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.

I wasn't really feeling too great on that first big climb, and Stik was swinging pretty hard, so I was in the hurt-locker for a while. But probably not hurting as much as Jesu. #prayersforJesu. All kidding aside, Jesu is actually riding really strong right now.

We did some grassy roads to the hiking bridge over the Turnpike, then headed for the first big trail downhill. On the way, I spotted a big black bear in the woods and pointed it out. It was a couple feet up in a tree when it noticed us, and it quickly got down and ran away. Black bears are really cool and not particularly dangerous (I think there's only 1 death per year in all of North America from them). 

Jesu, having never seen a bear before, was extremely excited. Stik was a little more cautious, and I was somewhere in between. Jesu seemed to want to run up to it and try to pet it. He wanted to see it again to get a picture, but we had no such luck.

Stik on the Grove Run descent

After the bear, we settled into a pattern of rocks, rocks, and more rocks. So I guess not so much of a pattern. Grove Run Trail was a sweet off-camber descent, and the Wolf Rocks loop was really fun. There were also some phenomenal rock gap sections on the trails, where you rode between huge boulders with barely enough clearance for handlebars. At some points my 720mm bars would scrape against the rocks and almost get me stuck.

The actual Wolf Rocks overlook

At the Laurel ski warming hut, some friendly search-and-rescue people let us fill our bottles from their big water jug, which saved us the hassle of filtering water from the next stream. The way back was a lot more doubletrack and gravel, so it was definitely faster. As we neared the end, happy Jesu turned into sad Jesu and he was searching for the fastest way back to the car. He found it once we got to Camp Run, and he rode the gravel down to the cars instead of the trail.

Stik somewhere in Laurel and Jesu crossing the turnpike

Stik and I randomly saw Mike C. working on his new house on Camp Run Road, and Mike quickly got changed into riding clothes and hopped on his enduro rig to rip down Super Holy F--k Trail with us (yeth, that is actual name).

I've never ridden that downhill so fast, but I gotta say, the Karate Monkey with a 140mm fork can rip pretty good, even compared a full squash enduro behk.

I guess I should probably rest a little before Marji. The rain this morning is a good excuse to not rip in the trails or do a hard ride, so I'll probably take advantage of that and watch some Sportsball today. My team is a clear favorite to defeat the Goat Wrangler this week in fantasy football.

If Blogger works, here's Mike C. hitting a drop

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