05-10-10 It’s no secret that all of us at GL are on the road more often than not. On those rare occasions when we do get the chance to be at home it is not long before our phone rings and we’re packing our bags for yet another road trip. My friends inevitably ask where I am going and, more-often-than-not, I reply with a less than enthusiastic “I have to go to (insert random country/state/ski hill here)” in the same tone of voice as one might say “really, brussel sprouts again?”
The truth of the matter, however, is that without fail I find myself in new landscapes, new cultures, new mountains and surrounded by new people who are absolutely passionate about bringing new mountain bike experiences to their own backyards and have reached out to us for advice. How could anyone not get excited about that? Better still, I’m occasionally lucky enough to get to bring my two dogs and partner in crime along for the ride.
And so I find myself in Kirkwood, California sharing a condo with Cole, Nootka, Lily, and Pro. I took the scenic route here, having stopped at Timberline Resort to give another presentation and answer questions to groups both concerned and excited about the proposed bike park on the flanks of Mount Hood. After ten days of riding and climbing at Black Rock, Post Canyon, Gray Butte, Lover’s Leap, Mammoth, Owen’s River Gorge and countless laps of South Tahoe’s unforgettable and finest singletrack (including the not-to-be-missed Mr Toad’s Wild Ride) we’ve just finished our first day on the ground at Kirkwood Mountain Resort scoping out possible lines and locations for a completely reinvented Kirkwood Bike Park experience. To sum up our first impressions of the possibilities…nearly limitless.
We saw a blank canvass on the gentle gully-blessed lower slopes on which we can easily see an incredible blue jump trail (and plenty of varied singletrack) along with family-friendly green trails through groves of huge red fir and pine. And up top… Ricky (Kirkwood Bike Park Manager) excitedly led us through billygoat-friendly puddingstone terrain chock full of benchy cliff-bands and ridges and clefts not so ready to reveal their weaknesses…but not so burly as to make us think that deep within there doesn’t lie some serious black diamonds in the rough. Even the weather fit the two faces of the mountain well. Up top we explored what we could through a brief blizzard.
By the time we got to the bottom, we were basking in the sun.
Another day or two at Kirkwood and we’ll be heading home…but only briefly. We’ve yet to visit jobs in the Philippines, the Dominican Republic and a job or two on the other side of the country before the snow completely shuts us down.
Long story short….when you ask me where I am going next and I answer “I have to go to (insert random country/state/ski hill here)” in a voice that can hardly be described as excited what I really mean to say is “while I may be sad to be leaving my home and my friends I am truly excited and privileged to have the opportunity to be going to (insert random country/state/ski hill here) and to be able to meet and work with incredibly friendly, passionate, and all-round good people from around the world.”