Eight brave souls, seven male, one female took up the challenge of what has become a yearly pilgrimage up Jolly Mtn. In its third year the size of the group continues to grow as do the tails that come out of the ride.
The day started at 6:45 am for me as the group was meeting at 7:30 to make the 1.5 hour drive to the trail head (TH). We all packed into 3 cars and were only 15 minutes or so behind schedule. As anyone who’s done a ride like this knows schedules don’t mean a thing. Don’t make plans for that evening; you might not be home for them.
Coffee was acquired in North Bend and the next stop was the parking lot where FR 4305 meets up with Salmon la Sac Road. No epic ride starts smoothly. I was already late to the parking ride so when Hot Carl announced he just ripped the value stem out of his tube, no one was surprised.
We rolled out at 10:18 am. It wasn’t long before I noticed while filming there were only 7 of us. Later, 9 miles that is, we found out the tube Carl put in to replace the first one had a hole in it. If that wasn’t bad enough as Carl caught us then attempted to stop he almost fell over since one of his cleat bolts fell out and his cleat was spinning. We took a bolt out of Robs bottle cage and left Carl once more and started the climb without him. We all agreed he was the strongest so we didn’t feel bad leaving him behind.
The climb was much easier for me this year but I forgot all the tough hike-a-bike sections after you see Sasse Mtn. Trail. The views were amazing, which made it hard not to want to stop and just stare. The highlight of my climb was cleaning a long double track climb that I almost made last year but had slipped out on a rock right near the top.
We went up and up until finally we hit snow. We knew from other reports there would be snow but we didnt expect to find as much as we did. Bikes were shouldered, toe cleats dug into the soft soil, sweat rolled down our foreheads as we trudge our way through the mounds of snow. Once out of the trees the snow was gone and the sun was out. Only a small portion of the trail from the saddle where Jolly Creek comes in is rideable so the going was slow. We reached the summit at 6443 and it was time for lunch.
After lunch and some friendly banter it was time to back track to the West Fork of the Teanaway River Trail. A few of us attempted riding the tight switchbacks that leave the summit, even fewer of us made it. I always try to do a little something on each ride to make the trail better for the next person and today it was diverting water run off from the snow melt off the trail by using my foot to dig a water channel. It beats just sitting while waiting for others.
Now that we were descending we made good time to the West Fork trail. Once there we got in pecking order of who was the best at descending. We tore off downhill with a cloud of dust. The breeze felt great as we cut down the valley, switch backing our way to the river. When the river came into sight we stopped to fill our bladders. All of us were either low or completely out of water. As I approached my bike again Alex said, I saw this thing in the trail and thought you might want it. It was my camera which ejected from my feed bag on my bars! It had a few more scratches on it and was missing the chrome cover on the trigger. Ill have to remember to subtract one more life from its nine. Its got to be like a cat, since its taking so many beatings and keeps going.
After our water break the real fun stuff began. The trail gets less steep and really starts to flow. We blasted downward and soon were all laughing and yelling like school children at different events along the way. For some it was falling off in a ditch. For myself, I was visually amazed at Robs save of a life time where he started to high sided to the right, unclipped his right foot planting it on a large tree, then pushed off it regaining his balance and continuing down the trail without losing any speed or forward momentum. He looked like Bart Wellens trying to kick that drunken spectator. It made me wish I had a helmet camera.
As with any long ride we forgot much of the features of the trail. Constantly we thought we were through the worst parts only to come to another exposed area. Normally this isnt a problem but Joanne is afraid of heights. Unfortunately for her there was a lot of walking. This meant lots of time for us guys to soak our feet in the river, or if your Busto to try and clean a certain river crossing. (See the video, its great). We finally made it out of the single track and back to fire roads late in the day. Everyone was hungry and in need of a beer.
As everyone knows boys will be boys. We are no different. When the trail went back up hill the attacks started on the last climb. Hot Carl took the KOM points with Alex close behind. I will admit Im to blame since last year I was the one who had a go at it, starting the trend. Once to the top we regrouped once more and started the last section. Again it wasnt as hard as I remembered and we were back to the cars in no time.
Beers came out as chamois came off. (Wow that sounds wrong) We were all in need of food, so off to Roslyn it was. Food was acquired at The Brick with large amounts of fluids before the long drive back. I finally laid my head back on the pillow at 11 pm. It was a long day, no an Epic day. A day that defines summer and mountain biking.
Photos at Flickr
Get out there!