I lived in Ely a while back and the year after I left for Reno the Great Basin Trails Alliance got a mountain bike race started. The race is an enduro and in keeping with enduro format winning is based on lowest accumulated times over several timed downhill sections. The ups are at whatever pace you feel like going. I am not a downhiller so for me this is just about the fun of riding around Ely and supporting the local mtb community. In fact, I have finished either last or 2nd to last every single time I’ve entered. In my own defense, Mark Wier and friends showed up one year. My accumulated time was almost exactly double his. Egads I am a crappy downhill rider. But I have fun and am pretty good at going uphill. This year John Wilson (he won) and other Northstar Team Pro types showed up. My time was not quite double John’s but not far off. I guess that means my downhill prowess is reaching new levels.
In the past couple of years the weather has been pretty darn bad. I bailed last year and it was a festival of destroyed drivetrains and dispirited downhillers. Thus the ‘tears’ part of the name. This year’s weather was perfect. 70ish degree temps, clear skies with a slight breeze. For me, the ‘fears’ part of the name comes on the last downhill stretch. It is just plain scary in spots and I have to walk. There are a number of categories and different distances, number of timed sections and overall vertical gain/loss. You get the idea.
I am out in Ely for work and so got to ride on Friday. I decided to check out part of the race route above the Watt’s house and specifically to see what the snowfield at about 8,900 feet looked like. It looked like a late lying snowfield with my Retrotec in it.
The race was a blast as usual. Photo is of Hector B and lots of mule’s ear at the top of the G Loop. Schell Creeks off in the distance. The folks in Ely turned out in force to volunteer, the Jailhouse Casino (muchas gracias Bryane and Suzi) provided food and hospitality and the trails provided lots of incredible riding.
I won some swag at the raffle, ate a bunch of good bbq at the Jailhouse and drank beer. I would’ve lied about how fast I went but the downhills were timed so that pretty much shot down any delusions of grandeur I had. Sunday rolled around and out to Cave Lake State Park to hit some very lovely single track. If you ride the single track that’s out there now it is about 13 miles total with +/- 2000 feet of vertical with truly spectacular views, wildflowers and elk (no photos today though).
Being a Poedunk, I am always happy to get an opportunity to do some trail work. Sunday provided just such happenstance. As we descended back to the trailhead we came across some blowdown pinyon pine. Maxwell from SoCal carries a handsaw and we actually just cut the trees up and moved them. Wow. Riding in sagebrush much of the time, I don’t carry a handsaw. The action photo is John W from Reno. It was an excellent weekend and I am looking forward to next year…and a better turnout from Reno and SLC (you know who you are).