I’ve got to start out with this.
Yes, that’s me. No, there is no photoshop. I’ll explain in a bit.
On a ‘regular’ Trek Travel trip, you’d stay with your normal form of biking throughout the trip. On a road trip, you’d keep riding road bikes, and on a mountain trip, you’d keep riding mountain bikes. On this trip, however, we had a chance to demo Trek’s latest and greatest mountain bikes, at a site about 15 miles from our hotel. In the morning, they told us that if we wanted, we could ride the shuttle out, do the mountain bike demo, and then ride our road bikes back to the hotel. You know that Chad from North Central Cyclery and I opted for that option–for the most riding.
We had a great morning, with a number of interesting sessions. I even got to hang out with Gary Fisher again, and do a little Axletree advocacy.
Then, we loaded up to go biking. I had a chance to ride a Remedy, a Slash, a Session, a Rumblefish, a Superfly 100, and a Fuel EX9.9. More on the bikes another day. At the base camp, they had a little pump track, and Chad got his groove on.
The trails were pretty buff, with some pretty serious climbs. They had a mini-Super D course, a mini downhill course, and some other interesting features. Weather was beautiful.
I practiced my North Central Cyclery team kit model face.
Pretty sweet views.
I was riding along on the Rumblefish, intending to head back to camp to switch bikes, when I saw this group go by.
Could that be?
Yeah. I went bike riding with Gary Fisher. He flat hauls ass on a mountain bike…and while I ordinarily wouldn’t use that parlance, I’m pretty sure that is exactly what he would say. I’ll talk about Gary another day as well. For today, let’s just say that he unclips and puts a foot down, moto-style, as he flies through a fast and loose downhill sweeper. It was incredibly amazing to be able to ride behind him and follow his lines…pedal when he pedaled, brake when he braked. He didn’t brake very much.
Here we are, working up a climb.
I also got to hang out with Drew a bit more, and do some riding with him.
I hooked back up with Chad, and we had some lunch with Gary Fisher, and then headed back to the trails.
Hard not to smile.
Yes, there was a lot of climbing.
At this point, Chad and I were both Super-Flying. We had about $20,000 of new mountain bikes between the two of us.
Gratuitous self portrait.
I don’t have pictures of the technical riding (there was some), as I was focused on riding and not shooting at those moments.
At the end of the mountain bike demo, we had 30 miles and 4,000 feet of climbing in our legs. I was pretty hammered, and thought about taking the van back. Chad suggested we stick to the plan and ride the road. It was the best decision of the trip.
Being from DeKalb, we found some gravel to ride on our Madone and Domane.
Cattle Crossing Of Death.
We then blasted down the pave back towards the Hotel.
We hit a little climbing at the start of Ballard Canyon Road.
But nothing we weren’t ready for…
It was about 4:30, and the sun was just resting on the rim of Ballard Canyon.
And we rounded a canyon bend to find this.
So we stopped and took this picture.
The road rolled out in front of us, with a gentle descent all the way back to Solvang.
The temp was about 68, sunny, a light tail-wind, and a downhill road to the hotel. I was riding a brand new Madone that fit me perfectly, with one of the greatest guys I know. It was one of the only times in my life when I didn’t want to ride faster. I could see the sun setting, but just didn’t want the day–or that ride–to end. On the day, we had close to 50 miles (with 30 on mountain bikes), and several thousand feet of climbing.
Ballard Canyon was a pivotal moment in the trip, for me. I will never forget it. There are moments in your life when everything is perfect–when you are living the life you want to be, being the person you want to be, looking how you want to look, feeling how you want to feel–when everything is perfect, if only for a moment. Ballard Canyon was one of those incredibly rare moments when this happened for me–when it all came together.
It was made even more rare by the fact that I realized it, in the moment I was living it. I realized I was living a perfect moment.
It was made even more rare by the fact that Chad was able to snap a picture that captures that moment for me. It looked like an advertisement–because it was a perfect moment, with a perfect friend, and perfect weather, on a perfect trip, and a perfect bike. I can’t even write about it without smiling, uncontrollably.
Ballard Canyon was one of the best moments of my life.
And what’s amazing about that is that Ballard Canyon came after a day of incredible mountain biking with Chad and Gary Fisher. We ended the day with a delicious dinner, and then a round in the hot tub with some great bike mechanics from BC and Portland.
Trek Travel Day 2 was perfection embodied.
(If you’re interested in finding out more about Trek Travel, get in touch with Tobie at North Central Cyclery).