Most people do crazy stuff when they turn 40 - the classic midlife crisis type affair. There's buying a snazzy new car (does a 4WD Merce...

Nov 20, 2012

St Mary's

I know one day the snow will come. I'm actually looking forward to a few nice, snowy days and the moisture is badly needed. All the trails are loose and dry - sand surfing on the kitty litter is a needed skill. But until we get some snow, the big rides in the canyon are still on. We held off one weekend doing the planned ride up to St Mary's because of the weather and bike issues. The brain and shock on my Era needed some major work, so I was riding my HT. Not a bike Nick wanted me to take down St Mary's. So with a working suspension and nice weather forecasted, we headed up this Saturday.

There's snow and ice up high - but not enough to keep us from riding!
As usual, the climb up Gold Camp was long. I was working hard, trying to keep up with Nick and Matt. But the sluggishness and gunk in my legs from the cold were gone, so I was able to settle into a solid tempo. The boys still pulled away as we climbed, but I wasn't getting completely dropped. It was chilly in the shade, with all the streams frozen over and patches of snow. But in the sun, it was warm. I didn't even need my arm warmers. We stopped once for a snack, then continued up Old Stage. I popped on old Stage. I was tired and the break on Gold Camp made me stiffen up a little. Nick kept trying to push and tow me back to Matt's wheel, but to no avail. The turn off to Wy Campground couldn't come soon enough.

Nick and Matt (hidden in the trees) waiting for me to cross the frozen stream
But after the climb came the fun. We bundled up for the ride down St Mary's, knowing it was mostly in the shade. I was third wheel, giving myself lots of space. The first creek crossing was completely snowed and iced over. Nick broke the ice when he crossed. There was some more snow, a few inches deep in places, and a few more iced over creeks. The trail was so much fun - and having suspension back made it even better. I was riding everything - until we got to the switchbacks. I tried a few over again, but wasn't having much luck. I only made one of that set of steep switchbacks. There was plenty more walking to come as we got onto the middle section. Lots of tight turns and big rocks I wasn't willing to try even with suspension! But there were other sections that I rode confidently - even with a hiker audience! I was talking away, but what I wanted to ride, I made. And I had a big grin the whole time!

We finished off the day with some more fun descents and playing in Stratton. After that, it was time to give both my bikes a bath. The Fate to keep clean for intervals and such and the Era to get ready for some more abuse, er single track fun!

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