Devils Slide weekend

Ross and I just stood there dumbfounded at our surroundings. The sun hit our faces and we squinted to look around at all the things we once knew but have somehow forgotten. Bare ground for one. This simple element can not be emphasized more. There was plants, animals, and amazingly enough not a trace that snow had ever visited the area. It was a look into the future. A look into what spring will be like when it finally visits Montana. For now we just stood there with our faces towards the sun soaking it all in.

Last weekend was the 2011 Devils Slide, our 6th trip. Check out past Devils Slide History. 2007 blog. 2008 blog. 2010 Part 2 blog and part 3. There will be the traditional race report tomorrow but for now a weekend overview report.

I didn’t get any sleep Friday night and when I arrived at Ross’s house had been awake all night. My body was all a-buzz with sleep deprivation numbness. We had been waiting for this moment for a while now and I was not about to miss it. I switched into using pure adrenalin and caffeine for energy. We headed out for Lewiston Idaho in a blinding snow storm with out new bikes in tow. For Ross he had his new Strong 29er and me my 2011 Turner Flux. Thankfully Chad at Red Barn had us both up and running in time for the weekend. Thanks Chad 🙂

I started to identify with Lewis and Clark as we busted into Idaho with snow so deep on the roads it was about bumper deep. This kept us pretty alert until all at once we started to see a change in scenery. Dark patches started to appear in the landscape and grow in size and numbers until finally it was all bare ground. By the time we arrived at the venue it was all out spring conditions. Temps hovering in the 60s and full sunshine. It was quite refreshing and it gave me energy I didn’t think I had.

It wasn’t long before Ross and I were riding our new bikes. Hoots and hollers came out as we churned the cranks through the single-track and up the only big climb. I discovered that my bike could climb like a goat and Ross just kept sporting a big ol grin and rode quite fast. Down the Devil’s Slide we gathered to express the horror of suddenly riding bikes and plunging down a steep cliff first thing. Welcome back to mountain biking fellas.

My plan was to ride until sunset but a session of extreme coolness was to much for a suspension bolt and it snapped. A run into town to a local Napa store was necessary and the days riding ended with two laps.

The run into town for replacement parts turned into a taste of the local culinary fairs. Soon the night was upon us and we returned to camp to sit next to a crackling fire. Sleep deprivation caught up to me and I barely made it into the cabin before I completely passed out on the cot.

The next day we enjoyed racing and meeting up with old and new friends. I took a extra lap before and after the race for good measure and apparently everyone else was too. It was a gorgeous day. Of course the best part of the Devils Slide is the swag giveaway and this year like all the others everyone got something. I ended up with some cool pool clogs (for some Montana hot tubbing) and Ross I think scored some gloves.  I usually end up with a helmet but this year was not meant to be. the ol Lazer has to endure another season.

Of course we stopped for the traditional pizza. And there was the traditional pee stop on Lolo Pass to freak out at the size of the snow drifts in front of the lodge.  All traditional stuff but this year a much needed distraction from the changing landscape in Missoula Montana.

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