Social media is all over the news these days, for good reason. We saw the effectiveness of using it to communicate to riders last weekend when local rider Todd McCarthy posted on Pinkbike.com asking friends to join him on his birthday for a ride session at Post Canyon. A few riders reposted it on Facebook, with over 30 riders showing up to shuttle and sessioning the DH trails on a remarkably clear day in Hood River, Oregon. If not for the build day at Black Rock, the number of riders out celebrating Todd’s birthday may have been considerably higher. When we arrived, there were at least three heavily loaded pickups heading up the hill, over flowing with bikes, riders, and gear.
The trails were covered with a light layer of snow at the top, but considering the time of year, the trails were in great shape, although the mud made for some interesting events. We saw a number of minor crashes here and there, but it was all in good fun, and to my knowledge, surprisingly enough, there were minimal casualties to bikes or riders. It was a full blown gong show at times, with people on bikes littered everywhere, drifting the slippery turns, falling down, and generally have a great time doing what they love to do.
It wasn’t without drama or stories though. I had my own personal moment when I was following a rider and he elected not to hit a step down gap at the last second. In his attempt to change lines, he became a victim of the slippery trail and laid it all down, sliding all over. I managed to make it around him, over the gap, and over the next one. That is when I picked the wrong line, touching down on the inside on a turn that needed to be landed outside. Drifting up and over the berm, I was sent flying heels over head down the embankment.
It was one of those days where everything seemed to go right, even when things went wrong. Somehow I managed bail from the bike to execute a perfect tuck and roll, and even managed to avoid hitting anything with my new helmet. Boo-yah!
It got better, when a cursory glance over my bike revealed no damage to the wheels, and drive train. Even my bars were still straight. Yes!
We were able to get a number of runs in. With the layer of snow on the ground, unloading bikes from the trucks at the top of Two Chair was brisk, leading to impromptu dance-calisthenics before heading down the trail. This was the kind of moment video is ideal for- unfortunately, the sight of 5 dudes in full face helmets dancing around was not documented for posterity. That said, it was quite a sight to see long parades of riders heading down the trails. Everywhere you looked you saw big kids having fun on their bikes.
With so many riders on the trail, it was amazing that there were no collisions. I personally did have a close call with another rider pushing his bike back up the trail. It was definitely a freak out moment, complete with visions of ambulances and total bankruptcy rushing through my head. Thankfully it only resulted in an aborted run at a jump and an elevated heart rate.
Although the trails were wet, it didn’t stop a number of the guys from sending it as usual. You can tell when someone knows a line, when a slippery run-up to a wood ramp doesn’t faze them in the slightest.
The usual suspects sessioned the FMX section like it was a sunny day. Gotta love those kids and their adequate health insurance. Soon as we get a little more reform, or the ground dries up, I’ll be right there with ’em. With the added hours of daylight, it is coming soon. It’s going to be a great season in the northwest, and it was a great way to kick it off. Todd, the birthday dude appeared to have a great day- and how could he not, with 30+ fellows to share it with. Happy birthday.