Canyon Creek

That's where we were heading! Up, Up, Up!
This was a weekend for getting away, alpine riding and having fun. The plan was to meet our friends from Texas at the Snowblind campground Friday morning, then riding Canyon Creek with Greg. Well, a few issues kept them from arriving until Friday night (traveling with a seven month old will do that...) so we got to ride Canyon Creek twice this weekend! Talk about fun...

Tomichi Road - always "fun" and just as hard as the hike-a-bike
Friday was just Nick and I. A steady pace up Tomichi road, but it took me a while to get my wheels underneath me. The rocks were always winning, bouncing me off my bike. I generally was cranky on the climb because I couldn't seem to apply the right amount of power at the right time. Luckily, the views were enough to distract me from the sloppy riding. Huge mountain views as we climbed from the valley up to treeline and beyond. If I'd been riding alone, I would have been able to to stuff myself with hundreds of tiny alpine strawberries. But alas - Nick waits for little and even alpine strawberries don't make his list. 

One of the many stream crossing on Tomichi Road
The hike-a-bike was a bad as I remembered - a steady trudge up steep and rocky switchbacks. I was struggling with my bike this time, and trying to pay attention to the details of the trail. Hike-a-bike during the day is one thing. At night, it will look totally different.

Top of the road, time to start the Hike a bike!

Nick and his orange helmet heading up the single track
Vanishing into the enormity of the terrain - me and my bike among the trees and flowers
We rode the descent comfortably - Nick far enough ahead to force me to to pick my own lines. Again, my attention was to the trail and how it will be different during Vapor. I was very happy with the ride this time - grinning and giggling the entire time. Much different then the first time Nick took me down and I was nearly in tears halfway down. I was reading the trail, riding smoothly and confidently through the rocks and even launching off the roots and berms. Yay!
Did not want to ride this last year - was easy this year. Progress.
On Sunday, we returned to Canyon Creek with Greg. This time the road felt good. I was able to ride more and keep the power steady where and when I needed it. Given that it was the third ride in a big weekend, that was a small victory for me. I'd been worried about recovery after the hours on the bike Saturday. We were following tire tracks up the road and finally caught them at the start of the singletrack. A classic reaction - the two guys looked stunned when I rolled up grinning. I was grinning because I'd actually ridden the entire chunk of road just before the turn off, but they didn't know that... They chatted with Nick for a little while we waited for Greg, then hightailed it up the hike-a-bike ahead of us. I left for the hike-a-bike before Greg got there because I wanted to get some pictures. It was a lovely day and I would finally have time to try and get some good scenic shots. 
Up the climb again, with Greg in the background...
After pushing my bike up the hill on Friday and just hating every second of it, I needed to figure it out. Hating life at 4:00 am in the cold that alpine darkness provides would not be good. There had to be a better way. I caught the guys just before the steep rocky switchbacks and took a few more photos. Then it was time to head up. This time I picked my bike up and carried it across my shoulders. Nick and I have discussed this in the past - he prefers pushing as he feels like he has more control over himself and the bike. But I'm always fighting the bike. For me, it was much easier to carry my bike. I had good control and was able to just trot up the hill without struggling over each rock. Yes, there are risks with carrrying the bike, but I think I will take them. That's why we're practicing and evaluating things.

Even Greg disappears in the mountains - on the road, just below the stand of trees
Starting the hike-a-bike before the boys meant I had time for scenery shots!
Waiting just below the summit, looking down onto the trail. The tiny black dot is Greg
Nick on the hike-a-bike, getting close to the top
Greg - made it to the top!
And for the second time, we got to fly down the descent. Worth every minute of the hike-a-bike. I know it will be slower in the dark, but this was just fun. Again, more comfortable on the bike, flowing over the trail and enjoying the ride. Greg, having recovered from the climb was grinning from ear to ear. They don't make descents like Canyon Creek in Texas!

Greg on the descent - ripping it up on his hard tail!


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