One Last Jet9 Adventure

This week, I’m replacing my trusty Jet9 RDO frame with a Mach 429sl. The Jet’s been a pretty badass bike. I’ve used it to win two Tennessee State Championships, climb huge mountains, climb small mountains, tackle rocks and roots from Memphis to Colorado, raced two enduros on it, and basically turned to it any time I wasn’t sure what sort of challenges I’d face on a given ride or race. If you refresh the page a few times, you’ll see that the Jet is a reoccurring theme in a lot of my adventures.

In my quest for Breck Epic prep, I decided to do a huge ride Sunday to stack some fatigue on top of my sore cross country legs. I went with 92Fifty Team friend Shane, who wanted to ride the Cougar Slayer course. Per Shane’s recommendation, I took the Jet9 because A) I wasn’t sure what the trails would be like, and B) I figured it’d be a nice final epic ride for that bike before I sell it off to the next person. We planned a shuttle, and he loaded the course into his garmin. He figured it’s take us somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 hours.

Easier said than done.

Within the first 30 minutes, we were searching for a turn off of a forest road and on to a trail. We eventually found it when we saw three random old dudes on circa 1995 mountain bikes riding through the woods on a trail not far from us. One guy’s canti brakes were howling as he picked his way down a long descent. The trail dumped us out at what looked like someone’s driveway. Luckily, no one was home.

We were somewhat lost other than knowing we were west/northwest of Nederland. That’s basically how much of the adventure went until we arrived at the Sourdough and South Saint Vrain Trails. I’d never ridden them, but Shane was somewhat familiar. I lost my front wheel on a rock climbing up Sourdough and fell on to more rocks. Luckily, I wasn’t any worse than bruised.

Soon enough, we were back to only having a vague idea of where we were… somewhere near Ward. After some more forest road riding, we found ourselves on a moto trail near Gold Lake. It was pretty terrible. We were both getting to be death-march tired and were only 30-something miles in to the course (the course being 62 miles plus another 10-ish to get back to his house from the end). I did get a nice picture of the view from the top of a ridgeline climb.


Soon after, I wrecked again near the bottom of a descent that was so blown out, it was basically a chute full of loose rocks and sand. Still just bruised, we descended more of the same stuff to Lefthand Canyon Road, where, at mile 40ish/6 hours, Shane brought up the option of turning left instead of right to leave the course and head back to Boulder. After a few minutes of hemming and hawing, we decided to go back to the house (the tipping point for me was that I’d left Indy on his porch, and I was a little worried about him).

It was a tough day. We finished up with 54 miles and 5,500 ft of climbing… though, if I had to make an educated guess, about 5200 of those feet were climbed by 35 miles into the ride. I was beat. And, to top it all off, pulling up at Shane’s house, I realized that I’d left the keys to my car- our shuttle vehicle back to Nederland- in my purse, in Shane’s car, in Nederland. I had to call Matt to come up after work and give us a ride to get Shane’s car.

At least Indy was perfectly fine. On the way home, I stopped and picked up a pint of cookies and cream ice cream and ate the entire thing. Those two things made the day more tolerable.

I needed a brutal beatdown of a ride like that. I need to get at least one more of those in my legs before Breck Epic, and several more of them before Vapor Trail 125… two months from now.