Thursday, April 9, 2015

Travel Plan



Dear Madame Supervisor,

I wanted to thank you for you generous offer to let mountain bikes continue to use the gravel roads in the Bitterroot National Forest. There is nothing I enjoy better than being coated in dust while being being buzzed by a jacked up 4x4.  Dodging the beer bottles they throw only adds to the excitement.  I can also thank you for the opportunity to embrace more vibrant sartorial choices.  In the past when having an outstanding primitive recreational experience, you know the ones, close to nature, serene, adventurous, challenging, using all my outdoor skills to manage the risk (FEIS 3.3-24), taking advantage of my "Wild Backyard' "(3.2-6); I had to be conservative in my wardrobe choices.

You may have noticed that some hikers have irrational, unjustified biases against bicycles. They think we destroy trails, they think our bikes and clothing are obnoxious, that we don't show enough respect, we aren't spiritual enough, we go too fast,  that we are all a bunch rampaging Huns determined to lay waste to the backcountry. We both know this stereotype is inaccurate, and though this group is a minority even among hikers, and despite the fact during 10 years of riding Blue Joint, Little Blue Joint, Razorback Ridge, Weasel Creek Fire Creek, Sign Creek, Chain Of Lakes, 313, etc I  have yet to encounter a hiker or a horseman. Still, there was always a chance that I might encounter one of these folks.

Then no matter how transient our encounter,  even if this person had spent the day dancing with wolves, cavorting with bear cubs, and eating the plumpest huckleberries,  I had the potential to utterly destroy the expectations of his wilderness experience. (FEIS 3.2-33, 1.3-2)  Knowing that despite any hysterical overreaction on his part, and despite him carrying GPS, SPOT, bluetooth speakers, iPhone, and Big Agnes tent with built in ambient light, I would be in the wrong since the Forest Service has validated her biases and believes that upsetting her rends the very fabric of the region's wilderness potential (ROD 19.) Now that I don't need to worry about any chance backcountry encounters,  I can finally wear my tight flashy Motley Crew lycra kit, unzip the long front zipper and let my chest hair blow in the breeze.

Now that I'm spending more time sharing gravel roads with logging trucks I'm embracing my family  of contrivances on wheels, tracks, skids, and propelled by a living or nonliving power source (FEIS 3.2-21.) It explains why I subconsciously make buzzing motorcycle sounds whenever I head up Blue Joint to ruin another wilderness experience by clearing the deadfall off the trail.  I have always wondered about those Stellar Jays I see hanging around, I thought they had a Hunger Games look to them, how else to explain how the Forest Service knew I was impacting the social values of wilderness (FEIS 3.3-6 and 3.3-8) through my noise and fumes, aka labored breathing and chorizo breakfast burritos.

I'm saddened to discover that all the time I thought had been a good land steward, doing my best to keep trails in good condition, I have been an unwitting carrier, like a fruit bat with Ebola, and with every rotation of my wheel in some process invisible to me (3.3-7) and unmeasurable to the Forest Service analysts (FEIS any page),  possibly by the wheels changing the vibrational energies of the zircons locked in the bedrock, the intrinsic character of the land is changed and the potential for wilderness is being destroyed.

Even now I'm amazed at how powerful this pathogen is. My tires don't even need to touch the dirt, my thoughts and beliefs destroy the wilderness potential from afar. How is this spooky action at distance even possible? Let me quote you in full, "Additionally, allowing uses that do not conform to wilderness character creates a constituency that will have a strong propensity to oppose recommendation and any subsequent designation legislation. Management actions that create this operating environment will complicate the decision process for Forest Service managers and members of Congress. It is important that when the wilderness recommendations are made to Congress that they be unencumbered with issues that are exclusive to the wilderness allocation decision. Congress is not the appropriate forum in which to debate travel management decisions." (ROD 19) I'm sorry for the headaches I have caused you. I had not understood that exercising my rights as an engaged citizen to advocate for my beliefs was contrary to the congressional mandate to maintain the wilderness potential of these areas.  Henceforth I will strive to eliminate this plague of free expression and civil engagement, which I thought (oops, there I go again) were core values of our republic. I will embark on a program of reeducation, so that I too can think only Forest Service approved thoughts. No longer will I consider other alternatives to preserving the land such as the successful Rattlesnake National Recreational Area, or adding this land  to the National Landscape Conservation System. I will from now on bow before the altar of the Wilderness Designation as the holy grail for preserving the landscape.

My congratulations, I understand that you have been labeled a visionary by the Montana Wilderness Association. It must be true, since visionaries can see past the data to the truth.  You were able to see the necessity of closing 178 miles of the 593 miles of trails open to mountain bikes, despite the fact that you have no data on historic or current use of these trails by mountain bikes or any other users. In  2012 you managed to meet with members of the Quiet Users Coalition regarding a lawsuit settlement over Gallatin Travel plan (ROD 7) that had implications for mountain bike use.  Luckily since visionaries already know the truth they don't need to hear dissenting views, so there was no need for any outreach to the mountain biking community, including the Bitterroot Backcountry Cyclists who have a volunteer agreement with the Forest Service (3.2-22.)  Despite running over 2000 pages there is nothing concerning what mountain bikers are looking for in trails and their recreational experience.

With your vision you even know how or feelings,  how we "feel that mountain bikes do not physically impact these areas, nor do they have the same impacts as motorized vehicles." (ROD 19) Now it has been around six years since I wrote my comments, but I'm sure I didn't share my feelings, but rather the results of multiple peer reviewed journal articles that demonstrated that we had an impact equivalent to a hiker.  We never claimed to have no impact, only those pure saintly souls who have found the one true way would make such an outlandish claim.

Having a vision isn't always a good thing though. Sometimes you end up being blind to the blatantly obvious.  I understand that you ..." recognize that some types of motorized/mechanical transport may have different physical impacts on the landscape."(ROD 19) Considering that motorized/mechanical transport spans everything from hand carts to logging trucks,(3.2-21) ( I would be happy to share an old physics textbook to refresh you with the basic concepts of mass, force, and velocity. If you are these basic scientific precepts still seem fuzzy, we can do an experiment, I'll run over one your arms or legs with a bike and the other with an F-350 with a camper pulling a trailer of full ATVs. I can probably even manage to get some X-rays done to confirm the different physical impacts.

As I understand it, big changes in how the Forest Service manages things is supposed to follow the NEPA process and perform an EIS. Now I'll admit I'm not an expert at this, as expect the director of the Forest Service might be. But the process as I understand after a bit of googling is to promote informed decision making my making detailed information concerning significant environmental impacts available to the agency and public. It is also supposed to encourage cooperation and communication between all actors, and it should use an interdisciplinary approach so that it accurately assesses both the physical and social impacts of an action.  Maybe before closing the recommended wilderness and WSA to mountain bikes the Bitterroot National Forest should consider something like that.

Maybe cooperate and communicate with the Bitterroot Backcountry Cyclists.  Survey trail use and actually find out who is on trails and in what numbers. Find out what mountain bikers are looking for in recreational opportunities. Get detailed information on the impacts of mountain bikes on trails and the biota. There are studies.  Get a better feel for the interactions of bikers and other users, a study from trail users in urban Salt Lake City (FEIS 3.2- 33) don't translate well to the Bitterroot. Whatever the Travel Plan was it certainly doesn't qualify as an EIS when it comes the impact of mountain bikes.

Julie, I'm sure you are a great person, but I'm not ready to go with your feelings and visions when it comes to closing one third of the remaining trails in the Bitterroot to mountain bikes, and changing a policy that has worked for 30 years, and caused so little impact that the Forest Service didn't even realize there were mountain bikers in the valley until we decided to do the right thing,  get involved, and made comments to the travel plan.  Maybe I'm cynical, and maybe you do know that mountain bikes and motorized vehicles are orders of magnitude different when it comes to impact, but to admit that would be to admit that the Travel Plan EIS isn't worthy of cleaning my chain and tires of noxious weed seeds to prevent their spread.

Insincerely Yours,

Monkey-Doo



http://www.americantrails.org/resources/ManageMaintain/MgmtSantaCruzConflicts.html

https://www.imba.com/resources/research/trail-science/perception-and-reality-conflict-walkers-and-mountain-bikes-queen-charlotte








Friday, April 3, 2015

April's Fools

So who was the joke on yesterday, the six of us who watched the snow squalls blow through the valley every half hour and thought adventure time,  or the remainder of you pathetic candy asses who saw the same waves of five minute flurries and thought maybe I'l wait and see how the weather looks later; then threw another log on the fire and  binge watched the previous Fast and Furious movies in preparation for the Furious 7 release.

Admit it one you your start wavering and claim it will be a last minute call, you aren't going. Hedging bets by going to the Canyons for a climate controlled treadmill and versa climber lunchtime workout.  Lame, that's just giving yourself an out.  You gotta commit.  Yeah, it might snow, it might be windy, you might get wet and cold.  If you can't handle a little weather, shave your legs and sign up for soul cycle .


Action follows decision. Instead of sitting there like a teenage girl waiting to be asked to prom, you take the initiative find the long pants, dig up the winter gloves, pack some extra socks.  You get prepared.

How do I know this. Because last week I waited til the last moment to decide whether to ride Coyote Coulee and risk getting soaked.  By the time I decided, the kids didn't have anything for dinner, my chamois was a tad too crusty, I was out of beer, the elk was still frozen and I had the wrong pedals on the bike. Everything became an excuse not to ride.


So if you skipped the ride, the joke ended up being on you. The snow stayed either on the Bitterroot side or father up the ridge on the Skalkaho side leaving us with grippy dirt, plenty of sun, and although chilly nothing out of the ordinary for an early spring ride.

Vincent was riding strong, being the boy in the bubble suit must be making him strong. Tim, my favorite babysitter of wayward Missoulians has adjusted his schedule to make at a least a few rides with us again. John was back with his perfect attendance record. Aaron either came fully prepared for a blizzard or was using his fat bike for a crash fitness program.Jeff  led us on a newWednesday night adventure with a figure eight route up and down both Brennan and Newton gulches. Along the way we crossed paths a golden eagle, and shadowed a herd of elk.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sawdust Gulch

Here we are, its not yet spring and we are already in full swing Wednesday nights, now with two rides under our lycra. I missed the kickoff over at Soft Rock and I'm sure it was a smashing success.  For week two we stayed on the east side and headed down for the early season leg burner of Sawdust Gulch. We doubled last week's turnout with a twelve showing up. An extra anti-social Mercedes station wagon driving lone ranger misanthrope slipped in an hour early and slipped back out before the rest of us returned and bumped the total up to bakers dozen. The Lone Ranger reported that a pair of dirt bikers were having a grand time spraying rooster tails of soft dirt while lapping Rocky Gulch, but as he was lacking Tonto he let them be.


After a spell of writer's block the began back in last August, I'm hopefully reenergized for more self flagellation and erudite musings of life, the universe, and everything, or failing at that more potty fingers.


Once again I'm the reluctant and default proud tail gunner.  Even some guy on a new overheard blue carbon Tall Boy who scrambled from tree to tree for breathers out rode me.  No wonder I'm now know as Br'er Rabbit, and not for my fecundity, or my blazing sprints, but rather for the molasses.  I may be molasses, but my feet stayed firmly attached to the pedals.  Tom, after a long hiatus returned, and for his steed brought a rigid single speed.  If I had attempted such a feat, everyone in the valley would have the pop, and Warwick would have found my patella floating along the shores of Lake Blaine. Cory on his second ride after a winter and fall on discontent was back on his bike, riding fearlessly his hip now healed.  We ended up refining last year's route, including the anthill free for all scramble to the top.  While this year's prolonged sidehill on intermittent game trails over and through the sagebrush was an improvement on last year, in retrospect we should have followed the rebel brewmaster instead of our illustrious leader, who in a rare misstep almost lead us into a terrain trap.


For those of you who are still stuffing a sock in your undies to enhance your package or have had a unforutnate encounter with the top  tube, there is hope. The big news for those who don't keep track was the world's first successful penis transplant in South Africa; still the dream of a detachable penis have yet be achieved.  While the rumors are true, and my penis is not currently getting put through its full range of activities, I am hopeful (even if the probability is slim to none) that in the future it might see non micturation action,  so as of this time I'm not willing to take one for the team and donate it to a more worthy recipient.

For those who have been told to grow some, you are still out of luck as the transplant only involves the swizzle stick and not the tea bags, the bat and not the balls.  In other words just the pecker, peter, dick, stick, prick, tube steak,  love rocket, willy, trouser monkey, devils horn, one eyed snake, love machine, staff, cock, dreamsicle, woody, third leg, or the purple headed monster. Not the rocks, stones, nuts, jewels, cojones, or sack.


While reading of last year's ride report, it is clear I sucked just as badly at the beginning of last year, and I'm debating whether I should take solace in the fact that I feel this way at the beginning of every season and this year with my celibacy I should have the opportunity to get in back shape riding Tuesday with Quentin and the roadies, the usual gang on Wednesday, the RML group on Thursday, and with Beau and Caleb on Friday. I was talking to Beau about his Fridays where his usual loop leaves his house, takes the backroads to the Gold Camp side of Coyote Coulee, then to Lick Creek and back Old Darby Rd for 30+ miles.   Not that I really have much to to Friday nights, but I think that might leave me a bit fatigued for any weekend fun time.  Maybe I'll let Beau just lap me.



The premature departure of the sun reminded us that we were here three weeks earlier than last year.  Still with the relatively short evenings we managed 7.5 miles and 2000' vertical.  I had a vague recollection that the last few descents were on the steep side, but I had forgotten that they were that puckering.  Finally two days later  my sphincter has relaxed enough to allow me to crap. Despite a few spills and headers, no blood was spilled.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blue Joint

Wait, what's with the Blue Joint title?  Wasn't this week's ride Buttercup? Yeah it was, but since I figured you were tired of lame posts, I decided to write about something more memorable.  Not that there was anything wrong with Buttercup.  As usual it was fun and I was meh. I neither crushed the climbs or slayed the descents.  Now that I'm back in a relationship and have a dog, I have lost the angst that makes for more interesting posts and my riding obsession has been muted.



So while Buttercup was pleasant, it will ultimately not be remembered, contrasting with our recent adventure on Blue Joint.  A ride that ended with me having a butt guaranteed to attract every baboon in the vicinity, and being unable to remount a bike for the next several days.  Already in my memory, even before all the skin has returned,  the ride is already evolving into a challenging memorable adventure. No wonder we do such stupid stiff.


So a few weekends ago, while everyone else was glued to their computers watching a bunch of red dots move across the map from Fitzgerald's to Red Barn, I managed to talk Jeff and Rob into a trail clearing day on Blue Joint and Little Blue Joint. I  had been looking forward to trying the loop again. The last time, close to five years ago,  was accomplished with the absence of a rear brake after a stupid interaction with a stump early on Little Blue Joint.

This year we decided to do it in reverse. The descent down Little Blue Joint seemed more interesting that the descent down Blue Joint which we thought would make a better climb. Everthing started out so well.  We had our silkys , great weather, and great trails.  Blue Joint had already been cleared to Jack the Ripper.  Last Year's Gold Pan fire had burned through the Ripper and down around Blue Joint for about a mile of trail.  I had heard tales of a non bikes sign at the junction. If it ever existed the fire took care of it. Up to the meadows, there the usual lodegepoles that we dispatches easily.  Heading past the meadow we kept climbing and about two miles past we ran into a good jumble of trees that we also took care of.  As we kept climbing we started running into more trees, quite a few that seemed to have been there since my last venture above the meadows.  We kept diligently clearing, and the trees kept getting bigger, now running into firs and spruce.  Eventually we realized that if we had any chance of making it Little Blue Joint we would need to give up on the last four miles.

Ahead we plodded, and the more we plodded the worse it became and it short order any attempts at riding we abandoned as climbed up, over, and around over hundreds if not thousands of trees. At one point abandoning the trail for about a quarter mile.  It there that we saw someone else had done the same and  had put blazes on the trees around the detour.  So glad they were carrying an axe, but not a saw.


Eventually we  reached Deer Creek and the dead end road at the upper trailhead.  I had been informed previously that Razorback had been partially cleared, but Jeff pointed out that we didn't know which trailhead for Razorback was the starting point. Not interested in more climbing over endless deadfall we decided we would ride up the trail just far enough to see if it had been cleared.  We ran into trees within 100 yards and wisely decided to take the road back around.

Unfortunately, that wisdom didn't last long.  Riding back towards Woods Creek Pass we noticed a sign for Deer Creek and the trail headed downhill.   There were signs the trail had been cleared at least in the last couple of years, and a quick reconnoiter revealed no downed trees.  The Forest Service website had reported that the bottom four miles of Deer Creek were cleared recently.

With only a couple of miles of road riding, we were already bored and the idea of close to 30 miles and gravel and pavement back to car must have diminished my common sense.  I figured how bad could it be. It's downhill and at least partially cleared.  Rob was also willing. Jeff, on the other hand was reluctant, and that should have raised some alarms. Jeff, always up for exploring an unknown trail, wanted to stick to the road.  I should have realized that if Jeff wants to stick to the road, we should stick to the road.

But no, the lure of the chance of getting some downhill single track during the ride was overwhelming. So off we went, and it was so good. Luring us farther and farther in. Teasing us with the occasional lodgepole, just we could justify this part of the ride as trail clearing.  Abundant huckleberries nourished us. Then slowly and imperceptibly the downfall got heavier, but still just lodgepole. Sounless it was too big to hop, we left it.  Then the downfall started having branches. Then the downfall was a Jenga challenge. It was about then that we realized we were screwed. Miles to go, and the only option was forward. Saws sheathed, water replenished from a creek, and couple more handfuls of huckleberries  tossed back and onward we went.


Over on Blue Joint, some may recall the trail side hilling across fields of loose degenerated granite. Stuff that just sloughs off the hill, giving way on the downhill side, and covering up the trail on the uphill side.  Now imaging those hillsides, but with the trail higher above the creek. Now imagine that hillside never seemed to stop.  Got all of that. Now add Ponderosas. Not the picturesque upright ones, but the the massive rotting, too big to climb over fallen ones.  Good there were dozens of those.  Remember that degenerate granite again, imagine that no one had been on this trail for years since the  the fallen Ponderosas had discourage everyone.  The trail was nearly gone, and were it was still there, you could see where a horse had stepped and the hillside had accelerated its race to creek bottom. At this point the DZ nuts had long wore off and walking seemed to exacerbate the chafing.  Still riding seemed like a appointment with the man in black.

Walking and getting the occasional chance to coast until the next obstacle.  Looking and hoping for that pile of fresh saw dust  indicating that you had reached farthest extent of the rumored trail clearing.


Finally, a freshly cut log. Only four more miles to the road.  The road above Painted Rocks, above Alta, above Hughes Creek.  Only 15 miles back to the car on the other side of Painted Rocks and up by the Blue Joint trailhead.  Getting back to the car twelve hours as the light finally failed.

Why is there a fricking smile on my face writing this?  Damn, I'm messed up.
Monkey Doo

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blodgett Canyon

The other day and noticed my adolescent progeny in the house watching TV or maybe it was videos on an iPad, or texting on their phones, and since it was a particularly pleasant day, I put them in bear hugs and dragged them outside and locked all the offering devices in a safe. All the time thinking, how can you waste a day, there is so much to experience. Don't they know that eventually they will end up decrepit, and the things that are so easy now won't always be so.


Over last year or two, I have noticed lingering aches that never seem to quite disappear like they used to, a tennis elbow that aches despite never playing tennis, an IT band that doesn't like deep squats and lateral movement, a need for reading glasses when trimming my increasing abundant nose and ear hair.  While I can still maintain a steady slog, power and fast twitch movements seem to be in shorter supply.  Not only is my temple showing signs of abuse and overuse I know have friends with titanium hips and ceramic knees; a colleague laid low by Parkinson's disease.  I'm not sure if that means I'm starting to feel my age, but I no longer feel 30.



I have read that the last things to go are your endurance and the ability to suffer.  If I was smart I would be embracing this new reality and be preparing for long slow slogs on gravel backroads between here and the Teton Valley.  Instead I find my self  wishing that Skalkaho Pass was open so that I could spend my weekends on lift assisted laps  at Discovery.

So there I was yesterday putting on pads for the climb up Blodgett, wondering how many more years of rock gardens and guarantees falls I had left, appreciating the irony that now that I final have the skills to enjoy the ride, I may not have the resilience much longer. How much 5 years? 10 years? Probably not much more.

 The summer doldrums were upon us with only the residual core crowd ready to ride, along with Bret, who made the journey down from the big city determined to prove that not everyone was Missoula was  ironic plaid wearing, gonadal atrophic poseurs.


I'm glad to report back to the surrender monkeys who hid at home as if there was a duck and cover drill in progress that while the valley remainder sweltering, up in the hills the clouds had rolled through leaving behind a film of rain.  After playing human squeegee for the undergrowth it cold be described as chilly.

This year we decided to postpone the ride long enough to allow the trail to dry out. As a consequence we renamed the ride above the bridge to West Weasel.  The good news being that the huckleberries farther up the canyon rival Hungry Horse for their size and number.  I can't remember a previous ride with so many frequent if brief grazing breaks.


So for those of you who waved the white flag, just remember that your days of riding Blodgett are numbered even if you  don't realize it.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Buckhorn Saddle

When we took off to ride there were only three of us, and I was creating a whole blog on a Three Musketeers theme which would have been great since in coincided with the birthday of Alexandre Dumas.  I was good all the way the searing heat on wet facing climbs and I was good through the rumble of Thor's hammer higher up. I was even good when we reached the saddle, took a break and started the last climb to the ridge.  At that last moment Dean and Jeff caught up, and my post was screwed. One more person I could handle since there are four friends in the three musketeers, but two, nope.  My whole theme blown to crap.


So I guess instead I'll poach some links.  July's epic fails.  Makes my glad I've gained I small amount of wisdom in my old age.  Butte Urban Downhill.  Too bad I'm working today.  Electric mountain bikes?  Hey, I don't mind the occasional shuttle, and I'm not crazy about forest service road climbs, but I still a believer to earning your downhills



Bald Top update. Last weekend we detoured to Bald Top during the Tour of the Bitterroot, and Dean is finally free of his curse.  He made it down in daylight and without a mechanical, and wearing Tevas to boot.  Joel paid for his three week layoff, and promptly returned to his layoff for this ride.  Sorry I missed Sean's half braked idea to also ride Bald Top later the same day.


Palisades Update.  Vince missed the arrow for the short cut last week, probably since I put it there after he had already passed by. Instead he made a visit to the Willow Mountain Lookout and visited with the lookout. I hope she was cute and lonely.

Lost Trail Bike Fest is coming up. Time to sign up.


 I know who hasn't renewed with the BBC and I'd hate to start naming names.  Support mountain biking in the Bitterroot.  More members means more influence with the Forest Service. Want more trails? Want to make sure trails stay open?  We need to be organized and we need your help. Now that we are part of IMBA, you can even get yourself some socks, a T shirt, or a jersey if you donate enough.

How was the Buckhorn and Brennan Gulch. It started hot and I was looking for every bit of shade I could find. Some thunder later on, but no rain unlike town.  Brennan Gulch and the new straight shot to the parking lot need to be ridden in.  The grass was so high in Brennan  Gulch that the kelly humps were hidden and caution lead to a lack of epic fails.


Tired of the long road climbs on the last three rides? Me, too.  Jeff is out of town and appointed me as the picker of the ride. With a predicted heat wave on tap for next week, I'm in no mood for baking in the sun on an east side ride. Calf Creek will be a sandy hell. Instead we will be doing Blodgett.  Letting everyone know now, since I've heard rumors that some Teabaggers may head our way.



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Palisades

I was about to give out either the first FI or WTF award of the year, but decided that would be too harsh. Instead yesterday we had our first Oopsie Daisy award, that I'll give to the group. Yesterday was another one of those long rides where no one wants to linger at the trailhead waiting for the laggards so everyone took of on their own as soon as they were ready to ride.  The effect of this was there were two main groups and and one loner stuck in between.  Unfortunately for the lone V, this was his first attempt of Palisades, a fact not known to the lead group.  So stuck in the gap he missed the gated road short cut and ended up alone on the fire road.  No one saw him for the rest of the ride and when the groups reassembled at the top he was missing with no one having passed up.  After a long wait we hoped he turned around since we were burning the remains of the day, and had to proceed on. On our return his car was gone.  If it hadn't been, a FI award might have been in the offing.  In the future, keep an eye on your buddy, and if this is your first time on a ride, even if seems like a straightforward road climb, make sure you have a buddy.


A bummer that V missed the fun part of the ride.  Having been previously cleared, the trail was in prime condition after the previous day's rain had left the dirt optimally tacky.


Hard to believe, but I used to hate this trail, falling in the mud, walking my bike out in the dark with Dean making sure I made it out alive.  Now this is one of my favorite local downhills. Amazing what a little confidence can do.  Short report today. Go ride.