my rental bike, a Cannondale Rize 5. It was twitchy and noodly and had really bad rubber. After 4 days of struggling, I demoed a new Yeti Seven and WOW! Wish I'd had that one all along! This has got to be the pinnacle of trail bike technology--all that travel at a reasonable weight and crazy stiff too.

Day one was a loop around the Hurrican Rim/Gould's Rim/JEM circuit. Good trail, but a little overrated. Glad I did it, but if I go back, I'll focus on the other great riding in the area.

Day two was a shop ride on Little Creek Mountain with Quinton from the Hurricane Over the Edge Sports shop. Great guy/super guide--I highly recommend stopping in his shop if you're in the area. After about 13 miles of technical mesa-top riding, we switched to hiking shoes for a trip to the say beyond stunning Zion National Park for a hike up Angel's Landing--also a "must do" experience. This trail is ubersteep and requires a lot of hand over hand and you actually have to grab chains affixed to the rock to work your way up. To say there is exposure would be the understatement of the century. I'm surprised the Park keeps this open as a trail given the potential for disaster--it seems one or two people plummet to their death here each year. Good on the Park for keeping it open for the rest of us.

After the big ride and hike combo from the day before, we opted for a couple short recovery rides close to town on day 3. The Turtle Wall/Paradise Rim combo was big fun in a small package. After that, Owen's trail took us to a rock formation I can only call God's Trials Park. Technical, technical, technical. And fun easily accessible right from town.

Day Four we headed up to Bryce and hit the Thunder Mountain trail. This is another one where the pics gave me high expectations. Again, the trail exceeded my expectations at every turn. Some grouse about the paved path climb along the road, but it's a nice warmup with super scenery. Then theres the transition to classic subalpine cross-country roller coaster through the pines. Then you get the gorgeous canyonland scenery this place is famous for. Oh yeah, the singletrack under your knobbies is super sweet as well.

We saved the best for last. On day five, I dumped the Rize, picked up the Seven, and we headed for Gooseberry Mesa. Again, now matter how much hype I'd heard this trail far exceeded my expectations. I WILL go back.


Pics:
1. Little Creek Mountain
2. Owen's Trail
3. Thunder Mountain
4. Thunder Mountain
5. Gooseberry Mesa
 

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Adventurous Hacker
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Making Lemonade in 2009: Epilogue

I hated leaving Montana, but if I hadn't been forced to take the transfer to DC, I probably wouldn't have hit Albuquerque, Sedona, Downieville, Tahoe, and St George. The day-to-day riding was nowhere as good, but the trips were fantastic. Because of the new opportunity, I got to ride awesome trails and have experiences I will always cherish.

The success of the year in biking can be summarized in my before and after top 10 lists. There are 5 new entries in my top ten, which is surprising because I've been fortunate to ride a lot of good trails.

Before: After:
1. Porcupine Rim (Moab, Ut) 1. Gooseberry Mesa (Hurricane, Ut)
2. Monarch Crest (Salida, Co) 2. Porcupine Rim (Moab, Ut)
3. Lunch Loops (Grand Junction, Co) 3. Monarch Crest (Salida, Co)
4. Loma Exit Trails (Fruita, Co) 4. Thunder Mountain (Bryce Canyon, Ut)
5. Wasatch Crest (Salt Lake City, Ut) 5. Lunch Loops (Grand Junction, Co)
6. Big Snowys Loop (Lewistown, Mt) 6. Hole in the Ground (Truckee, Ca)
7. Rock Creek (Arlington, Wy) 7. Downieville Downhill (Downieville, Ca)
8. Slickrock Trail (Moab, Ut) 8. Loma Exit Trails (Fruita, Co)
9. 18 Road Trails (Fruita, Co) 9. Wasatch Crest (Salt Lake City, Ut)
10. Base Camp/Wyoming Trail (Steamboat, Co) 10. Templeton/Baldwin (Sedona, Az)
 

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one sick puppy
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And if you hadn't been transferred I wouldn't have gotten all this help with MY Wishlist. Thanks for the great writeup and pictures.
 
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