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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mountain biking. It’s an adventure!


mountain biking jump
this is not Duthie, rather the only picture I have of my brother and me mountain biking; he's the jumper; i'm the knee shaker in pink.

Well, it certainly is if you go with my brother. Mountain biking with Taylor is putting your life in the hands of someone with the risk evaluative ability of a two year old. He appears to know no fear. And I hate him.
I have devised a life saving set of protocols for dealing with situations where you could end up depending on the guidance of one of these adrenaline junky types, one of these compound-fracture-separated-shoulder-acute-braindamage-from-multiple-concussions types: don’t do it; tell them to take a hike; avoid them at all cost; absolutely never go outside with one of these people. Period. However, if you somehow find yourself attempting to enjoy the outdoors with such an individual, it is imperative to keep a cool, clear head, unless you hear the words, “It was an easy trail for me, bro,” then duck or jump or run! Holy shit! Just get the hell out of there! Those words spell your imminent doom! Because in the mind of the down-hill mountain biking enthusiast, there is no discernible difference between bunny hills and black diamonds.
The last time I went biking with my brother, he took me to a series of trails outside Issaquah, WA generally referred to as Duthie or Duthie Hill. We set out from Kirkland at ten in the morning on a drizzly Sunday. After parking and riding up to the actual park it was around noon. It’s best to plan for an all day affair here, unless you live quite close.
I had never been to Duthie before and I was very impressed. It’s a wonderful place. Compared to other trails I’ve hurt myself on this one was by far the nicest. Volunteers and donators have obviously been very generous with their time and money at Duthie. And it gets a lot of use. The trails are all well groomed and well ridden. There are literally trails for all levels. There is even some kind of mountain biking camp for kids out of Issaquah, or so I’m told. I’m not ashamed to admit that I spent the majority of my time doing repeat runs of possibly the easiest trail there, Boot Camp, where I saw what appeared to be a three year old girl doing basically everything I was doing only a little better and faster. This is no exaggeration (I have a healthy fear of pain and I don’t care who knows it).
mountain biking kids
see? Small children ride (and run) Duthie! My niece and nephew at the pump track.
Boot Camp is a great trail for the beginner, and being a beginner myself, you can trust this assessment. Maybe. It’s very straight-forward (but of course it’s not straight at all). There are no (or possibly very few, easily avoided) jumps. Mostly it is a kind of rolling zig-zag of well bermed, alternating switch-backs. When you get the hang of leaning into them and you feel comfortable enough to do it with a decent head of steam, it’s a very enjoyable sensation!
And so of course I eventually forgot all of my protocols and was wooed by the allure of “shredding the gnar, gnar” and all the other silver tongued equivocations of my un-brotherly guide. We went down some scary stuff. I think one was called Dirticus or Ryan’s Somethingortheother. I’ve blocked them from recollection. I’m sure I walked down most of them and probably cried a bit. But all in all I had a blast. And the only injury I suffered was to my pride, of which there’s not much left to wound (so it only hurts a little). I can wholeheartedly recommend mountain biking at Duthie!
maiming ryan's somethingortheother
this is Taylor smashing (or pinning, or stoking, or whatever the term is!) Ryan's Somethingortheother, I guess.

And so, if you find yourself on Duthie Hill or any other trail with a pack of alpha-males, remember my words of wisdom and you might just make it down the mountain upright and in full possession of your faculties. Enjoy the ride!

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