The things we laid do not amount to much
made of abandoned wood, loose stones and such
the heat we had the last few weeks accelerated our season. blueberries came and went quickly and this years haul only amounted to 14 lbs. the trails have been buffed out and beautiful. the respective crews yank at me from various directions. every weekend a choice has to be made and one group ends up disappointed...or is it i who's disappointed? i have a hundred trail rides i want to do and a thousands trail miles still to run. i feel both pulls equally.
the ghetto ride is a willamette valley tradition. the email list monitored by the czar of a local dirt ride shop makes sure the your offroad skills allow you to come along. it's frequently edited and folks are deleted off of it all the time. i've managed to stay on the list despite my infrequent attendance. the warning at the start of the ghetto ride is: if you get dropped and don't know where you are, turn around the go back the way you came. it starts late and is a "no light" ride meant for the hammerheads who have full time jobs. late start and we race what sunlight we have to get as much in as we can in the light allotted. back light on the trail is usually the culprit, but we do what we can. i got some scoffing from a few folks who didn't know me when i pulled in. the few who did were glad to see me. diamond dave came over with a handshake and wanted hear about States. The gravel road start to warm up on remind me of the thursday nighter out of sycamore cycles in pisgah. you spin your tits off from the shop to the stables, short regroup, then start climbing. the bend hammerheads were off the front on carbon hardtails early on the climb. i settled in with a bro, matty, who'd shared some trail time with me last fall who was also on the single speed 29'er and we picked our way up the gravel and found a nice rhythm. cadence and torque are your friend for sure. i was surprised at how quickly guys were popping up ahead. matty divulged that this shit happens every time when the bendites come over and with every curve in the road we worked our way up. got a shocked look from diamond dave and whoop from decker when we came around the last curve that dead ends into the singletrack. we were now 7 deep and ready to hit it. i hit the trail last and followed. i watched some guy, ben, ghost ride his carbon scalpel because of a flat tire. some folks take the ghetto too seriously. decker and diamond dave were soon out of sight and matty and i continued to find lines that complimented the rigid rides. big wheels continue to rule in my world. topping out on the hardesty summit, the views of the pending sunset were starting to form. we had 35-40 minutes tops. descending off of hardesty to eula ridge is full on. i could hear brakes screaming up ahead and the skid marks in the turns showed me that diamond dave was showing off for our visitor from bend, (a former us champ at the super d, he reminded us after the ride) i was as pinned as i have ever been, and managed to take it a step further. inches away from big disaster and keeping speed the whole time. right turn on south willamette and it's singletrack and good climbing back to the cars. the last minutes in the dying light were spent putting the swamper on the rack and opening my beer. the czar was there seeing who adhered to the "no light" rule and lambasted anyone who misjudged their riding time and were out after dark. i felt fortunate to get in just under the time check. matty informed me that was the furthest they had been in awhile for the ghetto and that this was a good day. right on.
email waiting for me when i got home was from the czar. inviting me back next week. i declined. felt too rushed. a little too fast and a little too elitist. i think i'll come back in a few days and do the same ride. stop and pick some thimbleberries. have a snack on hardesty and take a few photos. more my style.