Adventure. It's so entangled with the spirit of riding a bike that it's almost to obvious to talk about, but we're going to talk about it anyway. Because a bike is not just transportation and is enjoyable for its own sake, you can be in the midst of traversing points A to B and find yourself detouring to points L, Ń, Omega, Krypton, Narnia, and etc. You may find yourself at a bar or a concert. You may find yourself drinking a really fine beer while watching the setting sun do that thing it does with the sky. You may find yourself anywhere, and no matter where you are you won't be feeding the meter.
By its nature, adventure is difficult to plan. Plans can give way to bad weather or suffocate under logistics. Sometimes adventures end with a number of the adventuring party getting eaten by others in that party. Thus, it's a little miraculous that our recent planned (albeit loosely) adventure with Surly Bikes turned out to be wholly adventurous with absolutely no cannibalism (that we know of).
Ten riders set out from Waterton Canyon on Friday with various amounts of gear loaded up in various ways. Though a full set of sleek bikepacking bags looks cool and pro and works well, there were plenty of items zip-tied to chainstays, which seems a little closer to the spirit of adventure.
Because Waterton Canyon was closed by bear activity (human activity, actually, as it was bear-selfies that instigated the closure), we rode around to the Colorado Trail through Roxborough State Park. The four miles of additional singletrack we rode was excellent--airing out a fully-loaded touring bike was worth the extra mileage. The ten additional miles of road was not so excellent, but it wasn't awful, either.
Because of the detour, it was after 1pm before we started climbing the singletrack on the Colorado Trail. We had hoped to be at the beginning of Segment Two by that time, but an adventure that runs on time has--to some degree--failed. The loaded climbs of Segment One were not as difficult as I expected, but they were far longer. About 90% of the trail was ridable while the other 90% was hike-a-bike. Cascading boulders stacked at what seemed like a 35-degree angle made for sore triceps the following day. At the top of that climb I was hungrier than I've ever been, and in fact ingested a couple of sandwiches by osmosis. This rest stop was exactly the place where someone (probably the event's organizer) would've gotten eaten had circumstances been worse.
The next four miles sloped gently but cruelly upward and deposited us at a campsite with a view that was just pretentious. We'll be going back to that place someday.
While the entire day was "fun," the descent from that campsite down to the Platte River was real, actual fun. I wrecked at this corner and figured it was as good a place to take pictures.
We gathered water at the Platte River. I don't know why, because all we drank from that point onward was whiskey. A few sweet opportunities to push Seth into the river were clearly missed.
We decided it was too late in the day to attempt Segment Two. We instead took the road through the "towns" of Foxton and Buffalo Creek, ending with a truly endless and ghastly climb on 126. It traverses Buffalo Creek's burn area, but the climb is so godawful that I developed my very own personal "burn area." At least the sunset was pretty.
At the top of that hill, some fellow campers awaited us with beer and burritos. Had we not been so weary, our vigorous hugs of thanks might've proven fatal. After some beer and a lot of sleep, we woke up in this ugly place:
Kevin from Huckleberry Roasters greeted us with a lot of very delicious, bottomless coffee, and thus he improved on what I'd thought was a perfect morning.
We spent Saturday doing whatever we felt like doing. We rode bikes, we drank beer, and for a little while, despite having a set of corn hole boards like, right there, we did a little of this:
If you haven't ridden the Little Scraggy trail, you should go do that right now.
Reeves is obviously singing or sneezing or shrieking or something. Reeves, we like this photo so much that we made a profile picture that you are welcome to use royalty-free:
We took senior pictures.
We wore ourselves out.
And then we rallied.
(Note of thanks: Our Yawp Company has received quite a lot of beer from our neighbors at Joyride Brewing Company this season. As we're all insufferable to be around while sober, we'd like to thank them for making this whole outfit tolerable. For this particular outing, we also enjoyed beer by Prost, Epic, and Trve. I can't tell you just how tolerable everyone was. Thanks!)
And then we found a use for the corn hole boards:
It turns out that there is no such thing as "out of the way" when this fella gets going:
In case you can't tell from that pitch black video what's going on, that's Tyler running into me. If you want to sit in my lap, Tyler, all you have to do is ask.
It turns out that getting run over by a bicycle near a campfire is the bedtime story I want to be told every night, and bikepacking is the adventure I want to have every weekend. Thank you to everyone who participated, cooked, carried, shared, dogsat, high-fived, rode, and cornholed. Let's do it again soon.