Riders: 13 total, these are the ones I know, Mary, Randell, Steve, Mark, Brett, Alex, Mike, Miles, John I., Dawn, Jill, ???
Oh man did I have fun tonight!!! It was the first EMS ride this year and it was great to see all the familiar faces from seasons past. The ride started from the Case Pond lot so there is always a long climb at the start but I was very happy when Brett lead us up the singletrack vs. the fire road climb. That fire road climb right at the beginning can be painful. The pace was quick from the start and my bike did not disappoint, I really can’t believe how well the Salsa climbs. I had the lockout on for the climb and it was almost effortless and to add to that the bike scooted right up and over all the funky rocks on the way up blue like they weren’t even there. Maybe because it was early in the ride and I had more energy but that section has always been challenging for me and I’ve only ever cleaned it once before and that was on the stumpjumper.
We regrouped on the rock ledge at the top of blue and surprisingly it was a short wait despite the large group so we crossed the fire road and kept climbing blue, a nice long stretch with a climb at the start then some terrific rocky downhill. I feel like I’m still a little sketchy on the downhills with the hardtail and although I think I’m getting smoother I feel bad for anyone riding behind me! 10 years of riding a full suspension leaves me trying to puzzle out how to push the hardtail down technical descents faster without getting pitched off. I decided to be as aggressive as I dared and had many moments when I was on that precipice when you think you are in control but you know you are one pedal stroke away from the best descent ever or you could be decorating a tree at any moment. I think Mary had one of those moments, she said she flipped off the bike but she must have landed like a cat because she didn’t have any dirt on her and I saw several spectacular crashes tonight and they were all very dirty.
After finishing up on blue we took a right on the fire road, went over the steel bridge, climbed the fern trail (like a blur!), down tinti, over the wooden bridge, and bam, almost to the reservoir a branch whipped back and took Steves glasses right off his face! So 13 riders (and Shadow the weimereiner) tried to find the glasses, it took about 10 minutes but Dawn found them a couple feet ahead of where Steve stopped on the trail. We were afraid they were slingshot into one of the pine trees. Disaster averted and we passed the res, rode by 2 parents and 2 baby ducklings (adorable!), went straight at the intersection and started the loop that would take us up to the lookout. This was a nice long stretch of climbing and at the top we were greeted by a roaring bonfire. I would have given anything for a marshmallow to toast! We regrouped here then started the descent back to the cars, it was getting a bit dim but we ended up finishing just before it got too dark to see. I was really glad to see Mary, Randell, and Steve tonight, sometimes on the EMS rides I am the only one not wearing baggies…And I’m not a roadie! Fun times. – Jill