Sunday, April 8, 2007

Bartlett Wash (according to sdl)

I'm sure the other 3 riders for Team Ücktard will have far more interesting things to say about this ride ...

On Thursday Kev, Pat and Mike hit Porcupine again in the morning. I took that ride off and instead went to the Red Rock Cafe and abused the WiFi while I got completely wired on their locally roasted coffee (the hotel was the only place with bad coffee -- everyone else in town seemed to be trying to make up for their bad beer with excellent joe). But the second ride of the day was a fun session at Bartlett Wash, which is basically a slickrock playground with countless spots that get unbelievably steep unbelievebly quickly. Best to watch where you're going. Lots of fun little lines and drops and ups and such that can entertain weenies like me, too.

Several businesses in town had racks of these free (?) postcards, one of which featured some dude hucking off this huge ledge with a big rock mushroom nearby. We found that spot easily (essentially the farthest slickrock point visible) on the ride in, and Mike stopped to ponder life and when he would score his next beer with more than 3.2% alcohol content and at least 30 ibu's while he took in the scenery and waited for me to get the damned camera ready.

I learned quickly that there are 2 major types of slickrock, easily identified by their visible texture. It turns out that they're also easily identifiable withOUT looking at them just by riding over them with a cracked rib ... on a hardtail. Here's how: put on a blindfold. Ride. The smooth, buttery feeling means you're riding on slickrock that looks like the stuff on the left, with the parallel layers and the appearance it was combed before church. The feeling that your spinal discs are popping out in all directions and your ribs are turning into a game of pick-up-sticks as your taint is hammered with a seat-shaped mallet means you're on the second type along the right edge, which looks like it was mud that an army of children trampled through before it solidified. It would be monumentally stupid to ride at Bartlett or Slickrock with a blindfold, but you get the idea. I ended up deflating my rear tire (hard-tail) to try to get a little more cushion. I wish I'd thought of this sooner, but I also wish that I'd remembered to re-inflate before riding Sovereign Trail. Flatting on a 29er really tests your bike karma, since basically nobody rides one and therefore nobody has spare tubes to offer you. More on that soon. Here are a few sample seconds of that silky smooth slickrock riding ... I filmed while riding one-handed till I came to a seam and panicked, so it's a short video.

Kev, Pat and Mike were pretty tired that night, mostly from Porcupine, but I could actually tell that they were a little flat even while at Bartlett. Now, riding with me is kind of like golfing with a total hack (e.g. golfing with me), in that my terrible game totally rubs off and your riding is going to suffer. I did work up to trying a few little silly lines, but I think that if they were filmed or photographed it would have looked totally lame. I'll one day post some sample videos of me hucking off some pretty sick curbs in my neighborhood to give you some idea.

I say this, because viewing videos of mountain biking is deceptive. When done well, feats look easy and insignificant, while they are probably death-defying and ludicrous in reality. Take, for example, the Toilet Bowl at Bartlett Wash. A certain other Youtube video shows three guys riding down into it, and you have to pay careful attention to notice that they're 1. riding their brakes the whole way, and 2. pushing their chests down on their saddles, they are pushing their weight back so far. When Team Ucktard arrived at the Toilet Bowl, it proved to be too mind-blowingly steep for any of us to try. The 2D projection of this 3d insanity hardly does it justice, but a couple of the other shots from AROUND the toilet bowl might give some idea of what an insane drop off it is. Though, it's even deceptive from the top. At one point Mike suggested it might be a good idea to hook left about half way down and skip the bottom half. The line he was talking about is visible -- it's the one that sweeps into the lower right corner of the picture at a 45deg angle. Not the kind of escape route you'd like to have to rely on.

Kev gazes into the mind-fuck of a steep line from the bottom ...

... while Mike and Pat seem to circle the drain above.

Uh-oh. Kev gets flushed.

But we all managed to survive and take in some of the many, many gorgeous views (a common theme to these rides). repeat picture, i know.

I have more videos from Bartlett, but they're rotated by 90deg. Quicktime has the capability to fix this, but you have to upgrade to the PRO version (i.e. $$), so I'm seeking other methods.

No comments: