Look Back Part 2

With so many rides in 2015 it was pretty hard coming up with a top 10.  But, after I figured out what those 10 were, the top 5 seemed like easy choices.  As you’ll see, they had a little bit of everything.  Snow, heat, wind, smoke, small groups of friends exploring, big groups of friends getting together for a fun ride, and lonely, lonely solo rides.  Like last week, I explain why the ride was memorable and then I have posted a link to the original blog entry in case you are bored.
Here we go!
#5 Turkeyburner 2015
The day after Thanksgiving, Jacob, Andrew, and I met at Cantrell-Buckley Park and started climbing.  6500 feet and 40-some miles later we had ridden through a lot of snow and ice and even had to hike-a-bike for a couple miles when a road that was no longer a road got in the way of our planned route.  It was an awesomely freezing day and I can’t wait to ride the same route in warmer conditions.
#4 The Honeybadger
Thom Kneeland put together an awesome route for a bunch of people into adventure.  Shawn and I started early from the bottom of the Greensprings and met everybody at the Greensprings Inn before embarking on another 80 miles of gravel goodness.  With roads I didn’t know existed and a couple that looked like they shouldn’t, this was Thom’s best Honeybadger yet.  My opinion of course.  By the end of the day Shawn and I had climbed 10,000′ and ridden our first centuries on mountain bikes.


#3 Mount Ashland to the Applegate Loop

Jacob and I rode from Medford and met Shawn in Ashland.  From there, it was a hot and smokey day of climbing that included Mt Ashland, Wrangle Gap, Dutchman Peak, and Jacksonville Hill.  I also introduced them to a side road that still feels like a secret treasure.  The two times I’ve ridden it I’ve never seen another soul (except for the 2 guys that were with me).  Once again, I can’t wait till the next time we do this route.  It’s becoming a yearly thing.
#2 Desert Awakening
My first time in Arizona, my first time seeing Saguaro Cacti, my first time riding a mtb in the desert.  I spent 2 days riding the Hawes Trail System on the edge of Mesa, AZ and  found it to be a very moving experience.  Maybe it was because I faced my fear of being attacked by some sort of deadly creature (scorpion, rattler, cougar, not the boogeyman) while riding in the desert all by my lonesome.  I don’t know.  But I can’t stop thinking about going back and spending more time there.  This was so close to being #1 it may as well have been a tie.
#1 Joshua Tree Double Century
How can this not be #1??  When I first started looking into attempting the CA Triple Crown, this double jumped out at me.  I mean, c’mon!  My favorite band is U2.  I have a frickin’ Joshua Tree tattooed on my right shoulder.  Of course this was going to be the first double.  After starting out strong, I began to feel the heat (it was March and hit the 90s) in the second hundred miles.  I struggled mightily but made it with the help of some guardian angels I met at the ride.  Pete and Deb pulled me through and 14 plus hours later I had double century number 1 down.
From the sun rising over the mountain and shining through the countless Joshua Trees to the miles and miles of straight roads with no shade but that from the speed limit signs, it is an experience I’ll never forget.
So, that’s it.  I definitely want to thank all the guys at Unreal Cycles for building me the awesome bikes that carry me through all my adventures.  I definitely put them to the test and they always perform.
Also, thanks to all the guys and gals that shared the roads and trails with me this year.  You’ve helped make this my best year yet!
Special thanks to Jacob and Shawn.  I haven’t found anyone else that will put up with me for as long and as often as you guys do.  Especially when you have so many chances to push me off cliffs in the middle of nowhere!
And, lastly, thanks to Tammy.  She puts up with EVERYTHING.  Hmmm…. Maybe that’s why she likes that I’m always gone on some ride….
-Aaron

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