I would submit to you that there’s no greater form of cycling than Monstercross. Riding a quilted frankenbike across gravel, singletrack, grassy fields and (insert surface type here) is, in my opinion, as good as it gets.
On Black Friday of 2014, Dan Fuhrmann put together just such a ride. Links were posted, tape was hung and the party was in full swing. I think it’s worth mentioning that Dan accepted no money for his work, insisting that all he wanted was to “share this slice of heaven with as many people as possible.” What follows is a very brief description of the ride in hopes that you’ll be there next year.
Pulling into the parking area, I was surprised and pleased to see Travis had made it, along with Jim Phillips and a whole slew of strong, fast cyclists.
The ride started out on a bit of dirt road along the Piney River, which was incredible. The pace was brisk, but I did manage to chat with Travis for a few minutes before my first mechanical of the day.
A dropped chain early in the ride had me off the back quicker than usual, but I did eventually end up riding with Ron Chinn and Shawn Bleiler. Ron was obviously the strongest in our group, but he didn’t rub it in too bad.
The gravel eventually gave way to some double track/atv paths and was an absolute blast. There were plenty of mud/water holes and a lot of sandy spots. I will confess I did some walking, but that’s only because I’m a raging fatass. All of the roads/trails were rideable and very fun.
At one of the gravel/pavement intersections I saw a bit of animal bone that could not have been from a deer:
…and a few feet from there I spotted what I presumed to be a poached black bear’s hide.I would later learn from Shawn this was actually a legally-killed feral hog. If I’d only had racks on my bike I could’ve gathered the pelts and made a pair of ass-less chaps for Casey.
^^Look at the fat layer on that thing! –(TWSS)
The ride was full of kickass scenery and jeep-trails. I couldn’t help but wonder how Dan found all of this stuff and laced it together into such a great ride.
Not having ridden much leading into this weekend, I was a little bit smoked when I finally rolled into the Elbow Inn Bar and BBQ Pit, but a fried pork tenderloin sandwich and Stag beer had me refueled in no time. As always, greasy bar food after a hard day on the bike is pretty amazing. I have to say this was a fantastic ride and I would have been a fool to miss out on it.
But the real fun hadn’t even started, because as soon as this ride was over I was in the truck on the way To Sutton’s Bluff for a bikepacking weekend with Luke and Dave. More on that later.