Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Living in a van (camper) down by the river

I swear I'm not going to live in this camper. At least not right now. But still, I'm pretty psyched to start fixing it up and getting it ready for some shred-ventures. But alright, how did I come to acquire such a fine specimen of Americana?

I got a text from Will a couple weeks ago: "Do you want my sister's camper? It needs a lot of work."

I was driving up to Marji Gesick at the time, but I immediately told him I wanted it, pending a space to store it. Turns out my mom is not a fan (at all) of campers in the yard, so my house was out.

For a while I thought I was going to have to pass on it, but some things transpired and let's just say the 'ol girl has a place to stay for now while I fix it up. Huge thanks to Sally and Craig for the camper and thanks to their family for a place to keep it while I restore it. I must say, Will has surprisingly good camper-driving and backing-up abilities.

Name still pending. It needs to be sexy, but not that sexy. 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Marji Gesick 100

I've never had as much consistent fun in a race as I had in the Marji Gesick 100. When I think back to long races I've done, there's usually a roller coaster of emotions. Take for example, Gravel Worlds 300 last month. There was a time in that race when I was having the time of my life: racing into a gas station at 2 AM in Kansas and hurriedly buying supplies. And then, there was a time when I was completely broken: sitting on the sidewalk outside a gas station eating a breakfast burrito at 8 AM, with still over 80 miles to go.
A really scenic field on the pre-ride with Stik, Lochner, and Simon (left to right)

For me, Marji Gesick wasn't like that at all. It started off fun, was fun in the middle, and finished fun. I think it was because of all the singletrack. I never had the chance to think too much or become bored; I was focused on partying on singletrack all day long. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Great Divide Chapter 3: Red Meadows to Lima

This stretch started at Red Meadows Pass, just north of Whitefish, Montana, and goes all the way until Rawlins, Wyoming. Included in this stretch is the brief jaunt into Idaho, lots of high desert riding, and the infamous Great Basin. Looking back on the trip now, having finished it almost a month ago, this section was some of my favorite riding. I think the reason why is because it really felt like the "heart" of the trip. We had started quite a while ago, but still had a long ways to go. Not being able to really see the start or finish was my favorite part about the trip.

I've said it a lot, but I really still don't have words to describe the trip. And I'm being over-dramatic like I won the lottery or something, I just mean that it's hard to find the right descriptor. Sure, I'm thankful to have Will to do it with. I feel accomplished for having ridden the route. But that's not the whole picture. I hope I get to do more trips like this in the future, but no matter how many more big trips I do - this one - being my first one and doing it with the perfect riding partner, is really special.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Something something rocks and frands

One week until the Marji Gesick 100 in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As the name would suggest, it's a 100 mile race, and it's mostly singletrack (I guess the name wouldn't suggest that part). I've never done it, but supposedly it's an extremely slow course with tight and twisty (and mebbe technical also, but that's too many t-words) trails. 

Unlike most 100 mile mountain bike races which take anywhere from 6.5-9 hours for the top riders to finish, in this one, typically only a handful of people finish under 12 hours. In fact, if you finish under 12 hours, you get a belt buckle and a crisp dollar bill. I like moneys. And belt buckles, because obviously I wear a belt all the time as a hip college student.

But anyways. That's next weekend. This is this weekend. On Friday I rode the Moraine trails with Anthony and Russ, two friends on the Syndicate team I'm on. I sort of brought a plastic butter knife to a gun fight (hardtail singlespeed with heavy plus tires), but it was fun to open up the throttle fully while chasing the full squashes. It wasn't a big ride (although of course it was fun), and I didn't take any pictures, so it doesn't really make good blergh content.

For Saturday, I had planned a big backcountry trail ride down at Laurel with Stik and Jesu. I picked up Stik at his house and we met Jesu down at the classic Camp Run Road parking lot. I made a new route to try, so instead of climbing up Pterodactyl Trail (or Yeti Trail, whichever name you prefer), we went up the Mountain Streams Trail. It was a grind, but totally cleanable (next-time). Stik and I each had to push our bikes for about 10 feet once, but it was our mistake.

The opening Mountain Streams climb. The not-so-washed-out and flatter sections at the top.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

A Not-Shenandoah Bike Weekend

I was all signed up for the Shenandoah 100km/100mi double-up when the email about camping at Stokesville being canceled came out. Oof. Not ideal, but Thad and I decided to split a hotel room along with Rob and Chrissy. 

The next day, I get a text from Rob saying "I hope that hotel was refundable".

I knew exactly what he meant, and I opened up my email to find that the Shenandoah 100 was completely canceled. Well, there goes my plans for the weekend. I guess the good news is that since Dicky and I won't be racing at the same venue with our similar full squashy abominations we call "sangle speeds", mebbe behk gods not so angry.

Note, this was not my plan for the weekend. But still a plan nonetheless.