Did you miss the first part of our guest blog article, “Getting the Most Out of Your Trip”? No problem, check it out HERE.
I am a “bit” intense when it comes to packing. My wife laughs at me when I am packed one to two weeks before a trip, but when I am the one who didn’t have to check a bag for a two week, two climate trip or when I still have a bit of room to bring some new acquisitions home I feel ok with it. I make lists, I pack, then a day or two later; unpack and re-pack. I do this at least 3 times, ok- fine, when I describe my antics here it does deserve a laugh. Doing this gives me the chance to see my bags packed, feel the weight and rethink what I “need”. When I am done I have two light carry-on bags (usually a small rolling suitcase and a backpack).
This trip was a bit different from a normal one – traveling with some bike gear as well as “normal” clothes takes a bit of thought. I was in Santa Monica for four days prior to the riding and needed some clothes to wear out to nice places (My wife told me I can’t wear my riding clothes everywhere). I also couldn’t pack all of my riding stuff because I was using most of it up until the day before I left. For riding gear I brought my helmet, shoes, knee pads, raincoat, hydration pack, gloves, GoPro and my own pedals.
Not to mention riding clothes for the three days (especially mountain bike shorts) – I am ok recycling clothes, but if I am riding and getting all sweaty and dirty, or if it rains I probably will not do much recycling with wet stuff. One important thing to think about with a Chasing Epic trip is weather: be prepared for anything your trip can throw at you. Steve did a great job giving us a heads-up on what to expect, and recommended a few items to bring that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Ride and be in the moment
When you find yourself on one of these adventures, it means that you just paid for an experience and you are undoubtedly riding a sweet bike (especially with Chasing Epic!) for the next few days on some of the best trails in the country. You’ll have some really knowledgeable and capable guides showing you around on their local trails. You’ll be surrounded by happy people doing exactly the same thing you are, sharing the same passion. Take a minute when you get to the trail head and look around, breathe deep, smell, listen and take it all in. What isn’t there to smile about? You are on a mountain bike trip with friends, new and old. Mountain bikers are really cool people, and there’s a good chance your crew will have a LOT in common. Take it all in, have fun, make new friends, and enjoy the ride!
One thing to keep in mind on a guided trip like this is unless you and your ride group have decided to hammer and make it a competition – it isn’t. I am not saying that you should ride slow, I am only saying this is not a competition. Everyone else also paid to be there and they all want to have a great time, some people don’t find competition fun. That being said, the rides are certainly not for beginners. St. George and Hurricane are full of sweet trails for all levels, but it is probably best to be at least an intermediate to advanced rider level so you are able to keep up a good pace.
There will be riders from each end of that spectrum. To handle this difference in ability, Steve broke the group we had up into a few smaller ones (just like a local MTB group ride typically does). Those who wanted to make it a “hammerfest” were able to do so in their own group, we had two other tiers after that. I am sure every ride will be different. It all worked out perfectly and from what I remember; a few people moved from group to group until they found one to their preferred ability.
The ride leaders were awesome – they knew the terrain like you know yours and even while keeping a decent pace, we stopped here and there and got some excellent info about the area and plenty of time for photos. I’ll be riding with Chasing Epic again for sure, I have already blocked off dates on my calendar for the August Migration in Crested Butte!
About the Author: Corey is a native New Englander, born in Maine and currently residing just outside of Boston. A member of IMBA and the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA), he has been mountain biking off and on for more than 20 years but has only recently started traveling to ride in new places. Favorite local trails include Harold Parker State Forest in Massachusetts and the Kingdom Trails in Vermont, where the legendary NEMBAFest which held every June.