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Thread: Great Stories of Adventure - This is why we ride!

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    MoJo Bishop throet's Avatar
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    Great Stories of Adventure - This is why we ride!

    After observing so much whining about getting lost, getting dropped from rides, not having adequate maps, etc, I thought it would be fun to share stories of adventure to reinforce what I always thought was so great about mountain biking. Here's mine to get things started.

    It was 2011 and I was still new to mountain biking. While temporarily working and residing in eastern Washington State, a colleague at work convinced me that I needed a 29er. I cast my $500 Moto aside and purchased a stealthy Orbea Alma 29er HT for just under $2000. I felt magical power from my new steed and promptly consulted my Mountain Biking Washington guide book to decide which trail I would ride my new bike on for the first time. After carefully evaluating choices, I chose Devil's Gulch, which the book considered to be one of the best trails in the state:

    Devil's Gulch - Washington State
    Nearest Town: Wenatchee, Cashmere
    Skill Level: 3 -- 2 might be a truer rating but there are several corners and traverses where too much speed or poor bike handling could cause real harm.
    Fitness Level: 3
    Distance: 24.4 miles
    Elevation Gain: 3,250 feet

    Finding the trailhead was an adventure in itself, as I carefully attempted to follow the directions through Cashmere into the mountains. The instructions were vague and the landmarks not clear, but after a period of thinking I was in that movie Wrong Turn, I finally found the trailhead deep in seclusion. There was only one other car there, and as I was unloading my bike for my afternoon adventure, 2 riders came off the trail from their morning ride and loaded up. One of them told me to be careful as an earlier hiker had spotted a black bear on the trail. They spun off in their car leaving me alone in the wilderness. I had plenty of food and drink in my back pack along with my camera and a large hunting knife. With approximate riding time estimated at 2-4 hours, and 6 hours or so of daylight left, I felt confident that I'd make it back before dark.

    As with many rides in the Cascade Mountains, this one started with a long climb up combined double and single track. To be precise, it was a 12.5 mile climb that required me to stop multiple times to regain leg strength. With additional stops to eat, take pictures, and frequently recheck my printed directions (which were quite sketchy by the way), I finally reached the top 4.5 hours later. I had not encountered a single person the entire time, and rode with goose bumps while checking every perch for a possible cougar sighting. The crisp mountain air and abounding natural beauty was more than enough reward for my exhaustion and fear. Now comes the fun part - 12 miles riding downhill. Even with only a couple of hours of daylight left, I remained confident that I'd finish on time.

    This aptly named trail as I quickly discovered after starting the descent traverses steep ravines (ravine, gully, gulch apparently all mean the same thing) deep in the heavily forested mountainside. I was no more than 3 miles into the 100% single-track descent when I came across a narrow section of trail that had a sheer rock face on my left and a sheer drop on my right. Ahead of me was a rut in the middle of the trail. I tried to navigate between the rut and the sheer drop, favoring the side of the rut. My fear of falling though got me too close to the rut, and when my tire slid into the rut on my left, me and my bike fell instantly to my right, where there was nothing but air. Fortunately for me, the steep drop was heavily wooded, and padded with rotting logs and pine needles. So after falling only around 30ft while bouncing off of several trees, my head slammed into a fallen tree and my body came to a rest, with my bike landing only a few feet away. I remained fully conscious, albeit stunned, and my first reaction was to check my precious new bike (first ride mind you). It seemed fine. My wounds were all superficial, aside from a mild concussion. The deep gashes on my arms and legs were of course bleeding, but not so much so that I needed to worry about loss of blood.

    The task at hand was somehow getting back up on the trail. While the thick pine needles helped soften my fall, they did nothing at all in providing the traction I needed to climb 30ft straight up, with bike in tow. My only option was to carry my bike (very light bike thankfully) in one hand and use my other hand to get hold of a tree and swing myself around to the top side of the tree where I could get some leverage to grab the next tree. Although I wasn't tracking time at that point, I would guess that it took me 30-40 minutes to reach the trail. What I did notice however is that normal daylight hours don't apply when you are deep in the forest. There was very little light left by the time I got back on the trail. Not only would that make it difficult navigating fast, twisty switchbacks, I'd have little chance of spotting a cougar and getting to my knife before getting pounced on by such a fierce predator with the scent of my blood in the air. No light. No phone signal. Temperatures dropping fast. Feeling like prey. Could things get any worse? Of course they could. After careful re-inspection of my bike, I was missing my right pedal. The force of the fall had literally ripped the pedal out of the threaded crank.

    All that I could think to do at this point was drop my seat as low as it would go and glide along the descent as best I could with little or no light. For anybody who has ridden these long mountain descents though, you know that they are often intermixed with some climbs, creek crossings, etc. So there was some hiking involved as well. Additionally, I came across a couple of forks in the trail that left me guessing at which way to go, adding to the fear that I'd be stuck in the woods all night. To bring this long story to a quick end, I will just say that I spent over 7 hours on the trail in total isolation and partial darkness and coldness that day. After finally making it to my car and driving back towards civilization, all I could think of is getting back on the trail for my next adventure. This is why I ride.

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    MoJo Mother Superior AntonioGG's Avatar
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    I've actually ridden Devil's Gulch! The thing I remember the most was how my head was on a swivel looking for bears...and the sound of my bear bell, and my wondering if it would make a difference at all. I also remember how fine and loose the sand was. Awesome story and glad you came out of it OK.

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    MoJo Bishop throet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntonioGG View Post
    I've actually ridden Devil's Gulch! The thing I remember the most was how my head was on a swivel looking for bears...and the sound of my bear bell, and my wondering if it would make a difference at all. I also remember how fine and loose the sand was. Awesome story and glad you came out of it OK.
    Very cool - small world! I never carried a bell or bear spray - just a very large knife. Maybe I should have embellished the story with an ending of me slaying a bear with bike as shield in one hand and knife in the other. Or a sadder and more realistic ending to my story would have been me getting impaled by own knife as I bounced off of trees. Did you ever ride Freud Canyon in Leavenworth? Not nearly as adventurous but the annual Bike & Brew race event held there was huge fun.

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    MoJo Mother Superior Tree magnet's Avatar
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    Excellent thread and great story. Here's one of mine.

    The year, 2012. The place, Moab, Utah. The trail, the Whole Enchilada. I was relatively new to mountain biking but I was convinced by a buddy to join him for an epic trip to mountain biking nirvana. I loaded my Yeti 575 onto his GTI with a broken headlight and headed out. Our first riding stop was Fruita, CO where I was introduced to the true definition of climbing. I had thought climbing up mulch hill was a bitch but even the gentle hills at the 18 mile trails seemed to go on for days. However, I was also introduced to the sustained downhill run and riding on exposed ridge tops. I felt like I was living a bike video and it was something to this day that I remember fondly. Little did I know what was waiting just one state away.

    We hit Moab and caught a shuttle the next morning to the top of Burro Pass. The altitude and absolute beauty of high country mountains was something that took some getting used to but I finally managed to push my bike to the start of the descent. After a short rest and attempt to pull as much oxygen from the air as possible, we dropped in to the burro pass downhill. This was my first experience at arm pump and I really didn't think that I could squeeze my brakes any harder. It was as if the trail was straight vertical and the mountain was pushing me down it. Thrilling and terrifying at the same time. After surviving that harrowing experience, I was actually pumped up and nervous to see what was coming next. The next section of trail was completely different as we pedaled into an Aspen forest that was a freaking Hallmark postcard in every direction. Seriously, I think poets dream about places like this. Freaking amazing. Rode thru that and encountered a mountain lake with the reflection of the trees only being disturbed by the ripples from the trout.

    The sections that followed ranged from a swoopy jump line almost pump track section to seriously exposed and ledgy drops. We stopped at every cool spot and took the obligatory bike picture and 'sit on the ledge' pictures to freak out my wife. We made friends from France who had traveled to the US just to ride that trail. We rode with a local guide who was a ski bum and mountain bike guide with a penchant for good pot and PBJs. We had to explain my "Enchilada Buffet" jersey to several locals who thought it was a bad ass idea. We saw a cross country mountain bike dude in full bib kit eat shit on a little drop and all his other team mates put his Cannondale back together while he sat on the trail sulking and covered in scrapes. By the time it was over, we had both almost died at least once, were beyond tired, and could not stop smiling. It didn't matter that we had to return to a crappy little KOA cabin with no sheets because we had ridden a mountain bike legend. Even the fear of being thrown in jail at some backwoods Texas town due to our headlight issue didn't wipe that smile off our faces.

    That is why I ride.
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    MoJo Bishop throet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tree magnet View Post
    Excellent thread and great story. Here's one of mine.

    The year, 2012. The place, Moab, Utah. The trail, the Whole Enchilada. I was relatively new to mountain biking but I was convinced by a buddy to join him for an epic trip to mountain biking nirvana. I loaded my Yeti 575 onto his GTI with a broken headlight and headed out. Our first riding stop was Fruita, CO where I was introduced to the true definition of climbing. I had thought climbing up mulch hill was a bitch but even the gentle hills at the 18 mile trails seemed to go on for days. However, I was also introduced to the sustained downhill run and riding on exposed ridge tops. I felt like I was living a bike video and it was something to this day that I remember fondly. Little did I know what was waiting just one state away.

    We hit Moab and caught a shuttle the next morning to the top of Burro Pass. The altitude and absolute beauty of high country mountains was something that took some getting used to but I finally managed to push my bike to the start of the descent. After a short rest and attempt to pull as much oxygen from the air as possible, we dropped in to the burro pass downhill. This was my first experience at arm pump and I really didn't think that I could squeeze my brakes any harder. It was as if the trail was straight vertical and the mountain was pushing me down it. Thrilling and terrifying at the same time. After surviving that harrowing experience, I was actually pumped up and nervous to see what was coming next. The next section of trail was completely different as we pedaled into an Aspen forest that was a freaking Hallmark postcard in every direction. Seriously, I think poets dream about places like this. Freaking amazing. Rode thru that and encountered a mountain lake with the reflection of the trees only being disturbed by the ripples from the trout.

    The sections that followed ranged from a swoopy jump line almost pump track section to seriously exposed and ledgy drops. We stopped at every cool spot and took the obligatory bike picture and 'sit on the ledge' pictures to freak out my wife. We made friends from France who had traveled to the US just to ride that trail. We rode with a local guide who was a ski bum and mountain bike guide with a penchant for good pot and PBJs. We had to explain my "Enchilada Buffet" jersey to several locals who thought it was a bad ass idea. We saw a cross country mountain bike dude in full bib kit eat shit on a little drop and all his other team mates put his Cannondale back together while he sat on the trail sulking and covered in scrapes. By the time it was over, we had both almost died at least once, were beyond tired, and could not stop smiling. It didn't matter that we had to return to a crappy little KOA cabin with no sheets because we had ridden a mountain bike legend. Even the fear of being thrown in jail at some backwoods Texas town due to our headlight issue didn't wipe that smile off our faces.

    That is why I ride.
    Awesome story that touches on so many of the elements that remind us how important these new experiences and adventures in life are. I didn't even realize that Moab had forested sections. Definitely on my short list of places to check out, and stopping in Durango / Fruita will make the trip even better. Thanks for sharing.

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    MoJo Pope yosmithy's Avatar
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    Great story, dude! I was born and raised up there (Enumclaw) and can attest to a vast area to "adventure".
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    MoJo Bishop AFROTHUND3R's Avatar
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    I don't have a story but I've had enough experiences that by themselves would make one ask, "why do I do this?". But we all know why.

    In no particular order:

    Riding the greenbelt once I was blown up and fell pretty far off the trail straight into the creek geared up and all.

    In Ogden Utah I fell down a mountain into a ravine. It was far enough down, steep enough, and loose enough, that I had to hold my bike by the frame and spike my pedal and bar into the ground to leverage myself up step by step. The only thing that got me back up generally unscathed is that if I missed the wedding I was supposed to attend that evening that our whole trip was based on my mother in law would have fucking killed me.

    Once in a separate trip with the in laws my wife and I rode big bend ranch state park and had exactly an hour and a half to ride a 14 mi loop before we knew her mom would panic and send out the search crew. We got to an intersection eventually that we weren't confident in the direction and got nervous we would go the wrong way sending my m.i.l in a panic. By the grace of God a local showed up and steered us right. I cringe at the thought of what would happen had we made a wrong turn.

    The time I saw my wife crash at 23 mph in the Ouachita national Forest. The time I saw my wife take a rock to the face at RPR where she received stitches on her chin.

    The countless times I got lost at new trail systems. Not like search and rescue lost but like flow killer lost.

    It's been fun and it gets better each ride!



    Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk
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    MoJo Mother Superior Bigwheel Bart's Avatar
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    A buddy and I got so fuxin lost in Sam Houston Nat forest back in early 90's.Summer heat, Cut sidewall on a Farmer Brown, out of tubes water and food. We were eating berries, full panic as it was getting dark, filled my tire with pine neadles. Finally came up on a moto rider that told us we had 8 miles to a road where we flagged down a trooper that got us back to car. Crazy 15 hr ordeal.
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    MoJo Bishop throet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yosmithy View Post
    Great story, dude! I was born and raised up there (Enumclaw) and can attest to a vast area to "adventure".
    I've been through Enumclaw but never stopped there. I do remember stopping a couple of times in a nearby small town - Greenwater - after Epic rides at Fife's Ridge and Crystal Mountain. I recall they had a saloon there that served up some great burgers and craft beer. That entire area is awe inspiring, and Mt. Ranier is perhaps the most majestic site I've ever taken in.

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    MoJo Pope yosmithy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by throet View Post
    I've been through Enumclaw but never stopped there. I do remember stopping a couple of times in a nearby small town - Greenwater - after Epic rides at Fife's Ridge and Crystal Mountain. I recall they had a saloon there that served up some great burgers and craft beer. That entire area is awe inspiring, and Mt. Ranier is perhaps the most majestic site I've ever taken in.
    Haha, Yup, Greenwater Tavern has some great stories I love Texas, but I sure do miss my Mountain...Great thing to have in your backyard growing up.

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    MoJo Bishop throet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFROTHUND3R View Post
    The time I saw my wife crash at 23 mph in the Ouachita national Forest.
    Hope she came out of that one OK. I remember getting left behind by my faster friends on a ride in Ouachita Forest and then getting lost. We were coming N-to-S on the Womble (North of the Lake) and the trail emptied into a dry creek bed. I couldn't find the connecting trail on the other side. I spent close to an hour walking back and forth looking for it and eventually got so disoriented that I couldn't even find the spot where I entered from. Eventually I found it and realized it wasn't that far from the entry on the other side. Funny how the forest can play tricks on us.

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    MoJo Bishop throet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigwheel Bart View Post
    .... filled my tire with pine needles.
    Did the pine needles actually work?

  13. #13
    MoJo Bishop throet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yosmithy View Post
    Haha, Yup, Greenwater Tavern has some great stories I love Texas, but I sure do miss my Mountain...Great thing to have in your backyard growing up.
    Here you go!
    Name:  DSCF0417.JPG
Views: 312
Size:  1.87 MB

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    TAF
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    The guy with the tailgate grill TAF's Avatar
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    Cool story. The first time I rode Monarch Crest, I rode with a huge pack stuffed with emergency supplies, bear spray, bear bells, etc - I must have looked ridiculous. Fast forward a few years, and I ride it alone, on a singlespeed, with two water bottles. And a sat phone, in case of true emergency. What a difference familiarity and experience make!

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    Live Medium Bamwa's Avatar
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    Good idea for a thread OP, especially since it's boring around here lately. Here's one of my favs:

    Headed up to Mountain View Ark for Syllamo's Revenge several years back when my buddy Craig and I were getting into NUE races. At the time he was going out with Beth (from Enchilada Buffet 2.0 fame). After getting to the cabin a day ahead of the race we all decided to head up and preride some portions of the route. After we got up in the mtns, Craig and I headed off one way while Beth decided to roll some of the trails closer to the car. She didn't have a map but proudly exclaimed that she wasn't going very far and didn't need one. Fast forward a few hours, and we get back to the car with no Beth around. We rolled a few directions and up and back the park road to no avail. With darkness closing in and no cell phone signals we waited as long as we could before we needed to go into town to collect our race packets before 8pm or something. I know this is starting to sound bad but Beth is a ninja, has worked in several markets as a real news reporter, and usually is a step or two ahead of everyone else. Since we were now under pressure to both get the race packets and cell phone service, the only logical thing was to head into town to where the phones worked, grab the packets, then shoot back and scoop her up at whatever spot she was at. Knowing her, we both joked that she probably called in a lifeflight already and was taking a chopper back to town VIP style. Driving down the mountain, we stopped at the cabin to drop off a few things then quickly made our way towards town. As we were going up a hill and fighting back the guilt of "temporarily" leaving her back at the trailhead, boom cop lights lit us up. Holy crap...we aren't going to get our packets in time, still need to find cocksure Beth and now getting pulled over. "Were we even speeding?" I asked Craig. "I don't think so" was his reply. So we pull over and the cop slowly walks up the the car. "Do you guys know why I pulled you over?" He asked. "No sir, I didn't think we were speeding or anything." "Well did you forget something?" was his reply. Thinking there may have been a stray camelbak on the roof or something..."We don't think so?" was our reply. "Have a look back there." Was his reply. We turned around and Beth was riding shotgun in the cruser laughing her ass off while throwing us the double bird! She has enough signal to call the park ranger who then got her and arraigned a ride back to town, then luckily they happened to spot us. She proceeded to get back in the car with us, yelling how we were the biggest jerks in the whole wide world and had stranded her in the woods after dark just to get our frickin race packets. That night horses came and grazed in the front lawn of our cabin at 1am while we got ready for the race at 7. It was magical. This is why I ride.
    Last edited by Bamwa; 06-04-2017 at 12:39 PM.
    Grab life by the timbales.

    Sriracha Grilled Cheese dipped in homemade chicken soup. POW!

  16. #16
    MoJo Pope yosmithy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by throet View Post
    Here you go!
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    That's my girl!
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  17. #17
    MoJo Bishop throet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TAF View Post
    Cool story. The first time I rode Monarch Crest, I rode with a huge pack stuffed with emergency supplies, bear spray, bear bells, etc - I must have looked ridiculous. Fast forward a few years, and I ride it alone, on a singlespeed, with two water bottles. And a sat phone, in case of true emergency. What a difference familiarity and experience make!

    Name:  TF Monarch (Medium).jpg
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    Nice Pic! This one is on my short list of rides to take as well.

  18. #18
    MoJo Bishop throet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bamwa View Post
    Good idea for a thread OP, especially since it's boring around here lately. Here's one of my favs:

    Headed up to Mountain View Ark for Syllamo's Revenge several years back when my buddy Craig and I were getting into NUE races. At the time he was going out with Beth (from Enchilada Buffet 2.0 fame). After getting to the cabin a day ahead of the race we all decided to head up and preride some portions of the route. After we got up in the mtns, Craig and I headed off one way while Beth decided to roll some of the trails closer to the car. She didn't have a map but proudly exclaimed that she wasn't going very far and didn't need one. Fast forward a few hours, and we get back to the car with no Beth around. We rolled a few directions and up and back the park road to no avail. With darkness closing in and no cell phone signals we waited as long as we could before we needed to go into town to collect our race packets before 8pm or something. I know this is starting to sound bad but Beth is a ninja, has worked in several markets as a real news reporter, and usually is a step or two ahead of everyone else. Since we were now under pressure to both get the race packets and cell phone service, the only logical thing was to head into town to where the phones worked, grab the packets, then shoot back and scoop her up at whatever spot she was at. Knowing her, we both joked that she probably called in a lifeflight already and was taking a chopper back to town VIP style. Driving down the mountain, we stopped at the cabin to drop off a few things then quickly made our way towards town. As we were going up a hill and fighting back the guilt of "temporarily" leaving her back at the trailhead, boom cop lights lit us up. Holy crap...we aren't going to get our packets in time, still need to find cocksure Beth and now getting pulled over. "Were we even speeding?" I asked Craig. "I don't think so" was his reply. So we pull over and the cop slowly walks up the the car. "Do you guys know why I pulled you over?" He asked. "No sir, I didn't think we were speeding or anything." "Well did you forget something?" was his reply. Thinking there may have been a stray camelbak on the roof or something..."We don't think so?" was our reply. "Have a look back there." Was his reply. We turned around and Beth was riding shotgun in the cruser laughing her ass off while throwing us the double bird! She has enough signal to call the park ranger who then got her and arraigned a ride back to town, then luckily they happened to spot us. She proceeded to get back in the car with us, yelling how we were the biggest jerks in the whole wide world and had stranded her in the woods after dark just to get our frickin race packets. That night horses came and grazed in the front lawn of our cabin at 1am while we got ready for the race at 7. It was magical. This is why I ride.
    Intriguing story! That's a great area and a great event. Never raced in it myself but met some friends up there who were racing and rode the trails the days before and after the race. We stayed in a cabin that backed up to the river - it was all grand. I really want to get back up there.
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  19. #19
    MoJo Bishop throet's Avatar
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    C'mon really? I thought you guys would be lappin' this thread up like stray dogs on carnival puke. Instead of sharing stories of great adventure, we're sharing sentiments around overpriced NBR coolers and coffee mugs. Give this thread some life! I've got one more MTB adventure story in my back pocket that I'll lob out if necessary to revive the thread.
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  20. #20
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    Okay, I'll play.

    A few years ago I ventured into the BC Greenbelt, the Jedi part, for the first time. I was alone with only an inflated sense of adventure to ride with. I quickly became totally lost. The sense of adventure started to evaporate as my water supply ran out. Okay, don't panic I thought, I can always call someone for help. This was before I had a smart phone so I couldn't use it to determine where I was. I could only use it to call in an emergency if needed. That is I could have used it if it had not run out of juice! So there I was in the heat of July, lost, with no water and no phone. I had several moments of, "damn it! I've seen that tree before." I started visualizing what the headline in the paper would say when they finally found my body. But my Boy Scout training from the past taught me to not panic when lost. I kept saying to myself, "I know I am only 400 yards from a house. I can do this."

    Obviously I survived, but I am definitely scarred for life. Not as far as mountain biking goes of course, but I do have a slightly elevated heart rate when I now venture into the Greenbelt.
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