Sign In:

×

Last Step!

Please enter your public display name and a secure password.

Plan to post in the forums? Change your default forum handle here!

×
×

Getting Spanked on Mammoth’s Other Trails

Every once in a while, I find myself in a situation that’s well over my head. And that’s okay. More often than not, these situations are learning experiences. But, sometimes, these situations leave scars.

As I slid face first through the gravel, I rolled this over in my head. It’s funny when you think you’ve got something dialed and a small decision makes you realize that you don’t know a damn thing about what you’re doing. That’s kind of how I felt about my first weekend of mountain biking.

A few weeks earlier, I received an email from Teton Gravity Research, asking if I’d like to check out the riding around Mammoth Lakes. I assumed this would be the standard press trip, a light tour of trails and restaurants with more boozing than pedaling. So, without having any trail experience, I thought I’d be okay. Clearly, there was a misunderstanding.

When I arrived at the hotel and began meeting the group— biking badasses like Bike Magazine’s Nicole Formosa, endurance athlete Heidi Volpe, and pro riders Luke Wynen and Phil Mooney— I had the first inkling that I would probably get a pretty good workout. We went for a cruise around the in-town Shady Rest area, climbing and coasting the network of single tracks and double tracks. It was a cute warm-up for Saturday’s blitz.

I needed to wreck. I didn’t really enjoy the dirt-blood coleslaw of my elbows or the spinal whiplash. But eating shit does serve a purpose. A good fall usually makes a good story—especially when you’re already in over your head.

Mammoth is well known in the mountain biking realm for the resort’s eighty miles of downhill lift-serviced trails. The mountain is home to the  Kamikaze Bike Games, one of the sport’s gnarliest race series. But beyond the chairlifts and condos of the resort area, there’s a huge amount of riding to be done.

The Eastern Sierra rise more than a vertical mile from the Owens River Valley. In some spots, you can drive to nearly 10,000 feet. In the Mammoth area, trails like Wheeler Crest, Sand Canyon, and Wagon Wheel connect the upper reaches to the floor of the valley.

As I came to find out, these trails are steep, rocky and technical, but also beautiful. They drop from the subalpine, with its big gnarly Jeffrey Pines and small lakes, to the sagebrush desert. The White Mountains stretch along the horizon, and the Sierra peaks tend to jump out around the corners.

Rock Creek Canyon, a winding nine mile singletrack, is an absolute must for any trail rider. The first section has flowing chicanes along the creek. The lower parts start to get narrower and more technical. A few rock piles offer sketchy lines that would probably be thrilling, if you shred. I was lucky to make it down without falling in the water.

As we rode, the group stopped often for photos and I’d come chugging up behind them. But it wasn’t too long before I started to get the hang of dodging rocks, pumping into turns and generally letting loose on open downhill stretches. That was all fine and well, until I got cocky.

Most of the group was waiting at the bottom of a long steep double track on one of the higher trails. Despite my overall out-of-control-ness, I made it through this section without falling and without completely melting my brakes. To show off my new competency, I thought I’d bust a little air off a jutting rock. The instant my wheels touched down, I found myself bent scorpion, face in dust, with the handlebars massaging my back.

All heads turned, but no one seemed especially surprised—myself included. I imagine they’ve all had their falls, the majority of them likely much worse. I untangled myself and stood up.

In some ways, I needed to wreck. I didn’t really enjoy the dirt-blood coleslaw of my elbows or the spinal whiplash. But eating shit does serve a purpose. A good fall usually makes a good story—especially when you’re already in over your head.

Many many thanks for the very nice post here it is the amazing way to Play free mahjongg dark dimensions and start the full enjoyments online.

Play
READ THE STORY
The 5 Mountain Bikers You’ll See On The Trail In Spring
Up Next Culture

The 5 Mountain Bikers You’ll See On The Trail In Spring

The 5 Mountain Bikers You’ll See On The Trail In Spring

 Michael Jantze You're finally out and about on your bike. The snow is long gone and your local trail police say it's dry enough to ride. As you pedal along, re-acquainting yourself with skills that lay dormant for several months, you might spot a few rare, early-season MTB creatures.#1: The New Leaf Yayyyy! He’s getting fit! He’s in the woods! His reflectors are shattered, his derailleur wrapped around the chainstay, and his rear tire is flat! You’ll know him by his jeans shorts,

Play
READ THE STORY
Ex Ski Bum Questions Point Of Career, Adulthood
Up Next Culture

Ex Ski Bum Questions Point Of Career, Adulthood

Ex Ski Bum Questions Point Of Career, Adulthood

A San Francisco accounting firm reported Friday that one of their newest employees — an ex ski bum — had officially burnt out after three days on the job and told numerous clients to do their own taxes. The stress boiled over when newly-minted accountant and ex-dirtbag Ryan Rogers, 31, received a brand new stack of tax documents to review at approximately 4:45 p.m. Friday, just before the weekend. Having followed the snow forecast in eager anticipation for multiple weeks, the overworked

Play
READ THE STORY
The Dirtbag Squatter: Ski Town Caricatures
Up Next Culture

The Dirtbag Squatter: Ski Town Caricatures

The Dirtbag Squatter: Ski Town Caricatures

As fall fades and snow paints the landscape, countless mountain folk begin to feel the existential tug of winter. But there’s one type of outdoor enthusiast who’s commitment trumps all the rest. Masters of the art of discomfort, these individuals are known by many names: vagrant, gypsy, transient, bohemian, but most of the time, these restless wanderers prefer their given moniker: The Dirtbag. Styling out destitution like a badge of honor, poverty hasn’t looked this good since the Buddha