Grace Under Fire

After seeing enough folks struggle (okay, really it’s mostly been me who felt like a scared little idiot sheep every time I had to hoist a bike to one of these nifty racks) so I had Queen Master Lindsay give a quick tutorial. The cliff notes: 1) stand on the right side of the bike 2) reach over and grab 3) lift and drop in handle bar spots. Bada bing bada boom. (Look for a special guest appearance at the end…)

Here’s to you, Tom.

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Tom

So today is Tom’s birthday. I happen to be in Bend (where he last lived); riding my mountain bike – a sport he first introduced me to, and so, of course, I think of him. Which makes me happy; because he was amazing and changed my life for the better. And sad, because we never got that one last ride together.

And if we had, I would have him help me with my cornering. I’ve been figuring it out slowly, but I know he’d use his patient, mellow voice, to help me do it better. Oh, and I’d get to follow him up a hill, staring at his calves….(focus, focus). And he’d laugh and get all twinkle-eyed when I wiped out trying (I would laugh, too). And he’d gleam his subtle pride when I finally whipped a corner like a pro.

And so here’s to you Tom.

I had a really good ride today. It was beautiful here in Bend. I got a few of those corners. I hit some kickers. I tried to pretend I was a climber so that I’d forget how much the hills hurt. And I thought of you.

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Excited to find “vintage” skis on the side of the road.

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Tom.

 

Post Nirvana

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Sweet love shines down on us at the top of Mobius in the early morning.

I don’t know what nirvana looks or feels like. And I probably never will.

But what I do know, is trail nirvana. And you can find it, too, by riding a sweet little 3ish-hour ditty that hits all the greatest hits of lower Post Canyon with nary an overlap (ok, just one, little, teensy, tinsy, one). I call it – Post Nirvana. Basically, it’s nirvana that goes beyond nirvana because it’s POST nirvana (see how that works?).

A couple years ago I lie in bed wondering – how can I connect all my favorite trails in lower Post Canyon? Perhaps you’ve considered this yourself, or maybe it seems a strange thing to do while lying in bed. Regardless, this is what the Gorge does to some of us. We go adventure and then drift off to sleep dreaming of more.

So there I was wondering how to make it work. I’d start at the bottom of Seven Streams, of course, and work my way up. But then how to get in both Mobius and Cardiac Hill? (The Slog as I call it). I want to ride Kleeway and also Mitchell, not to mention all of 8-Track and, obviously, my beloved Charley’s. But I need efficiency. A clean route, not sloppy with overlaps and double backs. So I started to lay out the route and with the help of sweet honey’s suggestion to use the 140 road as a link I came up with the following:

1. Up Seven Streams
2. Up Mobius
3. Down Spaghetti
4. Up Charley’s (sweet, sweet Charley’s)
5. Down Toilet Bowl (from the toilet, mind you).
6. Cut over to Cardiac Hill (don’t you dare get on Kleeway yet, that’s for later)
7. Up Cardiac Hill
8. Through Family Man
9. Up Lower 8-Track
10. Up Upper 8-Track
11. Down Bad Motor Scooter
12. Down Upper GP (hello Moments of Silence)
13. Down Lower GP
14. Head left onto the 140 Rd. (I always take wrong turns on it)
15. When you get to Post Flats staging area, cut over to those trails that connect to Mitchell Ridge.
16. Down Mitchell Ridge
(*Now, at this point, some of you – myself included – are going to arrive in that upper parking lot and you’re really gonna wanna just be done, and it’d be so easy to just head down, but TRUST ME, YOU HAVE IT IN YOU! Turn that bike towards Cardiac Hill and hit it.)
17. Go all the way up Cardiac back to Family Man.
18. Get over to Middle School and take that to Float On
19. Down Float On (humming Modest Mouse)
20. Down Kleeway
21. Down 7 Streams and YOU’VE DONE IT! Go buy a beer with your buddies and celebrate the feeling of awesomeness.

I call this Post Nirvana 1.0 – I’ve yet to see if I can reconfigure it to add in some of the new stuff like Mix-Tape, Eldorado, Sister Wife etc. I’m open to suggestions if you have them. Until then, this makes me pretty happy and maybe it’ll make you happy, too. I’ll be riding it tomorrow morning at 7am – if you’re awake, come join us for any or all of it! Or lemme know when you wanna give it a go and I’ll pack some extra snacks and join you (Doug? Jimmy? Come on!)

And one last little hurrah, because Old Man Graka is back in the country and back on his bike! Thank goodness – cuz he can be a real grouch when he’s not riding.

Go get it y’all! The dirt’s real nice and vine maples are glowing!

 

Butts Alive!

It ain’t just for the ladies! Here’s to fully-firing ass muscles for all! (Kipp, you’re cool if I share this, right???)

And if you’re wondering at the recent obsession with strong backsides, read this (and then, go donate to OPB, cuz it’s fall Pledge and you know you listen and have totally started sentences with ‘so I heard on the radio…’) You can also see the fabulous Julie “Jane Fonda” Caldwell rockin’ some backside busters in these 2 posts: Take That Dead Butts and AssMasters Part Deux.

Now go wake that butt up, folks!

Wallow in it!

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This is Ashley. I think she was really hungry that day.

Well I’ll be darned. What a patch of fortuitousness. Yesterday I met a mister Ryan Carruth. A seemingly kindred soul of curiosity and vulnerability – with a willingness to go long distances on 2-wheels (if that sounds good ladies…he’s single and open to finding an adventure partner, if you know what I mean…)

Now, today, I got to read a most beautifully-written and thoughtful article by Ryan’s badass sister, Ashley. I am crushed out on her writing, her sense of adventure, and her appreciation for dirt. But more than that, it’s her reflection on our wild landscapes and our place among them that will stick with me. She says it better than I would and I encourage you to take a moment and read her article. And then, give yourself full permission to turn off that computer and go for a hike, a bike, or just spend a quiet moment outside. As Ashley reminds us, we are just “a blip on the geologic timeline” of these places we love and so it sure seems that every second spent in them is pretty darn special.

 

And a Guitar

I was getting a little early morning work done when lo and behold I see a guy climb out of car across the street. He has a fat-tire bike and a variety of black gear bags. After the car pulls away I watch as he carefully places each bag in its appropriate spot – on his bike. Clearly, he’d done this before. Not long thereafter we are in conversation. Turns out he has been riding for months. Carrying all he needs on his 2-wheeled steed. Ryan’s his name, bikepacking is his game (although it’s really a means to another end as you’ll see). Quick to make honest conversation, curious to boot, he needed a ride to Portland and so Tate I loaded up his gear and we headed into the city – hearing and sharing stories along the way. Nice to meet ya Ryan – safe and fantastic travels to you!

(An a loving, long distance bit of love to Old Man Graka. May you heal fast and get back to bikepacking soon yourself!)