Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cyclocross in Sandpoint this Fall

Cyclocross is coming back to Sandpoint this Fall.  Last year was a great success and it looks like our local enthusiast are looking to push the envelope this year.  You can find more info on the Sandpoint Cyclocross facebook page or on the series webpage, Wild West CX Series.

Update: I forgot to include a link to the Inland Northwest CX Series, although it doesn't include Sandpoint this year, there are several races close to us. INWCXS

Monday, August 18, 2014

Deer Ridge Ride Report

Deer Ridge is one of my fav high country rider here in the Panhandle.  I usually do rides a couple different ways, come up with the way I like, and then I just always do it that way...you could say I am a creature of habit.  So, for this ride, I always shuttle to the other side of the ridge (East side yo).  Ride up to the lookout, take a break and then bomb down to the Moyie.  And it always helps to end a ride near Feist Creek Inn.
They rent this lookout for the night, I have never done it but it sure would be sweet!
that is not a beer illusion

Hucks were off the hook!  Huge berries all along the trail.  You could just lay in the middle of the bushes and pick em off with your teeth...if you were into that.

Only a couple trees down.  Trail was a great shape.  The lower half was reworked by the BFFS last year.  The tread is still loose with some turned up rocks which makes the fast descent a little hairy.  However, it is wearing in nice and in the future will be much better than it was before the rework.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Brush Lake Ride Report

I rode Brush Lake last week.  The Bonner and Boundary Counties have been hit by 2, yes 2, significant wind storms in the past 2 weeks.  The worst tree fall seems to have stayed around Sandpoint and the areas closer to Lake Pend Oreille.  Bonners trails have some fresh trees down, but I have not heard of a lot.  Not as significant as down South.

Brush lake had 5 trees down.  All were pretty easy to go around.  This trails is easily accessible by car, so I am sure they will get cut out soon.  If I had brought my hand saw I would have taken care of it.

Anyways, ride was great, went both directions like I always do.  The newest connector is by far my favorite section.  I love rocks, I've said it many times before.  And that connector trail is like a rock playground for your mtn bike.  Hit this trail up if you are in the Bonners area.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

American Falls Ride Report

I camped at Priest again.  Surprised?  You shouldn't be.  Went and rode American Falls.  One of the most unique and beautiful trails in North Idaho.  Throw in some rocks, roots, bridges, creek crossings and some short, but spiked climbs, and this little 8 mile (1 way) ride is a fun challenge.

There are some new bridges.  That is a welcome sight as some of the old bridges are really getting twisted...if you've ridden this trail ya know what I mean.  Don't get so focused on the trail though that you forget to look for Hucks, they are abundant in the area.

Oh, and remember that July 23rd storm?  Well, it dumped half a dozen trees on the trail.  Bummer.  Other than that, the trail was in great shape.
The falls at the end of this trail are just icing on the cake.  I decided to do a little extra credit this particular day and rode American Falls out and then all the way back down to Beaver Creek.  35 miles later, 28ish on some sweet singletrack, and I was beat.  It was wicked hot, so Shadow and I sat in the creek and put down some IPAs.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

PSA: Bike Bells

Bike Bells.  You might think they are just one of those accessories that come on little girl's bikes.  And they do.  However, they can be very utilitarian, and I would recommend putting one on your mountain bike.  Here are a couple reasons why.  First, they are great for letting people on the trail, roads and paths know you are coming up on them.  It works a little better than "get the hell out the way."

More importantly, bells work great to let animals know you are coming along the trail.  Bikes are quite and can allow you to move through the woods at a rather fast pace.  I ride a lot by myself.  I often ring my bell every once and a while, while on descents without clear line of sight, to let any potential critters know I am bombing down.  Sometimes I ting it when I'm riding along and I just have "that feeling" that I am not alone.  It is best to avoid surprise encounters.  However, encounters do happen in the woods.  When I have come face to face with fuzzy animals on the trail, I find talking to them, and maybe a little bell ringing, let's them know I am a human and sends them on their way.

This brings me to my ride last weekend.  I went for a little mountain bike ride before sunset at our camp at Priest Lake.  I was on a long climb, with my head down, and when I came around a switch back, there was a cougar crouching in the middle of the trail some 50 feet in front of me.  Now I have encountered every animal out there at one time or another while out on the trail...including a cougar at another time but on this exact same trail.  Anyways, I dismounted my bike and put it between me and him...or her.  I talked to the cat and rang my bell 4 times.  He wasn't deterred in the least bit.  He wasn't backing down or taking his eyes off me as he now stood sideways in the trail with his back arched.  The stand off was killing me as time seemed to be standing still.  I decided I would take my chances and I backed down the trail never taking my eyes off him.  I got to a point back around the switchback when I could not see him any longer because of brush.  I then jumped back on my bike and pedaled like hell out of there.  I never saw him again.  Did the bell help perused him I wasn't dinner?  Who knows.  But I was sure glad I had a bell to ring when my mouth went dry and words would no longer come out...

$10 well spent