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Getting Settled into the PNW

Well, safe to say the PNW does not suck.


Mountain biking is primo right now, even with some rain overnight, the trails are dry and tacky by midday, which is a nice change from living in the Northeast where trails stay muddy for days.


June 27th, 2020

Made my way up to Bellingham to check out the trails, and spoiler alert, they're rad. The parking lot was over flowing and cars lined the street in both directions. Borderline chaos for a typical road, but this is Bellingham, WA, so it's your average Saturday morning.


I wasn't entirely sure where I was going but I figured if I was going up then it was probably the right direction. Best place to start is on top, right? At least everything is down from there and you don't have to pedal anymore. I was following the loop that MTB Project suggested, and I figured it'd give me a good idea of where everything was. The climb; it was a hard packed, mellow grade, double track, that takes you to the tower at the top of Galbraith Mountain. Not entirely sure if that's the actual climbing route, but it was really easy and plenty of other people were taking it. No view from the top, surrounded by trees, mildly disappointing, but I found a nice view later of Autobahn. The main trails off the top are Scorpion, Evolution, and Mohawk. I opted for Evolution.


Evolution


Dropping in, you're immediately into a small jump line with transitions at every opportunity. These lead you into swooping berms and some bridge features, which totally spooked me the first time - I took the B-line bypassing the bridges for my first lap. The trail is fast and flowy, very PNW.


Evo spits you out back on the climb, not far from the steeper sections so I started back up toward the top, took Autobahn, and found a great view looking south. Autobahn is nice, reminds me a bit of AC/DC back at Cochran's in VT, a little bit of tech, some small rolls, and some flow.


High quality future lunch spot


Next up was Unemployment, which is a name I can appreciate. If I were unemployed, I'd be riding this trail all day, every day, no questions asked. It's a ripsnorter. Heavy swooping berms, lots of jumps, lots of flow, absolute ripper. No photos, yet.


Atomic Dog closed out the loop to the bottom. Not my favorite trail, but pretty fun nonetheless.



June 28th, 2020

My original idea was to head to Mount Hood to ski on the 28th, but the NOAA forecast was listing off a mix of rain and snow with heavy winds, no go for skiing. So, back to Bellingham for more biking it was, really tough second option.


On this day, Evolution got the best of me. First run was going great, rode the A-line over the bridges and was ripping through the berms, but slid out on one of the last turns. Mellow crash, just some dirt, nothing major. Round 2 on Evolution, as I was just getting into the bridge section, I turned a little to much, caught a rock, and over the handlebars I went, luckily just before the bridge and not off of it. This is when I decided I need to invest in some POC elbow pads and potentially a full face helmet. Round 3, nothing surprising, clean run on Evo, and a PR on Strava.


I sent it back up toward the top, looking to ride Autobahn, and I ran into another UVM-er from the 2009 class. He's out here for the same reasons I am; the skiing, biking, and outdoor lifestyle.


I rode Autobahn down to Prison Love. Prison Love is a bit overgrown, definitely not ridden much. Couldn't end on a sub-par run so I went back up to Unemployment (F-Unemployment?) to get some flow.


I made another spontaneous trail choice going to Lair of the Bear. Spoiler alert: no bears. But, you can take a left turn and end up on some private property which is an absolute no-go and you need to backtrack to get out, that is definitely a possibility in the Lair, and also not the trail.


The actual trail is really fun. For the most part, you're perched in this ravine, riding switchbacks along the walls and winding through the trees. It links up with the bottom of Atomic Dog and spits you out somewhere at the bottom of all the trails. Strava can show you the map.


~30 miles of riding in two days. Easily the most I've done in a while. It's not hard when the trails are this good and the climbing is this easy. Legs were definitely sore at work, but the only way to get in better condition for more riding is, well, more riding, and with a three day weekend coming up, I'm sure there will be plenty of mountain biking...




...and potentially some skiing. Stay tuned for the snow report.

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