Monday, June 18, 2007
I rode Saturday with Brently and his eldest, Dan, and B. Riding with Brent took me back to the days of following a pure descender - Stu. Stu picks as clean a line as any body you'll ever meet and then rides that line with a smoothness that defies description. Those of you who have followed Stu down a rock-strewn single track know what I'm getting at. And to my own personal loss, I haven't ridden with Stu in a long time. That's why this is a particularly nostalgic post. Stu was something of a guiding influence during my early days at the shop. Stu was the first to welcome me in to the intimidating and somewhat closed circle of The Family while he was hanging out at the shop during lunch or on breaks. He always had great advice. One of the most valuable and enduring things I learned from Stu was how to treat people with different perspectives. Another thing about Stu is that when it so strikes him, he can put together a flowing dialog of descriptive adjectives and thoughtful metaphors laced with a surprisingly-fluid (yet definitely liberal) dosing of profanity. I've often heard from those who object to profanity that the use of such language reflects a limited vocabulary. They obviously haven't heard Stu tell a story. I think the Ralphie in A Christmas Story had an idea of what I'm talking about. Stu used to live in Provo. Then he decided his commute simply wasn't long enough and he moved to Elk Ridge. One afternoon, Stu had a great idea. He suggested we go find some trails down his way. We called Brent and the group was set. Stu and I grabbed our bikes at the shop and headed to an outdoor shop to pick up a map. After finding a map with enough topographical detail to be useful, we drove on to pick up Brent and were off. Benny Creek had always been a favorite. But there was a vast system of trails to be explored apart from Benny. In fact, little was known about the "other" side of the road. So there we were, at a parking lot armed with a map and plenty of water we started off. It was a warm day and we had the mountain to ourselves. What we found was a great combination of new (to us) smooth winding single track with the signature Nebo area technical sections. It has to be ridden to be believed. Canopied oak stands transition between open stands of quakies. Descending that we felt like we'd discovered the New World. Like the great explorers of the past, we named the newly found dominion. Actually, we named the ride Amos because the dominant geographic feature that ties several sections of trails together (at least on the map)is called "Amos Backbone." I got a little out of hand following Stu and Brently down and ended up clanking through a downhill rock bed, which taco'd my rear wheel. Brent and I worked out our best caveman mechanic wheel truing by banging the rim on a rock until it'd roll in the frame and we rolled out. Besides that, my memories of that ride are of big excitement, big sweeping turns, deep rollers while wearing a shit-eating grin all bathed in the golden glow of a late summer afternoon. That didn't wear off for days. I'm wearing it now as I think of it. Alright Stu, quit messing around with the motos and join us for a ride.