17 July 2014

Verdant Verdant Verdant

The word has been stuck on repeat in my brain on all recent outings.

There is an upside to living in a place where the mountains are covered in snow eight months a year.

Every ride takes you up to high alpine meadows. Thick wildflower heads thwap against your shins and the air is redolent with the vegetal smell of stems and leaves shredded under rubber. Lower down, bench cuts along creek banks are choked with waist-high greenery so you feel like you're swimming in a plant river and the visibility is about two feet in front of your tire. You ride by instinct and hope there are no bears or big rock drops around the next corner.

SSC Adventure Team reunited!
Pic courtesy of Rebecca
Rebecca, one of my absolute favorite adventure partners, hiked and hitchhiked to my little abode from Glacier National Park with her like-minded friend Kali. I tagged along on their town errands, we went to free music in the park, and then went for a run of sheer joy and beauty. Still buzzing from that one. I dropped them off at a trailhead outside of town so they could meander through the Tetons to Jackson, and I was so close to dropping everything and joining them...how tempting, to walk for hours and feed on the beauty around you, and drink coffee at 9000 feet staring at a face of the Grand that people don't usually see...
Verdant! Run of joy and beauty
Pic courtesy of Rebecca
From the ladies' campsite. So, so, so jealous
Pic courtesy of Rebecca
It's okay though. Instead of traipsing off into the wilderness I went riding with a bunch of friends; local advocacy groups were offering shuttles on the Pass all day so we got in thirty miles of (mostly) downhill, some smooth, some rocky, some puckersome, all delightful. Tyler, grinning hugely after one long descent, almost deigned to admit that the death marches I drag him on have some benefit, seeing as how endurance applies just as much to sustained downhill as uphill.
Doing Pass laps with the gang
Pic courtesy of Traci
An eight mile descent overlooking Jackson Hole and the mighty Snake River
Pic courtesy of Traci
I've thrown a leg over some very nice bikes recently and quite enjoyed each experience, but came to the surprising conclusion that I love Lisa too much to give her up just yet. Like I mentioned before, skiing and bar-making have had the unexpected benefit of transforming my riding style--I now have the strength to just stand up. All the time. So it's even more to my advantage to have a light-as-air, tiny little bike to flick and muscle around everywhere, as opposed to anything longer, heavier, more cumbersome. Riding other bikes just makes me want to beef Lisa up further--wider handlebars, meatier tires, dropper post. Plus she just loves frolicking in the wildflowers, and who am I to deny her that?