Friday, May 1, 2009

Spectacle day four: Zen, plus.

Three hard days of rock riding takes a toll. We'd been riding from early morning until ~sunset, and although we were getting good sleep we still weren't recovering completely overnight. On this morning I woke up sore and, in all honesty, wouldn't have minded one bit if we called it 'good' and just started the long drive home.

Tired. Sore. Lethargic. But, since I'm being honest, I need to also mention another, potentially bigger cause for my reluctance to ride: Base Jump. It had been on (In! In!) my mind all week, and riding today meant facing that monster. You'll see in a minute.

Rolling out of the trailhead it took awhile to get the legs rolling. Doc led most of the climb up Zen while I kept focus on the macro at my feet.

The desert at home is several weeks behind (as far as blooms go) so it was nice to 'fast forward' into pretty-color-mode.

Once Zen trail starts 'happening' there isn't really a convenient place to stop to snap pics. You just go with the flow, crashing and banging most of the time, but zipping and hopping when appropriate too. It is a very fast, fun trail even when you're as wasted as we were.

Near the bottom we stopped to play on a coupla chunky moves.

Doc even went 'sploring for some new lines, but my heart wasn't really in it. The closer we got to Base Jump, the more I just wanted to get there and be done with it.

Somehow, even fear of impending doom couldn't diminish my enjoyment of the blooming desert.

Just stunning.

No more fakin' it--time to head in earnest up to Base Jump...

And then, we were there.

I briefly and seriously considered it. Figured out in-run speed, rolled up, then stared. Realized very quickly (while standing at the lip) that you simply cannot spot your landing on this one until you are *IN* the air. And I've just never been good at that kind of commitment.

So I assumed the familiar role of photog while Doc did what Doc seems to be best at--sending it:

Maaaaan. Until you've stood atop that one, you just can't understand how massive it really is. It is emphatically NOT a techy move (unless it's windy...), you just need to have the cojones to send it, and a modicum of skill to set it down straight.

I lack the former, so the latter shall remain academic. Dammit.


Gusty winds came up as we moved down to the section known as South Shore. Doc nailed it, I bailed on the upper gaps. The wind got strong enough that even Doc bailed on the lower gaps. Wind or not, I know darn well that they wouldn't have happened for me that day. Maybe never?

The wind was flat ripping when we arrived at High Dive. Fortunately it proved to be a tailwind so we were able to somewhat time our efforts with the gusts and set 'em down safely.

Doc nailed the creek gap en route to the truck, then we loaded up and headed homeward. Tired, sore, exhilarated, humbled, inspired, and yes, grinning.

What a great trip.

Thanks for reading.



  1. It looks like you had a great time. "Sending it" is not always the best choice. That is a monstro drop.

    By the way, I was previously unaware of your writing and photog skills. Nice work.

  2. Holy shite man. I've ridden by base jump a dozen times or more but thought it was for show. It never occured to me they were actually *ridden*.

    That is sick.

  3. If you owe a guy $40 bucks you think he would call you when he's in town.


  4. These shots are absolutely amazing. I'm headed out on a trip to Peru and am in the market for a point and shoot...Given that you're travelling by bike & wanting to keep your load light, I'm assuming these weren't taken with a SLR? If you wouldn't mind, what camera do you have and how much post processing if any did you do?

    Thanks so much!