Monday, June 02, 2008

Year of Timpanogos: May

Before I get into May's activity, let me take a moment to say how much I love my bike--it's important background for today's post.

I've had the Breezer for about 9 years. I special ordered the frame and assembled it with parts I chose while I was working in an REI bike shop. It's lightweight, a dream to ride and looks great, but more than that, it has a certain classic appeal and connection to the history of mountain biking that makes it a good litmus test. Most people who look see an old steel hardtail, but those who have been involved with bikes for a while understand.

It may come as a surprise then that over the past year or so I've felt a growing temptation to look at other bikes. Not just any bikes, 29ers. The big wheels and all the benefits that people attribute to them seem like a perfect fit for what I like about mountain biking, but riding one around in the parking lot of a bike shop seems cheap and tawdry (not to mention a terrible way to test a bike). I hadn't been able to find a local shop that rented one until this winter when I learned that that they have some at Sundance--a much more romantic (and effective) place for a rendezvous.

Well, enough of that. May was a pretty busy month and, as it drew to a close, I was thinking I might have to just throw together a makeshift activity for the Year of Timpanogos. The ideas I had weren't sounding that exciting, and my prospects were looking bleak.

My tentative plan was to go up to Aspen Grove and ride my bike along a trail from there to the top of the loop and possibly connect to part of the Ridge Trail if conditions were good. When I got to Aspen Grove things just didn't seem right, so I took a few pictures,

and then decided to head down to South Fork and ride--it just sounded like more fun, and isn't that what this type of activity should be about? I drove down the canyon thinking of ways to justify this as a Year of Timpanogos activity.

I still hadn't come up with a good tie in by the time I got to South Fork, but I got things together, hopped on the bike and headed up the trail. Conditions were perfect, I had a great ride and got back to the trailhead with no satisfactory way to connect this experience to the Year of Timpanogos, but pleased to have had it.

As I rolled into the parking lot I saw this:

Now, I'm not particularly superstitious and would certainly not try to pass this off as divine intervention, but it did have a kind of deus ex machina feel to it. There I was on the last day of May trying to find a Timpanogos related activity and the Timpanogos Cyclery wagon pulls up.

I strolled over, trying to act casual, and asked what was up. Turns out they were just out and about, looking for people who might like to demo some of their bikes. It also turns out they had a new Specialized Stumpjumper Comp 29, tuned for a guy just my size and weight and were thrilled to put my pedals on the bike and let me take it out on the trail. So I did.

I call this picture, The Bike and the Beaver Dam.

Unfortunately, it didn't help with the feelings of guilt that my unfaithful wandering eye has caused me over the past year. I loved the ride. I loved the bike. I think I'll go to Sundance this month and test another 29er.

In one last attempt to tie in to the project, I stopped on the way down South Fork and took a picture of Timpanogos.

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