Montana Trip 2020

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by mtnbikej, Jul 10, 2020.



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  1. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    For the 2nd year in a row, I've stepped out of my comfort zone and took a vacation. Last year it was Kokopelli, this year it would be a week in Montana.

    One of the stipulations to get @theProfessor to join us for the boys trip to St. George was that we would join them in Bozeman, Montana this summer.

    With 1100 miles to drive, this would be my longest roadtrip. Navigation said 15.5-18.5 hrs. Not gonna lie, those numbers just didn't compute.

    We had planned to leave Weds. last week, but Josh asked us to postpone a few days since the weather had been wet. So we pushed back and left late Friday/early Saturday. Our plan was to drive through the night, but with the shifted departure, we hit the road at 3am. Roads were wide open on July 4th. We were on the otherside of Vegas in 3.5 hours.

    We'd actually have no traffic problems until we reached Salt Lake City....about 1/2 way to our destination, and that was just heavy traffic due to construction.

    Once over the border to Idaho it was wide open for a whole lotta miles. About the time we reached West Yellowstone, traffic again picked up as we started hitting all the people out enjoying 4th of July.

    As we crossed over into Montana and into the Gallitan National Forest, we did get rained on.

    We pulled into @theProfessor's place about 7pm....after 14 hrs on the road. Really didn't feel like we had gone that far, or spent that many hours in the truck.

    Watched the boys shoot off fireworks......which are not regulated in Montana, so it sounded like a war zone late into the night.

    ........to be continued......


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  2. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    Day 2.......

    With temps expected to warm up later in the week....Josh chose our first ride to be out at Copper City. Now this would not be the picture I had in my mind of what Montana looks like. Nope, we were headed out to the "desert". No big trees or forests.....this would be a lot of open plains.

    Myself, @horsebikerider , @theProfessor, @mumbles would meet up Suz's boss Matt and his daughter out there. Matt had a shorter ride window, so Suz headed off with them, while I rode off with Josh and Mumbles.


    Where are the trees and forests?
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    We'd start up Green Eagle South.....kind of a meandering up and down singletrack for a few miles to get warmed up.
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    Up Lower High Ore to Mother Lode up to Trident. This would be a combination of smooth singletrack, and rocky volcanic rock crawling along a ridgeline.

    Hard to beat the views......
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    Down Trident was fast tight singletrack......with just enough hidden rocks in grass to keep to on your toes. A few really tight switchbacks. Not really a brake burner, but a fun run down.

    This would lead us up Boss Tweed....down in the canyon it was getting toasty....fortunately there was a breeze blowing. Up Mother Lode the other way would lead us to Destroying Angel. This was a pretty brutal climb. Steep grades, rocky sections, tight switchbacks.....kinda felt like Zen Trail in St. George from time to time. It just kept going. Good thing we actually had a little shade from time to time. Destroying Angel dropped us into a bermed jump trail....it doesn't seem to appear on the map.
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    At the bottom we turned back up Boss Tweed again....now it was just plain hot. The slight tailwind wasn't helping.

    Back up MotherLode again to Upper High Ore

    Up we go......
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    More riding across the volcanic rocks.....cutting tires here is an issue......
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    Eventually we ended up at the top of Merry Widow.......it starts off really rocky kinda like Joplin, then turns into a flow jump trail similar to the old Berm Shot trail at the Oakley Trails.....really fun and fast. Some pretty big G-outs.

    At the bottom we turned back up to the middle section of Never Sweat.....more of the same....big berms and tabletops.......and a huge gap.....not even in my pay grade....

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    From there it was back down Green Eagle North back to the cars.

    21.6 / 3550'

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    On the way out of the canyon we did see a neat art display of steel painted horses on the hillside......
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  3. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Nice, awaiting the rest. If you're still up there and need some ride ideas you can search out some of my TR's. Wish I could make it up there as well! Have fun
     
  4. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    Day 3.......

    Today would get us into more the terrain I was picturing in my mind when I thought of Montana.

    The route: Sourdough Canyon to Mystic Lake, down Wall of Death, up Moser Troad to Road 3159 to Leverich Canyon

    The ride started with a very gentle 10 mile fireroad climb to Mystic Lake.

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    Just mindless miles to soak in the views and scenery. IMG_6622.JPG IMG_6623.JPG IMG_6624.JPG

    After the first 2-3 miles we really didn't see any other people.
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    Mystic Lake.......
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    Good place to take a load off......
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    There are sooooooo many streams and creeks running......IMG_6634.JPG

    From here Suz headed back down Sourdough Canyon.

    Josh, Mumbles and I chose to go down "Wall of Death".....yes, that is the trail name.IMG_6635.JPG IMG_6636.JPG
    Never really did find the Wall of Death anywere. However it was narrow singletrack with some exposure. Fast and fun and flowy. Not to mention some hidden mud bogs that were just unavoidable. IMG_6637.JPG IMG_6638.JPG

    We met back up with Suz at the bridge....she should have come down with us....the name was a bit of a let down.

    From here she headed back to the truck then was gonna go for a hike while the rest of us continued on.IMG_6639.JPG
    Not all fire roads are created equal. Josh hadn't ridden this way, so it was a bit of an adventure. We took Moser Troad up......1150' over 4 miles. The road would pretty much drop down to 2 x 12" tracks in the grass.
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    At the top, we popped out onto Road 3159 for about 3.5 miles. This felt like the big fire road climb at the Cannel Plunge.....not a difficult section.


    Eventually we topped out at the Upper Leverich Canyon connector.
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    Leverich Canyon was smooth singltrack amongst the trees. Very Fast and Very Flowy. A few rocks and roots from time to time. Josh refers to this as the Luge of the area. Fun trail but short. To me, it felt like sections of Skypark without the wood features.

    At the bottom was a few miles on the road back to the start.

    26.5 / 3000'

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  5. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    HT, FS
    Killer!!! :thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
  6. CBone

    CBone Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Antelope Valley
    Name:
    Tucker
    Current Bike:
    Intense Primer
    Keep ‘em coming. Good stuff
     
    Mikie, mike and mountaingirl sara like this.
  7. Grego

    Grego iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Fullerton
    Name:
    joe
    Current Bike:
    WFO9
    Nice getaway.:thumbsup:
     
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  8. 406

    406 Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Ripmo
    Bridger foothill trail, if dry should be good to go. Lion head might not be cut out yet. Have fun. Looking like I might not have coverage for childcare for my planned Montana mountain bike trip this fall.
     
  9. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    Day 4......

    Today was a much needed break from @mumbles. The ladies and the kiddos were going to go for a hike.

    Josh and I had planned a bigger ride for us.

    On the menu today was Bangtail Divide Trail.

    We started about a mile down the road to get a little bit of a warm up by the time we reached the trail. This was good because you immediately start climbing once you hit the trail.....similar to San Juan Trail. Death by a 1000 switchbacks. Back and forth and up we went. The switchbacks were not technical and the dirt was really good. We eventually caught and passed our mates.

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    Turn after turn we continued up. Felt like we gained quite a bit of elevation.....turns out we did, in a very short distance.

    After spending the first 2 miles under a really excellent forested canopy, we popped out into the first meadow. Wildflowers going off late in the season.
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    We continued onward and upward. Clear skies and hit a high temp of 80*.

    As just a reminder of where we are....the big wood posts marking the trail....7' tall to mark the trail for XC Skiing.....
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    At about mile 4 we finished the 1000 switchbacks and got out to the views....yeah, the views didn't suck....
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    From here, we hit a series of flowy singletracks up and down through some tight trees....a nice recovery after the constant climb to start. At this point we started to notice the change in the weather. Our clear skies were being overtaken by dark clouds.FCC82AFF-8BE1-4B1C-8461-479C120E009B.jpeg

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    Started to look pretty ominous. We began hearing thunder out in the distance. Yeah, we were heading into a thunderstorm.

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    More short punchy climbs.

    Eventually we started feeling the drops of rain. We also started seeing the lightning and feeling the thunder. No so bad when we were in amongst the tall trees. A bit unnerving while we were out traversing some of the large meadows.

    The rain started to sting after a little while.....turns out we were getting pelted by pea size hail.....
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    The sounds of the hail bouncing off our helmets was interesting. The sting as they pelted out arms, face and legs. The hail was short lived, but the rain continued on. The dirt was no longer dry. Fortunately we entered into a very thick section of forest. We rolled into a very fast, smooth, flowy tree lined trail. The rain made the hero dirt we were looking for. Also looked down to see the temp had dropped down to 45*.

    The wind had whipped up as well, but it didn't feel nearly as cold as the temps indicated. We still had some punchy climbs, and some longer drawn out sustained climbs. We would only see 3 other riders the whole day. It felt like we were really out in the middle of nowhere.

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    The rain let up, but the damage was done. The trail was pretty wet, and we would be playing in the mud for a while. Some more fast semi-technical trails. We had reached a more DH trending direction.

    We finally reached the last of the climbs and began our plunge down. Some of the loamy sections of the singletrack were just amazing....traction for days. Josh led at a good fast pace. Singletrack bliss......several miles of it.

    We did run across a few motos on the trail....they weren't very comfortable with the we dirt.

    We rolled into another set of switchbacks on the way down. The rain had picked back up again. Gone was the loamy dirt.....replaced by some slippery snot. Not so bad in the long straights....but the switchbacks were a bit tricky. Wet rocks, wet roots and slippery snot...so fun. At least until the first to the last switchback, when the front wheel slipped out and I slid into the mud. What I thought was just mud had some rocks hidden in them. Ended up slicing my knee pretty good. Good thing we were only a minute from the bottom of the trail.

    From here we had a 7 mile road ride back to the start....however unbeknownst to me, the Professor had arranged for the truck to be dropped off at the end of the trail were we were. Mixed emotions here. Was looking for the extra miles, but my knee didn't look so good, it was raining, cold and windy.

    She got a little worked.....
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    Awesome trail. Turns out Bangtail Divide is classified as an IMBA Epic.

    23.6 / 3800'

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  10. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    Day 5......

    We took a day off the bike.......we were gonna be tourists today.

    Up early, we drove to see the sights of Yellowstone National Park.

    We rolled into the park just after sunrise.

    Within mins got to see the first wildlife of the day....

    Elk just hanging out by the side of the road.....
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    Pretty excited to see.....we are after all just city folks.

    A short time later finally saw the biggest critters...... Video in the link below

    Instagram Link

    The bison just seemed to be everywhere....but not on the road itself.

    We had hoped that getting out early would increase the chances of us seeing something spectacular. You could always tell there was something good when lots of cars are pulled over. That did happen...however it did require binoculars...but we got to see 3 wolves down by the river near a large herd of bison. It was a first for Josh as many times as he had been through the park. It was awesome, but too far away for any pics.

    Wow....elk, wolves, bison.....what a treat.

    A little later on a few cars were pulled to the side of the road. We slowed and pulled into an opening.....

    This little guy walked right up to the car.....IMG_6381.JPG IMG_6667.JPG IMG_6668.JPG IMG_6669.JPG IMG_6664.JPG IMG_6665.JPG

    Video in the link below.....

    Instagram Link

    Soooooo freaking awesome to see. Yeah it was a little one, but feet from us. Didn't have a care in the world we were watching it.

    From there we really had hoped for a moose, but wouldn't see any.

    We did get out and check out some of the geological and thermal sites along the way.
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    And finally finished off with seeing Old Faithfull. Our timing was good as we only had to wait about 20 mins.
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    It was cool to see it....I don't need to see it again.

    Social distancing wasn't an important issue for everyone there.....and it was quite peopley.

    Again the sites and views were just incredible. Everyone must check out the park, and we only saw a small section of it.

    Photo dump.....

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  11. beartooth

    beartooth Member

    Name:
    rob
    Current Bike:
    process111
    Thanks for the report. Been a while since I was up there. You were pretty close to my screen name - beartooth highway, route 212 connects north yellowstone to red cloud montana.

    I am almost ready for a road trip.
     
    OTHRider, Mikie, mike and 3 others like this.
  12. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    Day 6.....

    Wasn't sure we were gonna get in a ride today. It was supposed to be our getaway day. I was also not sure how my knee was going to be, and Suz's Reverb developed a very slow return after the Sourdough ride the other day.

    However we knew this was going to be a shorter ride. One we could know out in the morning before hitting the road.

    History Rock to Fox Creek to South Cottonwood Canyon. Yes, it would be another shuttle. I was ok with it as we were getting an extra ride in.

    Looking at Trailforks....knew the climb was goona be rough. It claimed 1800' in 3 miles :eek: It had also only been ridden 79 times on Strava....that tells you something.

    We started at 6500'.....and immediately started going up.

    To me it felt like climbing the second half of Trabuco Trail. Steep, but still ridable. Suz was suffering a bit from the elevation.

    You reach History Rock real quick.....
    IMG_6690.JPG IMG_6691.JPG
    From there you just keep going up and up and up. Just a few steps down from Acorn Trail in steepness.
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    We did have a few meadows to traverse....yes, there is a trail.
    IMG_6693.JPG IMG_6694.JPG
    We eventually would work out way up to 8000'.......
    IMG_6696.JPG IMG_6698.JPG

    Suz wasn't enjoying the lack of oxygen and power in the legs.IMG_6699.JPG
    As we progressed up, the trail got a little more technical....but nothing that we couldn't handle. The view were also getting better and better....not that they weren't to start with.
    IMG_6701.JPG

    This is what I had pictured in my mind that riding in Montana would be.....tall trees through the forests.....IMG_6702.JPG IMG_6703.JPG

    3 miles up....we reached the top....Trailforks was wrong, it was only about 1300-1400'....but still a stout climb.

    This lead us to a clearing with a view into a canyon......WOW!

    IMG_6705.JPG

    Time for some pics.......IMG_6704.JPG IMG_6706.JPG IMG_6708.JPG IMG_6710.JPG
    A rest and a break......

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    From here we picked up Fox Creek.....

    It started down a steep meadow. This was quite a brake burner. Josh hit a rock hidden in the shade just before a switchback and came to an immediate stop. I was just behind him and smacked the same rock, but in my attempt to not hit him, blew the switchback....no harm, no foul, stayed on my bike, just about 30' down the hills side.

    As we rolled back into the tree line, the trail began to get pretty rowdy. Like Joplin and Upper Cannel Plunge rowdy. Lots of chunk, lots of roots. Josh and I were having a blast. Suz, well let's just say she was still feeling the lack of oxygen and the feeling of being fried by a horrendous climb. She was still a trooper and did great.

    We would get a break from the chunk from time to time with a smooth meadow.....
    IMG_6716.JPG IMG_6717.JPG
    We would work our way down towards South Cottonwood Creek......
    IMG_6718.JPG
    A little too much water to forge the creeks....good thing they built some bridges....
    IMG_6719.JPG IMG_6720.JPG

    IMG_6721.JPG

    South Cottonwood Creek was listed as a "blue" trail, but had the same characteristics as Fox Creek....rocks/switchbacks/roots/exposure/mud bogs/more rocks. Suz was pretty worked, but she was finally starting to find her groove towards the bottom. Eventually the trail smoothed out and the speeds picked up. Before too long we reached the end. She did say in retrospect that it was fun, and probably more enjoyable if you didn't have to do the soul sucking climb first.

    Really really enjoyed this one....even as short as it was.

    2 hrs. to roll through 10.5 miles......kinda misleading.

    10.5 / 1725'

    Screenshot (209).png Screenshot (210).png


    After a quick lunch.....we hit the road about 4:30 and drove through the night. Rolled into the garage about 7:00.

    Such an awesome trip....glad we did it. Rolled through 7 states along the way. Saw a lot of incredible country. Think we will do it again next year.
     
    MolarM, Tom the Bomb, Redman and 26 others like this.
  13. DangerDirtyD

    DangerDirtyD iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    CA
    Name:
    Chicken Nugget
    Current Bike:
    2018 Guerrilla Gravity SMASH
    How did you clean your bike after day 4? Also, any photos of your knee from that day?
     
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  14. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower

    Cleaned it with a brush and rag.....no water needed.

    Knee isn't as bad as I thought it was gonna be....sliced nicely, but closed back up on it's own.
     
    Tom the Bomb, Oaken, Mikie and 6 others like this.
  15. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Ssnake"
    Current Bike:
    Trek FEX
    @mtnbikej, I saw a pic or two of you and your hunny cuddling, then one of you two smooching. And then I saw a pic of you and Josh cuddling, but not one of you guys smooching? :eek::D;)

    Fabulous stuff, thanks for sharing it. :cool::thumbsup:
     
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  16. Faust29

    Faust29 Moderator

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    B. Bunny
    Current Bike:
    2 SC and a STDM
    It all sounds great and everything, but I think we need a reminder of the rules. Even if you don't personally summon the SAG wagon, it counts if you get in the truck when the opportunity is presented.
     
    OTHRider, Mikie, mike and 6 others like this.
  17. Poofighter

    Poofighter Member

    Location:
    Cypress Hill
    Name:
    Noel
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Shortboy
    @mtnbikej Thank you sharing the awesome photos.
     
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  18. mountaingirl sara

    mountaingirl sara iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    So Cal
    Name:
    Sara
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley
    FREAKING FANTASTIC ride report and photos! Thanks for sharing, Montana looks like an awesome and magical state!!
     
  19. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Nice work! I would always encourage trips like this to places you haven't been before. So much stuff across the west to ride...

    I've ridden lower S Cottonwood but we came from Blackmore higher up rather than across History rock. I really liked S Cottonwood. Flowy yet techy, and seemed very bear-y. Up above what you rode is some awesome backcountry riding.

    Does the professor live up there now? Or just up there for the summer?
     
    Walleye, Mikie, Faust29 and 3 others like this.
  20. scan

    scan Well-Known Member

    Name:
    fran allas
    Current Bike:
    Scott Spark
    Great photos! Looks like an awesome trip:thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
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  21. Rumpled

    Rumpled Well-Known Member

    Location:
    OC
    Name:
    Jim Martin
    Current Bike:
    2018 Specialized Epic Carbon C
    Sounds awesome. My limit is about 500-600 miles between sleeps. Can't go longer than that and I am often traveling with my dogs, they need breaks.
    A bit too late, but high five to Matt.

    Looks like you all had a lot of fun.
     
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  22. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    Thanks.....we basically did rides that he has done. Perhaps next year we'll try some other stuff.

    They just rent a place for the summer....but have been doing it for years.
     
    Faust29, Mikie, evdog and 1 other person like this.
  23. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    HT, FS
    What a trip!!! Nice riding, touring and reporting :thumbsup::thumbsup:

    Not a convenient destination from SoCal, but worth the effort. You guys did it right. :)
     
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  24. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Ibis DV9, Santa Cruz Hightower
    All the ride reports on imtbtrails are awesome...
    These are the ride reports that get me giddy, drives me to get back out there. That is the mountain biking I seek and why we are now so focused on South Dakota.
    This was awesome. This, was awesome.
    Thanks!
     
    Walleye, OTHRider, Oaken and 9 others like this.
  25. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    @Faust29 wasn’t here to take pics, so @theProfessor jumped in quickly to document my spill on BangTail Divide.....
    BA118775-2202-45BA-9F1B-D01678F32994.jpeg 0D64D3FA-5902-43C5-87CD-BE0EA06B5BE0.jpeg BF79E85F-7344-439D-8DAB-3A0797776E26.jpeg


    Once the blood was cleared away, it looked like a surgeon used a scalpel to open me up.

    161580D1-3818-4261-ACE4-21CB2B0B0558.jpeg
     
    Tom the Bomb, CBone, scan and 11 others like this.
  26. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Ssnake"
    Current Bike:
    Trek FEX
    Yikes!!! :eek:

    Jaybird down! Jaybird down! :unsure:
     
    Faust29, Mikie and mtnbikej like this.
  27. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower; Revel Rail
    Ooof!

    Looks slickery on that turn. Heal up quick. 'Tis but a scratch (I hope).
     
  28. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    All of this was awesome stuff. Thanks for the RR. That area of the planet is well worth the trip. :thumbsup:
     
    Faust29, Mikie and mtnbikej like this.
  29. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    HT, FS
    Yowch, solid job, J. Heal strong and clean.

    Reaching for the camera when someone goes down seems... o_O
     
    scan, OTHRider, Old&InTheWay and 4 others like this.
  30. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower

    Normal. :facepalm: :laugh:
     
    Rumpled, Walleye, OTHRider and 6 others like this.
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