Almost everyone I told about my up-coming bike trip to Vegas and Utah said the same thing: "Oh...ah...uhm........please be careful." (grimace).
I wasn't sure how to take it. I mean, sure, I've had a misfortune or two....but c'mon people - have a little faith.
My-buddy-Matt-and-me arrived in Vegas on Friday with just enough time to put the bikes together and plan our attack on Bootleg Canyon for the next morning. My buddy Darren and his wife Kristen were kind enough to take us in so HUGE thanks to them.
If you don't know about Bootleg Canyon, its just outside of Vegas and it boasts some of the most renowned downhill trails in the world. Its cross country trails are highly thought of as well, having been named an IMBA Epic, and the huge Interbike trade show holds their demo days here. More about the trails here.
Ride everything (or almost everything) XC was the plan. The next day we got out there early and, in typical Brian fashion, I discovered my bike computer had not charged. Oh yes, it was plugged into my home computer to charge, but see, when the computer goes into sleep mode it doesn't charge through the USB.....and hahahaha.
No computer numbers from the first day.
I'll tell you this - it was about 6-7 hours and, by my guessitamation from the map, about 21 miles. Elevation? A pantload, that much is assured. I can't even hazard a guess.
This is the first picture of the trip. We referred to it several ways - "the before photo" the "have you seen these two?" photo.
We asked a local in the parking lot for advice. He recommended a route that started climbing the steep rocky West Leg trail first. When I said we thought most people rode up the Girlscout trail, he said "Girlscout is for girlscouts."
It might sound a little jerky, but I really didn't take it that way. He seemed like a nice guy and I was in a good mood. We decided to ditch the mas macho attitude and look for the easier Girlscout trail.... Well, we ended up on West Leg anyway. So much for easing into a groove.
Looking down at Girlscout from West Leg. Yeah, it does look a little less rocky.
The breath....it needs catching.
There were a bunch of these sketchy rock step ups. I rode a few, I passed on a few more. It was tough to gauge how much the tires were going to stick to the volcano rock (the answer is alot). The penalty for failure was often quite high. There's no shortage of sharp rock at Bootleg.
After a bit we did join Girlscout and wound our way up the canyon. GS is a twisty ribbon of bench cut trail and most of its turns are bermed, at least a little, on the outside which helps with climbing but really shines when ridden downhill. Oh yes, this Girlscout sells downhill cookies and they are tasty...but that was for later in the day.
Basically, we just kept climbing the west side of the canyon and when we got to the top of the Caldera trail I think were at the highest point of the day.
Matt preparing to do what Matt does.
From there it cruised ridgelines for awhile gradually descending to Boyscout.
That's only about 7 of the 21 miles we did that day. I will tell you more when I can think straight.
.... So, Yes, I'm still alive. My arms are full of lead and my legs have been dipped in concrete. Tumbleweeds blow through the space between my ears, but I still know I had a great time.