Satellite Track of my Trip

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tiger Mountain - Up, Out, Down and Back.

Yesterday, I headed out to Tiger Mountain. Had big-ish plans for the ride, but got a late start and well... was only able to ride up to East Tiger, do about 15 minutes single track and head back down the logging road. But, I was happy to do what I did. Hell, I climbed a bloody 1700 feet in four miles. I did some grunting - but was just about perfect in terms of workout.

>>>>> Click pics = bigger view!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mountain Bike Ride - 'bout all that's happening these days.

Have been busy the last few weeks, months, since the beginning of the year really. It's no secret I have not done a tour this year. Not sure if I can whip one up at this point. As mentioned in earlier posts - the ankle biters this year turned out to be more like knee cap busters. Tough to put together a training program when you've been handi-knee-capped!

So, I've turned to devoting time on the mountain bike. And it has been great. I am not the rider I used to be on the knobbies - but still have fun.

While on vacation in Montana in July, where my two wheel activity actually saw me crank out 2500 miles on a motorcycle touring the state - I was blessed that I could talk Jen into taking my mountain bike on the Subaru, luggage, dog caravan to Swan Lake. When I was done on the motorcycle - I hung up the leathers and donned the spandex, reefed the bike off the Soob and headed out on the Santa Cruz Tallboy. Destination Whitefish!

Whitefish does it right. They have an extensive network of trails including trails at the ski area - Whitefish Mountain Resort. I chose to stay near town and ride the 'free' trails. I stopped at Glacier Cyclery, asked the dude behind the counter, where to ride and out pops this map. The guy says - "head out of town about a mile and you're in it" and takes his thumb and stabs it on the spot to be riding.

I hit the trailhead about 10 am - riding the Whitefish Trail. I Decided, based on the map, to ride to Beaver Lake past Skyles Lake overlook. Off I cranked. Nice intermediate single track with a gradual middle chain ring elevation gain.

In a few miles, I was at the Skyles Lake overlook.

Nice place for a break, nice view. I ran into 4 or 5 other riders along the way. I couple of them made me look like a babe in the woods. Truly woods, but a fiddy one years old dude I was.

I left the overlook and pretty quickly you get into some steep territory. The trail follows the hillside contours past a crumbly rock face. Yes, the trail was steep, but the yellow caution was more meant for the downhill side of the trail. Here... to the downhill side, it was steep and a 100 foot tumbling, likely painful fall.

But on I went. I kept riding and every so often, the trails in the area are nicely marked, and I new I was on track for Beaver Lake. But, as I rode along, I realized I was on limited time, it was getting hot and I needed to get back. Pedal, pedal, almost there to Beaver, oh, oh, time is ticking. Hank on the brakes, time to turn around. Now, the ride back, I knew what I was going to be riding and managed to pick up the pace. The trail flowed nice in spots and never was too technical. Well done Whitefish Trail!

There was one steep UP hill section of about 75 yards and the grunt factor was pretty good. After that it was all down hill to the trailhead.

Overall I did eight miles with 1100 feet of gain. 

Once I was back in town, I went to the Great Northern Bar and Grill (say icon of Whitefish!) and had a beer and a sandwich. Awesome day!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Restless, Shiftless, Feckless...

One might assume from my lack of posting ANY planned tour this year, I am all of these.  I sure feel that way. It's June 20th, and I got nothing official going in terms of pedaling to a far off destination.  This time last year, the Vines to Bitterroots Tour was very close and TWO years ago - this very day, was day one of the 2012 Cascade Traverse By-Pedal Expedition to Save Human Folly. Oh, yes, I recall... what a tough day that was.

So, what is going on here... no tour yet this year yet. Yet, yet, yet...

Well... I do have some excuses. This spring has been very busy for the McKibbin clan. Our house needed some maintenance (flooded basement), our jobs have been very busy (flooded in-box) and I have been dealing with some health issues (flooded by medical bills). None of these issues, singularily is up to kiboshing  a tour - but in total, they have conspired to make me delay any real tour.

Did you say "delay"?! Yes! I did not say cancelled, I did not say abandon, I did not say rescind, I did not say scrub. I said delay! Delay it is...

Yes, there is still some possible - later this summer tour I am conjuring up.  It's only the summer solstice soon. That is the start of summer! I got all summer left to plop in some grand adventure.

Honeeeeeeeeeeey! Guess what?!


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Where? Paradise Valley. When? TODAY!

Alright... feeling sorry for myself and the lack of a planned tour for this year yet - I decided to head out on the Santa Cruz Tallboy. I have been slowly re-invigorating my mountain bike riding since I purchased the Tallboy last year. So to some degree, I am going to use the mountain bike as my summer focus until I do end up with a bonified bicycle tour on the Salsa. Well that is the plan at this moment in time.

Paradise Valley or more correctly... Paradise Valley Conservation Area is about 20 minutes from my house. Its in Snohomish county - sort of behind Woodinville. For those of you who do not know the area too well - this is about an hour north east of Seattle - but still in the 'burbs if you will. Got it? Good. There about 11 miles of multi-use trails. Not any real climbs - pretty flat. Its well maintained - The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance has done a lot of the work to develop this area. Most of the trails are pretty mellow- but a few can be technical. And there are a few trails with human made ladders, platforms and drops.

>>>> Click pics for larger size:

So this is the site of my first endo in many years. It has probably been 25 years ago in Southern Oregon when I was living down there and riding my Klein all over the Ashland watershed since I have gone over the bars! While being pitched over the bars, I thought this is going to hurt. I landed on my right should / side with a deep thud right on the trail. Once I immediately realized I was not hurt - I started to laugh out loud. Got up and dusted myself off.

In this pic you can see the divot (in front of the fern) where my wheel stopped cold and over I went.

Some of the laddered sections on Cedar Run.

At the end of a long ladder that progressed to a high drop, I noticed this tacked to a tree. It was only when I was at home and did some internet surfing that I learned this guy passed away on the trail from a head injury. This was just last month. He was doing what he loved I'm sure.

This was some stump that has become a bit of a shrine of sorts. This is down the trail a ways, not associated with the accident above. It just looks like trinkets and such. Oh there is a beer bottle too.

This is the sign leading into Cedar Run. One way only. This is pretty technical and a lot of fun.

Here is a plot of my ride. Not very far - but hey it was a good ride anyway!


My last post was simply stated Where? Usually where and when coincide nicely since they go 'handlebar in handlebar' together when one is planning a bicycle tour. I have the where down pat, been in my brain for some time. The when is a bit of an unknown at this point in time.

Has been a bit of an interesting spring for me, Jen and Luna the wonder pup. In a prior blog post, I wrote of ankle biters - this spring has seen a good share of trials and 'tibia-lations'. It does not take much to get knocked off your stride and soon you realize you're going nowhere fast.

We have had to do some major work on our house - due to the massive rains we had in February. Our basement flooded. I have had some smallish health concerns that have been taking some time to work through. Jen has been afforded a great opportunity at work and Luna, well, is actually just fine. All these add up to an official status of my 2014 tour as on hold. There has just been some other priorities right now.

I still hold out hope for some ride in August or September. I may need to down size the days, miles, pedal strokes, power bars and panoramas... but I think I will be able to come up with something.

So, as I think about it... we're back to where and when.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


It's that time of year again. Plans are formulating. Where, where, where? State maps unfolded, peered over and towns, distances and mountain ranges are duly noted on a yellow pad. I sit my support crew down and throw out a few ideas for this year's bike tour. Luna The Wonder Pup is amenable always, but me side kick says, what would we do in Middleofnowhereville while you get ready for the tour? And, why am I picking you up in Godforsakenwastelandistan? And so it goes each year about this time.

But- by gawd, I love it. I replay last years tour in my head, scroll through the 100s of pics in Iphoto from the tour, conjure up (hands rubbing) some neat, new, beautiful place to go and always throw in one day (or two) of slogging and grinding up some unimaginably difficult mountain pass and I am in nirvana. Or at least I think I will be on the tour - right? Ah, sitting here writing this reminds me Buddha taught suffering as a noble truth. And my 20-20 hindsight view to last year's 'suffering' makes me indeed feel noble right now, but in reality, at the time, the Winchester Grade on highway US95 in Idaho was brutal! But ya gotta have a least one day when you hammer and suffer and curse and believe your death will be long, painful and no faster than two freakin' miles per hour. 

So- I hear the clan asking - whatcha thinking? Well... one thing I have learned is that riding in an area that is pleasant or, if I am lucky, even beautiful to behold sure is awesome. Last year, over Lolo pass was just darn spectacular. I've done rides in some pretty austere areas, my preference is... it's gotta have some scenery. My tentative plan is to do some riding in Montana. I believe it will be a Western Montana to South Central Montana extravaganza. Missoula to Bozeman is the plan, by way of a little 'feature' called Skalkaho Pass (looker upper). Woopie!

'She' cuts a nice remote path from Hamilton, MT across the Sapphire Mountains and ends up in the Flint Creek Valley by Phillipsburg, Montana. The pass tops out at 7,258 feet and has some long stretches of the road that are gravel. More woopie!

I'm thinking about 4-5 days with a total of 350 to 400 miles ought a do it. And... I may decide to do more camping this trip. But, as I have mentioned in the blog before, like staying in 1 star motor inns! 

So here is a sneak preview of some of the terrain.

So stay tuned. I know Luna the Wonder Pup and Mergatroid are waiting with bated breath. The former- stinky breath for sure and the latter - well, I'm sure she's breathing through gnashed teeth right now while reading all this. More, more, Woopie!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How To Be A Road Biker - Funny!

This is pretty stinking funny! I have not blogged since last fall. I'm going to let this vid serve as my 'start' of the new year's blogging. Spring is around the corner! And so is CYCLING! Yea!