Velo Bella-Kona Ride

Putting it into perspective

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What makes a trail early season?

by Shannon Holden

What makes a trail an early season trail?

So I live up North in the Boonies, Spokane, WA. I guess the thing I love most about Spokane is the amount of Mountain bike trails we have. This past weekend my friend, now fellow team mate Sara Johnson from Portland OR, and I went riding on Mount Spokane. This just happens to be the local hang out for most of our friends in the Summer (he he we are all mountain bikers). There are tons of wicked trails and it is about 10 degrees cooler than in town. So usually we climb up what is called Kit Carson loop road to the top of the Mountain, which is about an hour of solid climbing. When we get to the top we put on our deer fly masks and begin the decent through Treachorous Trees. OK just kidding about the masks. Hit Trail 130 until you are almost down, then back up Kti Carson for 10 minutes and down on Top Secret. This probably means nothing to you all but we all love this paticular ride so much that we never mix it up in the summer.

So on Saturday Sara and I get to Treacherous trees and she looks at me and says lets cut over to Early Season. I say sure...why not. Mind you Sara is a Pro DH, incredible motorcycle rider, and all out crazy women when in comes to going down a mountain on a bike. I think I also forgot to say that my husband came along for the adventure. So off goes Kris with Sara on his tail down the cut off to Early saason leaving me in a puff of dust. As if they aren't faster than me to begin with, now I can't see. We get to Early Season, mind you this is my favorite trail in the early season, and in my 7 years of riding I have never gone down it after June. I had a moment of feeling very cocky thinking I will just stay on Sara's wheel. Early season is a little more technical that some of the other trails, but since I know it so well I thought it would be super fun to try and go really fast to see how close I would be to Sara. The first little shoot down is in about 3 inches of fresh powder, and not the white kind either. Powder biking is not one of my forte's. I loose the wheel in front of me and feel out of control and let down. At the bottom of the first section Sara and Kris are waiting for me. Instead of being freaked out I am still thinking to myself to stay on her wheel through the next section, it shouldn't be as loose. This is where I found out why it is called early season. What a mess for those of you that rode NORBA it was like the loose powder dust of Fontana with the roots and rocks of Snowmass, the switchbacks of Park City, with stairs, creek crossings, and a few drops in case you get bored. The fun of all season mixed in one. By the second time the two of them were waiting for me my confidence was shot. I was just happy that I had ridden the trail early season so that I knew what was under the powder. It was amazing that this fun techincal trail could be so difficult for me. There were definately parts that I thought twice about, when I made it through I was so pumped, which is pretty funny considering I bombed down it 6 weeks ago. It was a blast though, I love the trails here and you can't beat riding with an amazing female downhiller.

Well, I learned what makes a trail an early season trail. So those trails we all avoid because they are beat up or nasty we should be riding 'cause who knows when a race might be on an early season trail. If you are ever in my neck of the woods give me a call and we can go play on our bikes.

Happy Trails! Shannon