Monday, August 31, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
In other news, I'm closing in on closing in on a 29er single-speed, probably the Redline Monocog Flight. I'm looking for something else to do this fall and it occurred to me that it might be cool to do a little more running than I have of late, and to also ride a single-speed. Not sure why, but at least the combo will be new to me. Still undecided about this year's Mount Baker Hill Climb. Having trouble getting as skinny as I need to be. These pizzas and cookies and such keep finding their way in front of my face.
In other other news, got a story in tomorrow's Seattle Times about me hike to Cascade Pass-Sahale Arm.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Highly recommended, and it's the main subject of my next Seattle Times story which hits newstands and the WorldWide InnerGoogle next Thursday, Aug. 27. (Northwest Weekend section.) Below, see a ptarmigan. The sea of peaks.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Team Unattacked hit the south side of Galbraith last night linking up Woopsie Woodle with two of the Three Pigs. On the way out we dun throwed in Lower Bob's and Karma fer fun but by then the sun had dropped a little and it was too dark to get any good footage. Enjoy. Song is "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I've got bisque on the brain not just because I'm hungry — it's almost 5 p.m. and we've been mountain biking off and on since 8 a.m. — but because Capitol's clay-rich soil has a reddish tint. Add rain and this Mount Molly Loop trail we're on becomes a slippery, snaking trough of what looks like a thick, creamy red soup. Yum-yum. Except, as I'm finding out again and again, it doesn't taste like bisque. The mud has worked its way through each Lycra layer and polypro piece I'm wearing, saturating every square millimeter of my person (too much information, I know), including the inside of my nostrils and no matter how tight-lipped I am, my mouth. Yuck.
When the four of us stop to regroup, it looks like we've spent the last half-hour hurling ladles of soup at each other. Our faces are speckled with dirty dots — Capitol Forest freckles, I'll call them.
"We're in the stomach of the cow here, boys," says Brian Mahon, 47, an upbeat, tireless rider and talker, who's responsible for today's ride. "It's warm and dreary and wet."
Capitol State Forest is a huge, 90,000-acre public-access playground crisscrossed with hundreds of miles of multi-use trails about 10 miles southwest of Olympia. We're on the fourth and final stage of what I'm calling the Tour de Mahon, fun places where Mahon and his friends mountain bike in Southwest Washington. Mahon, who's a physician's assistant in Castle Rock, about 50 miles north of Portland, calls himself the unofficial trail ambassador of this region.
"Everything down here from I-5 to the coast is my domain," he says, laughing.
From there, we met up with several of Mahon's riding buddies at a couple places called Stella Ridge and Growler's Gulch, near Longview and Castle Rock, respectively. They're private land owned by Weyerhaeuser on which non-motorized public use — mountain bikes, horseback riding, hiking — is allowed.
"I'm going to try it, Gramps!" says 14-year-old Ryan Handy, eyeing a skinny 285-foot bridge of fallen cedar logs that have been placed end-to-end and which, to an adolescent, appear just itching to be ridden.
And because no motorized vehicles are allowed on the trails, they remain surprisingly mud-free. We're riding on a Sunday after a downpour-laden Saturday and there's hardly a speck of mud to be found. Which brings us back to Capitol State Forest.
"Ride the rut," Gary Klein says after watching me skid sideways and tip over into a trough of muddy red soup on Capitol's Mount Molly Loop. Klein lives in Chehalis and has joined us for the Capitol Forest stage of the tour. "When you stay in the rut, you're already at the lowest point, so there's nothing for you to fall in to."
The ruts are deep gouges from motorcycles and ATVs, which are allowed on this trail from April through October. Though your natural inclination is to want to stay out of the ruts, gravity and the mud pull you in and when you fight it, you fall. At least I do.
We end the Tour de Mahon as Mahon ends all rides — by breaking out the cupcakes. But not just any cupcakes.
Mountain-biking in Southwest Washington
Mount Molly Loop at Capitol State Forest: Take I-5 to Exit 95, about 10 miles south of Olympia. Go west on Maytown Road for 3.6 miles through Littlerock. Turn right on Waddell Creek Road and follow for 3.6 miles to C-Line Road. Go left and follow for 3.3 miles to a wide parking area on the left just before a T-intersection. Pedal the gravel road to the right for about a half-mile to the signed Mount Molly Loop trail on the left.
"Mountain Bike! Southwest Washington: A Guide to Trails & Adventure" by John Zilly (Sasquatch Books) provides trail descriptions for mountain-bike routes in Southwest Washington including Capitol State Forest.
These groups offer information and camaraderie as well as organized rides to places such as Capitol State Forest:
Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club, Seattle www.bbtc.org/
Single Track Mind Cycling Club, Milton www.stmcc.org/
Capital Bicycling Club, Olympia www.capitalbicycleclub.org/
Saturday, August 08, 2009
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
But back to the above. Last Sunday, Mellow Johnny Clark, Scott (T.C.) Young did the Glacier to Baker and back ride on another one of these spectacular summer days that we've been basking in since what seems like May. Those last 10 miles are a long, hard slog that never gets any easier no matter how many times I've ridden it. Still undecided about whether or not I'll do Ride 542 next month.