Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mammoth Weekend

After work on Friday, I headed down 395 towards Mammoth Lakes to meet some friends who were driving up from Santa Barbara for a weekend of mountain biking.

The always lovely foothills of Nevada.

Mountains in the distance. It was pretty dry and brown and not that attractive.

Then, all of a sudden, there was a lake! I kept driving for another hour or so, and reached the scenic viewpoint for Mono Lake (pronounced Moe-Noe).

Sadly, this picture does not do Mono Lake justice at all.

A nice old British man offered to take my picture.

Even bigger mountains in the distance! I must be getting close. After arriving in Mammoth Lakes, I got the key to the condo we were renting, hit up the grocery store for some frozen cheese pizza (that I covered in artichokes, olives, spinach & pineapple) and sat in the slightly sketchy hot tub for a long, long time while reading trashy fitness magazines.

The next day we headed out bright and early to go biking at Mammoth Mountain Resort. We started off with a fairly easy blue run called Brakethrough that connected to a really easy trail into town called Downtown. When I came to Mammoth last year, Downtown was the only trail that was open. It was fun to see how much I've improved in the last year, as Downtown was super easy for me this time, though I think the trail crew had smoothed out some corners to make it even easier.

At this point, the boys ditched me to ride more difficult trails, which I was fine with, as I really enjoy riding by myself. My confidence up from success on Brakethrough, I tackled Flow, an "advanced" trail. I nailed some technical features that I didn't think I could, and, confidence flowing, I hit my first two foot drop. I hit a couple more drops successfully, but then...I misjudged something and felt myself going face first over my handle bars.

I've kind of gone over the bars before, but this was definitely my first over-the-bars face plant. My first thought after sitting up was "If I wasn't wearing a full-face helmet, I'd definitely be missing some teeth." I dragged myself and my bike to the side of the trail to recover, and I took advantage of the break to take some pictures.

The section of trail that took me out.

The view from the trail. I picked myself up, dusted myself off (quite literally, I was filthy) and rode the trail down to the shuttle pick up. I decided to do one more ride that day, and I don't think I could have managed anymore. I kept making stupid mistakes (like misjudging how far tree branches stuck into the trail, and running into them) due to how tired I was. I let the guys know that I was done and hung out in the village waiting for them to finish.

The best part about the end of a day of any strenuous activity.

On Day Two, I headed to the peak of the resort to ride Off the Top. Off the Top was not my favorite trail, as, until I relaxed, I was scared that I was going to fall off the side of the mountain, and, when I got over that fear, the trail itself was kind of boring. But totally worth it for the views:

The very top.

Partway down the miles of switchbacks.

The trail itself was, like most of Mammoth Mountain, weird dusty pumice. At least it was pretty soft to land in.

Epic sweeping mountain vistas on all sides.

And here is a lovely self portrait. I think that I can tell that I'm not smiling, despite the fact that my face is mostly hidden.
I went on to ride a couple of other trails- Follow Me (which I hike-a-biked more than I rode), Kamikaze (which I did not ride in a Kamikaze fashion) and Lower Velocity.

It was a great weekend, despite leaving Mammoth Lakes covered in many scrapes, bruises, weird tan lines, and dirt.

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