Fossil Ridge Kicks My Ass Again

I am trying to take it easy. I am tired and beat up, I just need some slow down and recover time. I really haven’t been riding much, maybe a couple times a week, no running, just short mellow walks with the doggies. Ahh, relax, chill, sounds real nice eh? Well no it isn’t, it is kicking me in the head. Pedaling Is My Prozac! I am just not as good of a person when I don’t get out and ride, and ride….

Yesterday at work I was sick of fixing bikes, answering questions, smiling on the outside when I wanted to scream on the inside. I knew I needed a bike ride, a good hard long bike ride up in the woods. Only thing was the weather was looking a bit wild, wet and cold! I made myself set the alarm to get up at 4:AM and get the wheels rolling. When I went to sleep the chance for precipitation was 40%, when I got up it had jumped to 80%. Shit! Pure Shit! I ate, drank coffee and walked the dogs. Well at least half the sky was clear of clouds, it wasn’t too cold and I am definitely not made of sugar, so hell yeah I’m going.

Riding east on Highway 50 I race the clouds coming out of the west. Soon the moon shines free and lights up the road. Maybe if I can keep the hammer down I can beat the storm, well at least part of the way home? Only as I turn north east, then north onto dirt, the clouds overcome the moon. I can still see some open sky. I shout “NO, Not Yet” as rain drops fall lightly even as the sunrise begins to lite up the world. I ponder turning around, this could get ugly, but I am not too interested in a road ride, stubbornly I just keep climbing.

Well it rains alright. The storm opens up into a steady downpour as I break treeline. The clay in the soil turns to gumbo mud, I am barely able to ride here and there. But at 11-12,000′, with mud ladened tires, wet rocks and my tired legs, it ends up that a healthy bit of walking gets me across the high traverse. I come to my option for bailing out, straight down a jeep road to pavement. I don’t stop or even flinch, “have faith Jefe” I mumble and keep going.

The rain eases up, the soil changes and no longer sticks to my bike. The rocks and roots are still plentiful and slick as ever, but it is so much fun to try and ride. I scare myself, nearly going over the bars a few times and sliding all over the place. Still I surprise myself at how much of it my tires flow up and over. With much love of this place, I smile as the familiar trail winds along, so many rides, years and years of adventures flash in my eyes. Cornering through the Jedi aspens, golden leaves paving the trail, one rock garden after another. Spinning, grunting, slipping, laughing with only the forest for company.

As the trail descends the ground seems dryer and dryer. Once out into the sage it seems like it didn’t rain at all. I push a bit and crank out the last ten miles home. The effort feels so good, standing up mashing the pedals hard. Railing corner after corner as if my bike knows every turn, every rock. The air is warmer and I can feel the sweat on my back, the dryness in my throat. It all is so real, so right now, I feel so real, so alive. Damn it sure feels good.

sunrise magic

sunrise magic

slick and sketchy

slick and sketchy

fossil ridge with rain 9-22 058

12,000′

in the clouds

in the clouds

rock garden madness

rock garden madness

ok maybe I wasn't alone....

ok maybe I wasn’t alone….

aspen trail love

aspen trail love

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