It’s always good to see Mike Bybee‘s name in the Seven inbox. It means we have good tidings (and great photos) from one of our favorite Seven riders out in the expansive American Southwest.
Rode out from Payson AZ and up a mix of trails to a ridgeline and a summit about 5k’ that overlooked Tonto National Forest and Mazatzal Peak (in the back there).
Cleaned up some trail trash on the way back, and found a buddy with a pickup truck who’s going to come help me remove a couch and a CRT someone chucked along the way. The ride down from the little summit was a blast, with a couple 3′ + dropoffs and lots of stuff that was more fun to go *down* than *up*.
He also sent along this summit panorama.
Mike rides a Sola SL 29er.
We look forward to a good snowfall, especially one that sets up overnight leaving a fresh, untouched blanket in the local woods. Having just released the Four-Season Sola 2×2, we were anxious to get it out into some “conditions,” and our New England weather obliged.
We opted for 27.5″ x 3″ tires and our Seven Adventure Bar. Snow riding calls for keeping your weight back and balanced over the wheels. This was a heavy snow and the temperature was high enough that what was on the ground had a high ice content. We didn’t let that bother us, snaking in and out of familiar trails made entirely new by sagging of branches and obscuring of rocks.
The bike was flawless, a perfect match for the pristine pre-dawn. Rides like this both exhaust you and recharge your batteries at the same time.
It was 13F at ride time this morning. Small flakes darted around on the wind. As the morning progressed, they got fatter, drifting and chasing each other into small cottony piles. We rode, and it was nice. We like pushing ourselves through the falling snow, and there are usually fewer cars on the road.
It’s hard not to think of warmer days too, though.
Here’s a photo from FOS (Friend of Seven) Mike Bybee who was kind of us to put us in his new Sights of the Southwest 2018 calendar. Mike is an ardent explorer, bikepacker, and photographer. We built him this Sola SL 29er adventure rig a few years ago, and so he’s taken us on some incredible adventures.
Originally, the Barlow Road was a wagon way that skirted the slopes of Mount Hood, a way for travelers from the East to get to the Willamette Valley without having to undertake a dangerous river trip. Today it’s a rough route of 167 miles with more than 16,000 feet of elevation gain.
Photographer and adventurer Daniel Sharp took it on in the late fall, and posted some great commentary and photos for us to enjoy via his Bendicto.co site.
It’s ridiculously scenic – the barns seem perfectly weathered, every tree seems weather-beaten and sturdy. We stop for photos, snacks and skids. Not me – I’m too old for skidz I’d tear a sidewall. I’m all about the long game. Finally we reach a paved road and jog left. I’ve done a lot of rides in this area, but never these exact roads, which is cool. After the quick jog left we’re faced with Endersby Cutoff road. I know it’s a necessary evil to get to Dufur. It’s by no means endless, but it kicks up pretty good and by now it feels hot and we’re missing the altitude and the cool in the trees. We huff up the road, and gleefully bomb the backside.
Read more here and here.
We received a brief note from Charles, a guy we built a Sola SL for in 1999. It contained the text: “Seven Sola did a fine job on a seven day Telluride to Moab Hut-to-Hut trip,” and a link.
Click the link and you get a great story about a seven day bikepacking trip through postcard scenery, a grueling ride made by a group of friends.
Some representative prose:
We had wonderful views of the desert formations surrounding Gateway at the Gateway hut. Sean and I cooled off a bit and washed some items in the Dolores River. Mosquitoes were coming out in full force during dusk. It became quite windy during the night, but the night sky full of stars was wonderful without any light pollution.
After the singletrack, we had a long climb to the first hut on Last Dollar Road. Mark was the first one up to the hut. The 9,000 to 11,000 foot climb didn’t seem to affect him that badly, but Sean and I started walking our bikes at two miles per hour toward the end. There was just no energy left in me to keep pedaling. Sean sat down a few times since he was bonking hard due to the altitude. We both made it to the hut right before dark though.
Click over to read the whole story. It’s worth it.