It’s been a long time coming. We finally had the Inaugural Grand Depart for the MLBFL on Sunday, Sept. 29th. Ten brave souls showed up in the Footloose parking lot at 7am. One of them, Michael Kelley from IMBA, came to do the first leg of the course and show support – but everybody else had the goal of completing the full meal deal. And guess what? Not a single person bailed out – what an achievement!! Times varied from around 6 hours to 8 hours. It was cold. It was windy. Lots to whine about… however, nothing but smiles and positivity in the group.
I came up with a rough version of this 52 mile, 6000′ of climbing mtb route last year. Unfortunately, because of work and all that type of nonsense, it didn’t come to fruit until this year. I rode the Sedona Big Friggin Loop and the Santa Fe Big Friggin Loop – those rides stirred the mush in my brain and served as motivation… I love the format and think it’s a great way to ride the best of what Mammoth has to offer in a one-day epic grassroots style ride/race. No fees, no trophies. Just high fives and dirty teeth.
All the details and tech info of the route is available here, and we encourage people to ride it as an ITT (individual time trial) any time. Or even better, put it on your tick list for 2014, and join us for the Grand Depart next year. Get on the Fat Bike Mammoth email list to stay updated on all the events in the works. Go do it before the snow flies!! But let me tell you this – it’s no walk in the park. Luckily for us, the recent snow and rain prepped the hero dirt for us. The whole course was riding amazingly well. Even in Shady Rest, where there’s often sand dunes, the conditions were as good as they get. The first 10 miles are a great warmup before you start heading up towards the Bike Park trails. Uptown to Brake Through to Lincoln Express to Skid Marks to Upper Paper Route back to Uptown to Beach Cruiser to Mountain View. Before you know it, you’ve climbed 3,000′ and ridden some stellar, flowy singletrack. The out and back to San Joaquin Ridge is somewhat of a pinnacle for the whole ride. It was awesome because you bump into the other riders here, and it mentally recharges you to see the smiles and get high fives. And you need it. This section is brutal. Steep, relentless climbing. The reward? Views from the top of the Hard Core Trail are fabulous. The Minarets, Mammoth Mountain, etc – worth every ounce of sweat. Then the descent of San Joaquin Ridge and Mountain View Trail give you a well-needed recovery – because there’s still 1,500′ of climbing… so even though the second half of the route is faster and has more descending, it’s still tough, especially when you’re legs are cussing at you and turning to jello pudding pops.
Some more fun on Big Ring, Paper Route, Juniper, and the Lakes Trail takes you to the stellar views of the Lakes Basin before dropping into Panorama Dome Trail and Mammoth Rock Trail. The next thing you know, you’re on the town bike paths, making your way back to Shady Rest- loop completed. Beer please.
We’ll definitely be doing this ride again in 2014… we’re also tossing around the Sierra 7500 Redux, White Mountains Epic, Creeks and Canyons Super Enduro (Lower Rock Creek and Sand Canyon), The Double High Five, “Why”? (bet you’re wondering what that is, huh?). We’re also working on some multi-day bikepacking routes of different lengths through the Eastern Sierra and full-moon Fat Bike rides this Winter. The only thing better than riding bikes with friends is riding bikes and camping with friends and then riding again. So let me know if you wanna get on the email list and stay in the loop.
Hunter, John and I will be riding the Coyote Traverse this Thursday (Oct. 3). If you wanna join, hit me up. We’ve got room for two more as is… and can bring another car if we get more than that… gonna be fun…