Going Out for a Smoke

After a late Friday night of binging on s’mores I was sure my body would want to sleep in. Instead, I woke up drawn to an early morning ride on the Ripmo. The orange light of the early morning sun a sign of smoke filled skies telling me somewhere the West is on fire.

Beautiful forest trail in the orange glow of a smoke filled morning.
My favorite trail draped in the orange glow of a smokey morning

The rising sun beautiful in the east distracted my mind from the occasional cough. I wasn’t sure if the sputtering was a result of the smokey air or the moondust kicked up by my fellow riders. Saturday mornings are popular in this canyon and I was not alone in my enthusiasm for two wheeled pleasure.

I’ve been riding with a Smith Forefront 2 Helmet ever since I turfed it an made use of my Smith Forefront Helmet a couple of years ago. It’s a great helmet but I’m not a fan of the giant air scoops in the top. They tend to suck in bugs and when you are hair challenged like me you also get strange sun burns on the top of your head. On my descent I felt something moving in my hair. At first I thought it was sweat but the moving didn’t stop. I stopped and pulled of my helmet and a little yellow bee fell to the ground squirming but relieved to be free of the pools of sweat on my head. He got his bearings and flew away.

Black and yellow bee
This little guy doesn’t like the giant air scoops in the Smith Forefront 2 helmet either

The Ripmo continues to climb like an absolute champion and wander like a drunk. It teaches me new lessons on every ride. During a rapid descent through the rocks it wandered off the path and over some chunk that I would always dodge on the Ripley. My instincts told me to prepare for impact but the Ripmo just chewed through and kept going with barely a bump.

Saturday trails are also filled with more hikers. I ride with a bell and slow down when I approach any blind corners. That is usually enough to avoid collisions and the angst of my fellow trail users. There is a rocky descent towards the end of the trail where I spend more time focused on the trail directly in front and less time looking where I will be in a few seconds. Today as I glanced up the entire section was filled with hikers which sent me dashing for the left side of the trail to yield to the group. As my eyes were focused on not hitting a fellow human I missed out on not hitting some rocks. The Ripmo stood on end, butt straight in the air. On lesser bikes I would have endoed into the rocks but the slack geometry pays off in moments like this.

The Ride