Jim and I after the Death Ride
I'm really glad I went on the "Death Ride". It was absolutely ridiculous, but I laughed so hard during it that it goes down as one of the most fun rides I've done. I was pretty unsure about it when we got there, but everyone was really cool. The beginning of the ride was a decent uphill on a dirt road. We then turned left into a trail, which was so undeveloped it was tough to see what was even underneath all of the brush. We keep going uphill.. it was a lot of that. The trail flattened out into a fun, boggy mess... it was flat but technical. It was just tough because there were around 15 of us. That's way too people for one trail, but I got used to it rather quickly. I got to ride alongside THE famous Doug Burnside most of the way. He's been leading these Tuesday night rides for a REALLY long time, and this is his last summer before he moves to Mexico. What a funny old guy.. he was cracking wise jokes and comments the whole way up. He even hit my tire while we were going uphill.. which I replied "HEY now!!" to. Once we got on the rolly part of the trail, there were some puddles of mud which I happily flew through, splashing through the deepest part I could find. (I LOVE going through creeks and mud when riding.. some odd kind of entertainment comes from that) So, at one point I said to Jim, "it's not a mtn bike ride until you get muddy!" Soon after that, there was a larger mud puddle. Everyone went through the path of least resistance on the right, but I decided I wanted to go right through the middle of it and get soaked... well, instead I completely WIPED OUT in the middle of the puddle. It was HYSTERICAL. My bike and I flew off to the right, and I was laughing so hard I could barely get up. One guy who witnessed it said "Aw man! Where's the camera?!" I got some brownie points off of the guys for pulling that one. There was a VERY steep, long descent after that part of the trail, at which I was side by side with the infamous Doug. I went ahead of him, very focused and trying to stay upright. There was a huge rut that ran through the downhill that I did not want to get my tire stuck in.. it could have been disastrous. At one point, I began to lose my balance and thought I was going for an endo (over the handlebars) crash... but I was able to keep it together and slow down enough to clip out and abort the bike. It was the most impressive anti-crash I've ever done. Doug was also very impressed (he was right behind me, watching the close call unfold..) After that impressive downhill, we went into the "mile long swamp" and dang, they weren't kidding. It didn't look so bad at first, but the water would go from 3 inches deep to 2 feet deep from one step to the next. The mud just sucked you in. There were quite a few swampy parts that we tried to ride.. of the five I only made it all the way through two of them. We'll just say all that mud that I fell into earlier that ride was washed out, and so was my bike! I went as deep as my waist in some of the water. Someone commented, "ok, I can see the that ridiculous downhill being the 'Death Ride', but this part [the swamp] is just the 'Dumb Ride'". The marsh went through thick brush, tussocks, and everything you could think of. At one point, I went to go lift my bike up to carry it, and my entire back wheel just FELL OFF. I was slightly freaked out, because it could have been extremely bad for me to lose that tire WHILE I was riding. But someone helped me put it back on and everything was good from then on.
I could go on and on about the ride.. but I won't go on any further. Everyone on the ride was really fun. They all had very easy-going personalities and were out there to have fun. When I went to pee in the woods, I came back and they had hid my bike. That's a sure sign of some good humor. The Tuesday night rides are definitely something I want to do again.
I'm heading to Barrow tomorrow evening!! Will be back Friday night. Have a good few days, blog readers! :)