My brother and I drove down to Eugene from Portland Friday evening for one last visit to Eugene before I leave for Arizona this Wednesday. We got there just in time for the team plyometric workout at 6:30, which I lead for the last time. It was a small group, but we got in some serious burnination in our legs and abs before the night out on the town.
Will, Sonja, Galen, and I met up with some other people to go dance all night at some parties after the workout. It was awesome. Halloween in Eugene is always a blast; I think it may be one of my favorite Holidays. Although, it needs more of an emphasis on food. Candy doesn’t count as food. I think Halloween should be celebrated like Thanksgiving, with a Turkey and all the other stuff. First you eat a giant feast, then you go out to party, or trick or treat. It would be kind of like a thanksgiving rehearsal. Except I’d like to change the food a bit for the Halloween dinner. Instead of just plain turkey, stuffing, and potatoes, the Halloweengiving dinner of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and potatoes would be wrapped up in a tasty flour tortilla, doused with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, olives, onions, sautéed bell peppers and melted cheese with chili verde sauce dumped over the whole thing.
I was Eore. AKA the biggest hit costume with the girls that I have ever worn.
Galen and I woke up late the next morning on the floor of Will’s apartment, tired and sore from the plyo workout and dancing all night long. So we decided to go for a three hour mountain bike ride instead of six, which I had been planning to do for a week. I wanted to re-create the browdown experience of Ulla two weeks before, only double the fun. But six hours wasn’t going to happen, according to Galen’s legs, which were full of a particular variety of juice.
We went over to Tony’s house and made some breakfast while we waited for him to get back from duck hunting. Tony shot seven ducks, which he devoured immediately in his efforts to reach 300 pounds. He’s pushing 290 right now, and Gilad is still calling him skinny. The only thing groaning louder than his bike when he rides it these days, is his mom. OH SNAP.
Tony got home and we all went over to Life Cycle to do some repair work on the crappy mountain bikes we were going to use. Mine was a $200 Schwinn, Galen’s was a very heavy Iron Horse, which should probably be re-named Lead Horse, and Tony was riding his fairly decent Jamis. After fixing our breaks and a number of other things, we finally got out of the shop a little before 1pm.
It had been raining all morning but was sunny out on HWY 58 as we drove to the base of Patterson Mountain. We parked and started riding up the 7 mile gravel road to the trail head. Two miles in and Galen got a flat, after we all assured ourseleves that it was pretty much impossible to get a flat on a mountain bike. Tony had the only spare tube, but it wouldn’t fit in Galen’s rim, which was only big enough for a presta valve. After twenty minutes of trying to make the hole wider with a screw driver, a truck full of hunters in a massive pick up rolled by on their way to go kill some squirrles. I tried to communicate with them, telling them we needed to widen a hole an our rim, but they just scratched their heads and made grunting sounds. Luckily, Tony spoke their language and grunted at them to give us a hand. They spilled out of the truck, adorned with rifles, hand guns and foot-long hunting knives hanging from their tire-sized waistlines. In no time, they used one of their Leathermans to cut out a large hole in the rim and Galen was back on the bike just like that. (they didn’t actually grunt, and were super friendly. In fact, they gave me a much better view on hunters, completely going against the bike hating redneck in a Ford stereotype. And Tony, who had just hunted that morning, didn’t say anything the entire time because he was scared shitless.)
We got to the end of the gravel road and had just one more mile to climb on single track before the beginning of some serious down hill fun. Gilad had told us to go on a different trail instead of Ulla, saying that Hardesty (the trail we were going to do) was longer and would be more fun for us than doing Ulla. The directions he gave us sucked. One would think that one should follow the signs posted on trees saying “Hardesty Way” with an arrow pointing in the prescribed direction. Gilad did not tell us that there was a difference between “Hardesty Way” and just plain old “Hardesty,” which was the trail he told us about. So we ended up getting very very lost.
Not four minutes into the descent, a large stick got caught in my front wheel and I flipped over the handlebears, flying a good fifteen feet before landing on my back. I wasn’t hurt, but the early crash was a bad omen.
The next hour and a half of riding was mostly spent pusing our bikes up steep climbs. We thought we were done with the climbing, seeing that we had already climbed for two hours and now we were supposed to be descending. But the trail kept on going up and up, then down a bit, then up and up again. It was fun, but not what we had expected. It was obvious that this was going to be longer than expected. Luckily we brought a lot of food and water. Oh wait, no we didn’t. I brought no food or water at all, and Galen and Tony only had a couple Cliff bars.
I looked back down the slope at Tony and Galen staggering behind their bikes as they pushed from behind.
“Come on ya whimps!” I yelled. “You guys are taking for ever. Do you need some ointment for your sore vaginas or what?”
Despite my repeated efforts of encouragment, neither one of them sped up. Galen was bonking and Tony was going slower and slower. But just in time, some other bikers came along and helped us out. They gave Tony and Galen a bunch of gels, and they pointed us in the right direction home, which was all down hill and put us right next to the car. Then some guy driving a gas-carrying semi truck came by as we loaded up the bikes and offered to fill up our gas tank for free because he had extra gas that the gas station didn’t want. As he drove off, my eyes fell to the oposite side of the road, where I saw a big brown burlap bag marked with green $$ symbols. I ran over there and found over five million in cash! Then I got a phone call from Jonathan Vaughters saying that Garmin Chipotle wanted me on their Tour team. Then I saw George Bush walking along side the road and we had a jolly good time throwing rocks at him as he ran away. Then a giant helicopter came and dropped off twenty girls in bikins and a hot tub filled with fudge.
Just kidding, I made up the part about those bikers. Actually, what really happened was that Galen got another flat tire and we left him to walk the rest of the way back to the car.
Tony and I continued on, with the plan of getting down the mountain, riding the five miles back to the car on hwy 58 (which Gilad had told us about), and then driving the truck back to where the trail intersected the highway so that Galen wouldn’t have to walk those extra five miles. The only problem was, we were not where we thought we were, and the trial we were on did not intersect with hwy 58.
After we left Galen, the trail began growing thinner and thinner as blackberry brambles and grass closed in, hiding the trail from our view. We had to slow down and search for a bit as the trail completely dissapeared a couple times. I left rock signs for Galen to follow, three rocks balance on top of each other called a “duck.” Backpackers to this all the time to mark the correct direction for others.
We continued descending until the trail came to a gravel road. “Ohhh crap,” we simultainiously said. We had no clue where we were now, and finally realized that this trail was not the one Gilad told us about. Thinking that we could at least go get the car and drive it back up this road to pick up Galen, I thought that maybe this was a good thing. I drew an arrow in the gravel and his initials for Galen to follow, then we took off down the hill. We road down it, and Tony began to lag, especially during the flat sections. He had given his last cliff bar to galen, and was now on the verge of bonking himself.
Half an hour later when we got to the bottom of the mountain, we stopped as we passed a hunter getting into his truck, the first person we had seen in hours.
He drove off a minute later and Tony and I looked at each other. “Crap,” we said.
The hunter had told us that we had at least fifteen more miles to hwy 58. And most of it was uphill. All gravel. Back up Patterson Mountain. We had just reached the very bottom of the mountain, and now we stood facing a different road, that presumably, after a few bends of pavement, turned back into gravel and went right back up another mountain. At this point, it was about half an hour until dark, Galen was still way up on the single track trail, bonking, possibly lost, or possibly being mauled by a cougar. Tony had bonked and could no longer hold my wheel, and we still weren’t even sure where the car was. So I did the most logical thing in this sort of situation. I ditched Tony.
Well I didn’t just ditch him, actually. We decided that I better just book it to the car and drive it back to pick up Tony and go search for Galen. So I began cranking on the pedals and left Tony to zig-zag across the road on his way up the mountain. A few miles later, a car passed going the oposite direction and I told them our story. They couldn’t drive me back to the hwy because they were about to run out of gas (lame excuse), but at least I got them to relay a message to Tony to save his energy and just head back and see if he could find Galen if he somehow managed to make it down the mountain. They also told me that this road was Patterson Mountain road, which meant our truck was parked on the other side at the bottom, so now I at least knew where I was heading.
It was dark, and I was cruising up the road, slightly freaked out by the cougars I had tried to scare Galen with when Tony and I had left him. But more than the cougars, I was scared that Galen was still lost up in the mountain, was trying to get down in the dark, might break his leg, or fall off a cliff or something. I was pretty sure that Galen was going to have to spend the night up there and we were going to also as we searched for him.
The only sound was my breathing and the gravel beneath my tires. The only sight was the faint outline of the road. It was getting colder, and a few raindrops began to fall, but I was sweating. Every corner felt like it might be the last, but I told myself not to get my hopes up. It worked, and the top of the mountain came sooner than I expected. Five miles of descending in the pitch black now. I hit a couple pot holes, but stayed upright, the two inches of front suspension saving the day. I finally got to Tony’s truck, threw my bike in the back, cranked on the heat, and sped back up the way I had come, fish tailing around the corners.
It took a half an hour to get back to where I had left Tony, and all of a sudden, there they both were. Galen had appeared magicaly, somehow, down the mountain. I hadn’t expected it to be this easy. Turns out Galen was saved by another group of hunters, who drove him down the gravel after he made it out of the single track.
I blarred the horn as I came to a stop in front of them; they shouted for joy and gave me a hug. They had been sitting in the dark for almost an hour, shivering and clueless as to when and if I would return.
They got in the warm car and we drove back up and then down Patterson Mountain, talking about all the food we would eat once back in town.
We called and bitched out Gilad for giving us bad directions, who told us to come by the shop for some Pizza. He and Justin were staining the new wooden floor.
After the pizza, we made a ton of pasta back at Tony’s, then slept.
Galen and I woke up, drove to Alexann’s house and went horseback riding. Galen was on the biggest horse, named Fig, who didn’t listen to any of Galen’s commands, Allexann rode a white horse named Robbie, and I rode Timberall, a brown horse who kept stopping to eat grass and apples. The best part was near the end, when we got to race the horses for a few hundred meters. We slowly sped up from a trot to a canter, which is almost a gallop. Galen’s horse started zig zagging everywhere and it looked like he was going to fall off, but managed to hold on. Timberall and I came up on the left and cruised by to take the win, while Alexann just sat back following us from the rear, crossing her fingers that we wouldn’t die.
My groinall area sufficintly sore from smacking on the saddle over the last hour, we returned to Alexann’s house and ate some lunch.
Then it was back to Eugene, on the bikes, and up Ridgeline for some more mountain biking before the taco feed at Tony’s house. After six tacos each, Galen and I said goodbye and we drove back up to Portland. It was a great weekend, but too short to really say goodbye to everyone. So if I missed you, sorry. But I had partying to do, trails to get lost on, dinners to crash, and horses to ride! See you guys in April,