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Sorella Olde Rope Mill MTB Ride

Liz King | Published on 3/19/2022

Ok, so I admit that I am always sort of whining about how we should have more mountain bike group rides. Well, somebody actually has to lead those rides! Ha ha! Sitting around the campfire after Ididaride back in January, after a few beers, and super tired from riding all day, Linda Rathje convinced Jody and me to lead a mtn bike ride together. I guess that is what it takes…extreme fatigue and beer, to get me to agree to lead a ride for my beloved cycling club. What was my hesitation? I still don’t know, because now that we did it, it was such a blast!!!

We all met at the Olde Rope Mill upper parking lot last Saturday, February 26th, at 10:45. The funny thing is…I had already ridden with all the women who showed up at one point or another, so I immediately felt comfortable with the group! Familiar faces always help. Linda, of course, was there (she wouldn’t be able to get out of joining since she was the one who talked us into doing it). Pam White joined in, as well as Pilar Hernandez, Janet Good, Stacey Kalberman, Brittany Mixon, and my co-leader, Jody LeCraw OShaughnessy. We had some fun small talk and headed on down to the trailhead.

When we got to the start of the trail, Leigh Easter pulled up out of nowhere! She said she lived nearby and rode the trails all the time. You could tell because she was a “badlass” on the trails! She is a mom/mtn biker extraordinaire! We started out on the Mill side (across the bridge from the parking lot). This is the extremely fun, flowy side, with dips and curves, and smooth, fast trails. The approach trail, Moore’s Pass (.5), is a beginner trail, but a little off-putting as it is just sort of a gradual, slow climb to the Knot, where all the trails intersect. It was sort of crowded there, so we didn’t hang out for long. We started on the Raceway trail (1.8), flying and flowing, dipping and diving, and woo-hooing! Funny, I passed some female hikers who commented on how nice it was to see a woman riding on the trail. And I said, proudly, “Thank you! Well, you’re about to see 12 more of them right behind me!” It was only 8 more, so I don’t know where I got the number 12, but it probably sounded really impressive to them.

It wasn’t all fun and games, as the Powerhouse trail (1.8, extra loop off Raceway) was a bit of climbing, but the payoff was wonderful as we got some major speed on the other side going back down, meeting up with Raceway again. It was fun waiting at the end and seeing everyone crisscrossing through the woods, talking it up and enjoying themselves. I realized how much I was enjoying sharing this trail. We finished the Mill side by riding on the Turbine trail (1.0) all the way back to the bridge. There were a lot of woop-di-doos (sp?) on Turbine. I kept thinking to myself, “Now is the time to use that dropper post, Liz”, but I still just don’t feel comfortable doing it. I could imagine me letting the seat post back up accidentally right as I was going over one of those woop-di-doos and making it a woop-di-don’t.

To round out the beautiful day of riding, we went back across the bridge and took a cool little trail that led off the parking lot up to the Explorer trails. This is a 3-mile system of trails with three connected loops, sort of making a snowman shape. Linda said she didn’t get my visual when I said we were on the middle snowball of the snowman, on our way up to the head of the snowman, and Stacey said she thought I was trying to say it was a figure 8, but I told her a snowman has much more to offer than a figure 8, namely one more loop. The trail was pretty fun, maybe a little more technical with some places that we all sort of stumbled up one way or another, but overall, very do-able.

Probably the worst part of the day (other than my co-leader, Jody, feeling under the weather and having to cut it short…sorry, Jody!), was the climb back up to the upper parking lot. You just have to do it. You can’t think about it…except you could think about next time parking in the lower lot. If it is not busy, that is definitely the better option. All in all, it was a lovely ride with lovely people! I was so happy to share the joy of this trail with women who love the thrill of riding fast through the woods and spending time in nature with friends. Thanks, Linda and Jody, for encouraging me to do it! And thanks to everyone who came out to our ride.