“Mountain Biking” is too big a term.
Consider this. Last Saturday, a small group of friends — Dug, Kenny, Dan, Racer — and I went mountain biking. It was a seven-hour epic circumnavigation of Mount Timpanogos: thirty seven miles, the first 22 of which took almost six hours (yes, we averaged about four miles per hour) because it was so brutally steep.
Dug and Racer had their cameraphones with them, and so got a few pictures.
The ride starts with a ride along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, which connects to Grove — a narrow, steep, shale-strewn trail with a clff going up to your left and, often, a cliff going down to your right. Here’s Racer riding up:
After about 2000 feet of climbing (which means you’re a third of the way up), there’s a stream crossing. Here’s Kenny, looking sassy.
And here’s Dug, putting the stream to more practical use.
After about four hours, you get a brief break from climbing as you descend from the top of Timpooneke to the Timpooneke trailhead (watch out for bears!). During this descent, I took a hairpin too tight and augured in, briefly dislocating my shoulder. This happens so often that by the time Dug got out his camera to take a picture, I was composed and smiling again.
For those who have been wondering, that helmet’s a black Giro Atmos, by the way.
Next up is a climb to Julie Andrews Meadow. Yes, it’s really named that. The urge to spin around, arms flung wide, and sing “The Hills Are Alive” is nearly irresistable. Here’s Dan — doesn’t he look like he’s about to break into song?
Once you get to the Summit, your six hours of climbing earn you about twenty minutes of descending, at which point you’re at the Sundance Ski Resort having a giant macadamia nut cookie (me) or a beer (Kenny):
Also last Saturday — 250 miles away — my brother-in-law Rocky went mountain biking.
Kellene sent me some pictures, though I’ll have to improvise the story. Here’s Rocky, riding down an impossibly steep, boulder-strewn pitch toward certain death.
And here’s Rocky, again. This time he’s riding down an impossibly steep, boulder-strewn pitch toward certain death.
And here’s Rocky, now with his bike so impossibly positioned that I can confidently say he is one single moment from his demise.
And finally, here’s Rocky, evidently committing suicide:
So here’s the thing. If someone tells you they went out road biking, you have a good idea of what went on. You may not have an idea of how far, how fast, or how steep, but you know what road biking looks like.
If someone tells you they went mountain biking, on the other hand, you still don’t know anything.
PS: In these photos, Rocky is wearing the exact same kind of Camelbak I wore when racing the Kokopelli Trail (i.e., a ginormous one). The primary differences are:
- His Camelbak is fuller than mine was for a 20-hour ride
- He’s out on a two-hour ride
This leads to an interesting question: What is Rocky carrying? My current theories include:
- A picnic lunch for 12
- A parachute
- 6 gallons of water (Rocky sweats at a rate of 1 pint / minute)
- A large tub of Whupass Jam
- A very extensive first aid kit
By all means, you should feel free to speculate too.