Sunday, June 21, 2009

Accidental Peak Bagging

I have lived in Davis County for two years now and have yet to find a trail that I would rank higher than a 5 out of 10. While working at the Bike Peddler in Orem the manager of the store, Aaron Luck, left and took a job in an Ogden shop called Ken’s Shooters Supply, apparently they sold bikes on the side. Aaron used to always tell us about the great riding up here, thankfully I never took him up on the invitation.
I remember Aaron talking about the Skyline trail up to Ben Lomond Peak, Here is what Utah Mountain Biking has to say about the trail “Monster narrow-singletrack climb of 3000 vertical feet over 6.1 miles. May be done as out-and-back, or as a shuttled ride by adding the Northern Skyline (12.6 miles), or as a loop ride by adding another 7 mile of paved road. For strong skilled riders only. Season July through mid-October.”
This sounded fun. I can honestly say I enjoy a good technical climb as much as the descent. I printed the info sheet and headed out. When they wrote the description they failed to mention that the 6.1 mile climb has zero down hill rest zones, ZERO. Since my front derailleur broke last month and I took it off I have been manually shifting with my index finger, which means that I have to stop to shift. I rode the first 5.8 miles in my middle ring because it was too much bother to stop and shift. Trust me if I were able to shift with a click of the finger I would have. I guess this is kind of what it is like to ride a single speed which I just don’t get. I like gears.
This trail peaks out at a saddle 1.5 miles below Ben Lomond Peak, my original plan was to descend the back side (Northern Skyline) then climb back up over the saddle and back down to my car. The Ben Lomond trail climbs the South facing side of the mountain and toward the top I ran into a fair amount of snow. The Northern Skyline trail descends you guessed it, the Northern facing slope. Due to snow this was not an option. At the saddle there is a sign that says that Ben Lomond peak was 1.5 miles off of a side trail. I headed for the peak.
By this time I was feeling a little gassy from the Taco Bell that I had on the way to the trail head. I had an intense focus on the trail within a 10 foot radius when I cut one loose. It was something to be proud of. Just at that moment a pretty girl who happened to be standing just outside of my circle of awareness startled me by jokingly saying “Hey wanna give me a ride to the bottom?” The only think I could think of to say was “Sure hop on.” as I drug the trail of stench right past her. She had to have been impressed. Someday I will have to tell a couple of other stories but let’s just say I have an extraordinary gift for flatulating in front of hot girls. At about 9000’ I got passed by a father and son riding motocross bikes, shortly after that the trail got too steep for the bikes I ditched my mountain bike about 100 yards up the trail from where the motocross bikes stopped and I could see the father and son postholing up a snowfield on the mountain above me. I was thankful to them for kicking out some steps for me. At the top of the snow field I ran into this guy, I hear they are mean so I was glad he wasn't close.
I summited shortly after the father and son at an elevation 9712'. For proof I took their picture and they took mine. Nice helmet hair.

After this long climb I was looking forward to the downhill which was fair at best. Very narrow trail lots of overgrowth with long sections of baseball sized gravel that made my fingers hurt. I guess the best thing about this trail is the views, it was beautiful up there. I will give this trail a 5.

I guess I am just spoiled by the Utah County trail systems. I think I'll take the day off work on Wednesday and visit my old friend the Ridge Trail, it's been a couple of years since we played together. I'll be sure to pack my bigwheel for the weekly ritual afterwards. Should be a perfect day.

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