Last week, IMBA and Destination Partner, White Pine Touring, and Mountain Trails Foundation, hosted a great group of our non-profit, media and industry friends for quite an unforgettable day riding from resort to resort on the famous IMBA Epic Mid Mountain Trail. It was my first time on this legendary trail and all I can say is "Epic is right!"
Out of about 20 riders, there were a whopping two women: myself and Taldi Walters from REI. And of the 20 riders, about five ducked out early to escape the weather. Do you think either of us ladies were among them?
After a lovely lift ride with sweeping sunlit panoramas, at Deer Valley Resort, as soon as we jumped on the saddle, the sky had a major mood swing. Dark clouds buldged heavily over us and our descent began with an ominous boom of thunder.
It started to rain as soon as we started pedaling and got more intense with every flowing bend and roller. We took cover in a gorgeous tunnel of Aspen trees. Realizing that it wasn't going to let up anytime soon (and also realizing that we totally spaced any kind of rain gear) some of us decided to be extremely fashion forward, donning trash bags over our summer jerseys.
Shortly after moving on, the rain turned into hail. At first it was kind of exciting. Then it started to get big. Then it started to hurt. A lot. We spent close to a half hour riding as fast as we could toward the next stand of trees with our heads and arms tucked as much as possible under our bodies to sheild them from the barrage of frozen grapes.
During the hail attack, a single thought kept looping in my brain, giving me the extra grit I needed to power through it: "This is nothing compared to childbirth!" Heck, women are built to endure long hours of pain, so a few welts shouldn't stop us.
By the time we found cover, I was completely covered in mud and trying to figure out if it was worse to keep my muddy, foggy shades on, or take them off and ride with my eyes closed (xray vision, you ask? c'mon- I'm a mom!). I decided to go for extreme squinting so I wouldn't totally miss out on the stunning watercolor I was riding through. Unfortunately my hands were too numb and wet to operate my camera phone, so I didn't get any photos of the lush greens, yellows and purples smudged across the wildflowers and ferns.
Even though I was shivering, battered, and more than a little scared for much of the ride, it was the best day I've had in a long time and I'd do it again in a heartbeat (though I think I will bring a rain jacket next time!).
Thanks to our awesome guides, hosts, and all of you who came along for the ride.