The Michaux Scrambler was a lump of butter balanced on a hot thin wire of made out of stress. Weather reports varied wildly day to day. We called the ride a ‘go’ with a fairly favorable weather report, ordered all of the food, then the next day the weather forecast called for hail and severe storms. Awesome. We searched around for some valium, couldn’t find any, so we just drank lots of coffee instead.
Dawn on Saturday: deep azure sky, clouds made out of cotton balls, warm air… After a monster climb followed by coffee outside in a meadow, followed by another monster climb, we heard from a guy wandering around on the road that the weather was about to turn into a bucket of mud. As Mike and I waited at the top of the climb, we saw the sky turn to a putrid liquid lead color. The wind slackened. We hastened to retrieve our rain coats, and barely got them on before the drops started in earnest.
The riders plowed on, undeterred and undaunted by the storm, fenderless riders looking like they had been in a mud eating contest that had ended badly. Lunch was spent under tall pines, huddled around a wet but effective fire, munching on huge damp sandwiches. Despite being borderline hypothermic, we had to descend off the mountain, cold air whipping at soggy rain gear.
The weather broke, and we headed deeper into the woods, cruising old fire roads, smooth and slick dirt roads and some rocky snow mobile trails. After climbing one more big chunk, we bombed into the valley, back to camp, only to immediately get hit with high winds and driving rain. Riders hunkered down under lowered EZ ups and chugged beer that we rescued from the stream cooler.
Tired but diligent volunteers Mel and Kelley whipped up an awesome dinner of sausages and veggies and fire baked cobbler. We passed around a bottle of Buffalo Trace as Dave played his Dobro and sang traditional songs.
Sunday morning was spent degrossing the bikes, getting the grit out of drivetrains and pads. We drank copious amounts of coffee, ate sausages and yogurt and fruit and headed back out. The first climb was a true soul crusher, with no end in sight. Luckily, it was followed by another even harder climb, on loose terrain, that had many riders pushing their bikes. Rewards quickly followed, with a 5 minute burning fast descent down a groomed ATV trail. Rewards are always followed by punishment though, and we spent an hour and a half climbing back up after the amazing descent.
Lunch was a rushed affair in a gravel parking lot, original plans foiled by ‘the man’ and time. Day light was running low, and leg strength was being slowly depleted. A quick reroute past a sparkling reservoir and over a dusty dirt road found us back at camp before 6pm. We broke camp and went home to sleep for 12 hours. Or at least I did. 12 and a half, really.
We had a blast putting the event on. We’ll do it again next year, but differently. It’ll still be rad, hopefully more rad. If you rode, look for a survey soon about what you liked and didnt like. If you took cool pictures, share em. If not, Jay will have a full album on flickr soon that we’ll link to.