On Sunday, David Maxfield and I rode the chair lift at Snoqualmie Summit and took one of the descent routes down on MUni’s. Registrants at UNICON will all be able to use this lift for free on one of the days. There is an attendant at the bottom who loads your uni (or, bi, for wimps) on a chair and then you follow it up in a chair behind it. Another attendant on top unloads your cycle. The ride is a blast and the view is gorgeous.
We get off the lift to raised eyebrows … disbelief. I shoot the ramp off the lift. It’s a steep ramp and there’s no snow at the bottom. Instead it’s a 15 inch drop right into the rocks. I fall in front of a group of bicyclists. David nails the landing first try. But as he pedals away from the landing his left crank falls off. He rides the lift down to try to buy a crank nut at the bike shop at the bottom. I take the trail. I take a couple of falls but I also make it through some tough, steep stuff with lots of rocks. It’s a gas and a learning experience.
I meet David at the bottom. He was unable to buy a crank nut there but knows he can get one in North Bend. He drives off. I go up the lift. Another group of bikers adjusting their gear at the summit. I shoot the ramp and nail the landing. “Holy sh*t!! Did you see that?!?” I’m erect and bouncing off the rocks as I navigate over to the top of the trail. I pause to take a couple of victory hops and let out a war whoop. Off I go. I pass a father and son on bikes on part of one of the ascents. I’m starting to own this descent route.
David’s not back yet. I get some more water out of a big jug in my truck and I’m on the lift again. The guy at the top says that I have beaten the best time he’s ever run that descent on a bike. I nail the ramp landing again. More disbelief and accolades from the two-wheelers. I’m on my third run down and I’m working the pumps … skidding on some of the rock fields … sliding through some of the wet regions, but still staying on top. Switching hands on the saddle handle to rotate right, rotate left, breathing louder than the bronco I’m busting. The guy at the bottom says my buddy is back with a fixed uni. Here comes David up the hill, all smiles.
David gives me his story on the way up. He’s got some spares and I’ve got the tools but he’s a little worried that he rounded out the square on his aluminum crank. Not worried enough to keep him from nailing the ramp and the jump. The bikers at the top are waiting for us to come off by now. They don’t want to miss seeing us do the very unlikely. And we don’t disappoint them. We’re off and down the trail. A group of bicyclists part way down are playing in the snow and pause to watch in disbelief as we zip past. They pass us later on the trail as we stop for a drink of water and a quick check of David’s cranks. Another several hundred yards down they’re stopped. They’ve pulled their bikes away from the center of the trail. As I come screaming down the hill they call out, “are we out of your way?” I call back, “I want that steep descent right in the middle.” They shift slightly and I grunt like an ox and slide, slam, bounce, roll past them and hear, " YOU GUYS ARE ANIMALS!!" I look around and see David hot on my tail, making it through on top of his steed, too.
I’m spent but I’ve still got some time before I have to leave. I decide to go one more descent with David. At the top it’s a routine: two off the shoot, onto the rocks, and out onto the trail … no spills off the ramp. We run the trail. I’m tired. I’m falling more than usual. I’m believing there are parts to this trail that are easy enough that I can rest. I’m wrong, there aren’t any. At one point I weave so far off that I go into the trees and miraculously recover. Later on there is a rock field where I have a sustained, 100 foot fall where I’m on top of the wheel, out of control, and meeting obstacle after unexpected obstacle. I make it to the bottom, finally, and I’ve had it. I ride up the lift with David one more time, say goodby, take off my gear, and ride down the chair lift through absolute knock-out scenery on a perfect day.
Don’t miss the chance to do this. See you at UNICON.