An Uneasy Note from Fatty: I admit to being apprehensive about writing this post. I worry that it will come off as overly sentimental about a group of guys who make it their business to avoid sentimentality. The thing is, though, one of the rules I made for myself about this blog is that when I thought about something enough times that I was aware I was thinking about it, I’d write it down and publish it. So here we go.
In my adult life, I’ve lived in three places: Carmel, Indiana; Sammamish, Washington, and Utah County (Provo, Orem, and now Alpine), Utah. I started in Utah, moved out to Indiana, moved back to Utah, moved out to Washington, and am now back in Utah.
The thing is, it’s not Utah per se that keeps bringing me back. As far as places go, I think I could be just as happy in Colorado, Wyoming, or Idaho.
Why I’m sticking around is the Core Team.
What is the Core Team?
I don’t know if most people my age (41, for those who don’t know or remember) has a tight group of friends who share very common interests. When I look around, I kind of suspect not.
I think, actually, that it’s kind of rare.
But that’s what I’ve got here: a small group of friends, all strong riders, all extremely smart and funny. Most of us have known each other for more than ten years. And when we ride together — which used to be pretty often, now it’s not quite as often — I know it’s going to be a good ride.
Last weekend, Gary had us all over to his family’s cabin at Fish Lake, near Richfield, Utah. The cabin is at around 9000 feet, sits right beside a little stream and overlooks a beautiful lake. It may be the most perfect spot for a cabin in the whole world.
I had never been there before, and had no idea of whether the riding would be good.
On Friday afternoon, on the way to the cabin, we stopped in Richfield, at Gary’s old dirt biking stomping grounds. Gary then took us on a big ol’ loop where we were the only ones even considering riding bikes — the trail is definitely an ATV playground. Loose and rocky, it was a fun place to test out your ability to lock up both your wheels and ski down a ridiculously steep, powdery slope.
We ate huge at a place that called itself a Mexican restaraunt but didn’t have any food I would call Mexican, and then we drove to the cabin, crashing out at midnight.
So the next morning, we got up and Gary took us on a scenic singletrack and doubletrack epic — the kind of ride where you see giant vistas and get a sense of how big the world is.
We did a long climb, followed by a fast descent punctuated with dozens of woop-de-doos. We rode across a double watercrossing that was so deep it went up to my toptube — and yet, amazingly, I cleaned it.
By the end of the ride, I was tired — but not cooked — and happy and mellow. We went to the restaraunt at a nearby lodge, where most all of us got the double cheeseburger (Bob got some weird chicken plate, smothered in gravy — ick).
We ate, talked for a while, and went home. And that was pretty much that.
Objectively, it was not the most incredible pair of rides I’ve ever been on. I routinely ride on better singletrack locally.
So here’s my recommendation: If you’ve got a Core Team of your own, take a moment to consider how lucky you are.
And ride with them as often as you can.
PS: I’ll get to the Ugly Jersey Contest Winners on Friday. I’m still deliberating. Though I must say, there are some jerseys out there that are uglier than I would have ever thought possible. Nice submissions, everyone!