Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ride With Smudgemo Report

Now that I've had a day to rest, I'm ready to share the Ride with Smudgemo Report. The day started pretty early. But not too early. It's already down in the 30's in the mountains in the early morning. I loaded up the car and headed for the Tahoe Rim Trail. I had planned to erect a 20 foot tall sign, complete with Christmas lights, that read, "Welcome to Nevada, Smudgemo!"; however, I had difficulty acquiring the materials, and couldn't figure out a way to harness it to my car. Plan B was to bring some hand crafted beer, something that Smudgemo might appreciate far more than a Las Vegas style welcome.

We all met at the Tahoe Rim Trail trailhead located in the Mount Rose Meadows. It was 10:00, and just starting to warm up. The first order of business was to figure out Smudgemo's real name. As it turns out, Smudgemo is the son of immigrants, spleen merchants from northern Romania. His full name is Smudgemore Fidatov Vladimirescu, or just Smudgemo for short. There was no way in hell I was going to be saying that the whole day, so I asked if I could just call him Ryan. He reluctantly, but thankfully agreed. This ended up working out just fine, because coincidentally, the other two riders were also named Jeff and Ryan.

The other Jeff and Ryan were a bit faster than us, so we would see them from time to time throughout the day. We'd finally arrive at an intersection, and they'd be relaxing in the shade talking shop with other riders. We all agreed to have lunch atop Marlette Peak, quite possibly one of the most beautiful locations on planet earth. We had worked pretty hard to get to this spot, but miles of fast, smooth, downhill singletrack lay ahead of us. The decomposed granite was slightly damp from last week's rain, and provided insane traction. My tires didn't break loose once all day! Taking the many bermed corners at high speed kept me grinning to the end.

Lunch Time on Marlette Peak

At Marlette Lake we met a guy name Joe. He talked kind of funny, so I suspected he wasn't from around here. To me the dialect sounded North Reno or maybe even Sparks, but I was way off...Joe was from England. The guys all traded stories of trails in far away lands. I just sat back and enjoyed the tales. It's cool how mountain biking seems to make instant friends out of people. Too bad the beer was 16 miles away in a locked car!

We decided it was time to ride again, and the five of us headed down to the Flume Trail. It was good to ride some flat trail for a while and just enjoy the scenery. But then tragedy struck. The old wooden flume has been gone for decades, but somehow there happened to be an original square nail sitting in the middle of the trail. Thousands of riders a year, and I'm the one who gets it in my tire! The bike started riding really funny, and I thought for sure my derailleur was busted. I had found a crack in the pulley wheel before the ride, and just figured it had finally fallen apart. I was pretty shocked to see this huge nail sticking out of my tire! Remarkably, the hole in the tube was quite small, and will be easily repaired with a simple patch. The tire seemed to close itself up pretty well too. I swapped the tube, gave the new one 2,000 pumps with the mini-pump, and off we rode.

View From The Flume Trail

Once we got to Tunnel Creek, it was just over 9.5 miles of rolling uphill singletrack back to the cars (The trail profile can be viewed HERE). Since the riding was more slow going from here on out, Smudgemo and I got to talking about blogging. We talked about a lot of you that are probably reading this, and how it'd be cool to get more bloggers together for a ride. We also discussed how some outsiders may think it's a bit strange talking about all this stuff on the internet, but what they don't understand, is that most of would probably hang out together if not for the fact that we're spread out all around the country (or even world). It's an online tribe of sorts. We also traded stories of simplifying our lifestyles, eating great food, bicycle commuting, and many other things that are common in our daily writings.

Saying Good-Bye to Lake Tahoe

The other Jeff and Ryan were long gone by this point. From what I understand, they left the parking lot about 15 minutes before we returned. They didn't even get any beer! Smudgemo and I made the final climb to the car, and tore into the ice chest. I had one of the Chocolate Stouts from the Bison Brewing Company in Berkeley, and Ryan had a Sierra Nevada 2007 Anniversary Ale...beers we had brought for each other. Smudgemo carefully hand-picked his beer from his hometown in Berkeley. I got lucky and found my beer at an emergency stop at the Chevron convenience store in Incline Village. The beer distributor was unloading the Sierra Nevada as I was paying for my gas. In the end, the results were the same. Great beer!

We enjoyed our brews, but then it was time to go. Smudgemo headed back to his cabin at Donner Lake, and I headed back to the Carson Valley. Hopefully we'll get to hook up again sometime soon!

If you've made it this far, thank you for reading my tale! If you still need more, the complete photoset of this fantastic journey can be viewed HERE.


bryan said...

very cool, boys -- that sounds like a good day.

oldmanandhisbike said...

Man, I am so damn jealous of you guys. Chocolate Stouts? Damn. I always miss out on all the good stuff! :^)
I must say, that looks like my idea of Nirvana (not the band, the experience). Awesome trails, the beers, the foreigners, under-inflated tires that attract 19 century nails and lunch on a rock; you guys are just livin' the dream!
Seriously, it looked like a great time was had by all.
And I agree with your assessment of the blogging topic; it really is a community of like minded people who just happen to not live across the street from one another. But, thank god you guys don't, because I would never get my yardwork done or remember to pick up the kids from soccer practice!
We must plan a blog ride for 2008! I am all in!!

Jerome said...

Great ride report Jeff. Seriously, next year, we should pick a date with enough advance that we could actually get a whole wack of folks from all over down there. I'd definitely be interested in booking vacation around it.

I like the wording of an on-line tribe. Yeah, others might think it's weird at first (my wife did when Smudge and I met up for beers in Berkley) but all these blogs are populated by real people. And it's not like people saying how lonely they are, or some 13 year old who doesn't get out enough. Just simply real people sharing how much they enjoy bikes and beers. All the bike and beer bloggers, keep up the great work.

Looks like you had a great ride and thanks for the great post! Cheers!

lauren said...

we'd come up for a future ride too if you guys did it on a weekend or yeah, with enough notice that we could get the day off.

i love the flume trail.

looks like it was a perfect day. totally clear sky!

Brent said...

I've been thinking about that myself. It would be really cool to be able to do several rides over a long weekend. Road, MTB, and even Cruiser rides... Actually even mentioned it to Jeff over beers one afternoon, but that's as far as it went...

Jeff said...

Speaking of beers. I have a whole bunch right now. Between the stuff that Smudgemo gave me, the stuff I bought and already had, and the case of Red Tail that Kristy bought...I'm running out of room to store it! I need help people!

Smudgemo is out for the Poker Run. He may drive home that day...

Brent said...

My beer fridge is full too. We need to get drunk this weekend!

Brent said...

Too bad about Smudge... Great Beer at the Great Basin Brewing Co! Sure we can't talk you into it?

Xd said...

jeff, just so you know, i run a microbrew shelter in my garage and have an excellent track record for taking care of homeless beers.

Jeff said...

xd...Soon I'll be living around the corner from you, and you can assist me with my Code Orange and above beer emergencies. And Brent too...just a short pedal.

Smudgemo is without the Internets until he returns home...

Smudgemo said...

The altitude is a bitch, but the scenery is unbelievable (and that is just one of a zillion rides way out west.) The trail was definitely not what I'd rate as technical, so it s/b perfect for the Second Annual TBR.

I'd suggest flying to Reno and renting a bike from the many area places unless you chose to ride multiple days (which I'd be up for) and can't stand not riding your own.

Another suggestion would be to try to make it coincide with Oktoberfest in Squaw Valley (which was on Saturday.)

Ride, ride, ride. Party, party party.