Wednesday, July 13, 2016

This is Life Now

#vanlife has taken us to quite a few places lately, and based on the number of comments from people interested in the whole van life aspect of my pro bike racer life, I feel like an update about the trip is in order!

On Wednesday, July 6 I left this adorable boy at home, and hit the road with Carl Baur to meet up with Menso (who drove my van home from Phoenix when I flew to the Czech Republic) and ride in Wrightwood, CA. We choose this destination based on the stellar riding there, the fact that the little mountain town is at altitude and that it was a great midway point for Menso driving from Santa Barbara and us driving from Orange County especially considering Menso and I would be headed to Big Bear after a few days in Wrightwood.

Boy Scout Trail is one of my favorites in the Wrightwood area! 

Wednesday's ride included 40 glorious miles of high altitude singletrack and fire roads, followed by a great veggie burrito in town. We rode most of the Wrightwood 50 route, minus one epic descent and heinous climb. Wrightwood is one of those super close to LA hidden mountain gems that I think everyone should visit to ride at some point!

 Wednesday evening Menso and I drove up the hill to camp at Blue Ridge campground, which we never found. We ended up pulling over at a random spot next to the Abominable Snowman, where Menso slept tent-less under the stars, and I in the van.
Yeah, Menso slept right next to this... just a little spooky if you ask me :)
On Thursday we did our road intervals out of town, Menso on all the climbs in the area and me on the main road through town which is reasonable flat. Not only are the trails in the area phenominal, the roads are outstanding as well. With little to no traffic and 4 rad 10+ minute long climbs it's not a bad place to ride road bikes. After my workout I climbed to 'Inspiration Point' on HWY 2 which has this great view of the back side of Mt Baldy. It still blows my mind how much wilderness there is behind LA!

Post ride we met a bunch of rad locals and roadies, used a bit of coffee shop internet and headed to Lake Gregory for a lake swim 'shower' (our hygiene has been less than perfect on this leg of VanLife, most days we consider a lake swim good enough...). Neither Menso nor I had ever been to the town of Crestline, CA before, where lake Gregory is located, and we were both blown away by how cute of a town it is/how great the lake was!

After our lake shower we drove on to Big Bear, where we parked up on top of Radford Rd, at about 8,000ft and camped in what ended up being one of my favorite camp spots yet. We had a view of Mt Gorgonio, and were surrounded by giant pines and green grass full of wildflowers. We also had two huge downed trees to sit and cook on, and extra bonus, Menso got to ride down from our campsite to the ski area on singletrack on Friday morning to get to the lifts and do some lift access trail riding!
You can kinda see a peek of Gorgonio through the trees.  
Friday was chill, Menso rode all day and I relaxed/worked a bit, and then we found legitimate showers at a campsite across the lake for $3 and actually cleaned ourselves. For dinner we used two dinky camp pots and Menso's two burner stove to cook rice/quinoa, kale, sweet potatoes, and apples trying to recreate my favorite meal from the Angel Fire weekend. For a camping dinner it was pretty legit. We did learn though that a cutting board is key when campsite cooking... and dishes, dishes help too. For experienced campers we didn't leave town very prepared and we've been using old yogurt containers/salad containers/recycled plastic forks... to eat with :)

I already blogged about the race Saturday, but I didn't mention that I rode lift trails Sat afternoon because WHY THE HECK NOT! They were wicked fun on Brendan's Decree, and a bit scary, just how I like it. Post race I washed my hair in the bike wash, like shampooed it and everything and felt almost like I had taken a shower!
This drop off had a ramp... but look how far down that guy is down there!
Sunday was for riding to Sugarloaf peak with Carl, in an epic shuttle ride that still included 4,000ft of climbing, and took us all the way down Santa Ana River Trail. It was the perfect day on a bike, great weather, beautiful trails, and root beer floats at the store in Angelus Oaks after!

Sunday evening Menso and I showered again (we are on the every other day program) and then drove to Sherman Pass to camp above 8,000ft again. We didn't spend much time at this camp spot off a forest service road because Menso wanted to start riding early Monday morning. I dropped him off at the top of Cannel Plunge trail (10,000ft!) and did a bit of yoga/stretching/core in the warm alpine early morning sun.

View from the end of our ride.
The day was a little bit not perfect from that point as I kinda had a breakdown on Menso's second shuttle ride of the day, which was my first ride. I kinda didn't mean to be out in the sun doing so much climbing as we encountered on Just Outstanding trail, and that combined with not having coffee all day made me a little loco/unhappy. I was kinda bonky and unhappy, like I've never been this unhappy on the bike before cried two times unhappy, but felt so bad about being grumpy, so I tried my best to hold it together.
After the ride Menso hitch hiked back to the top to retrieve the van while I reconsidered my life, and then we swam in the Kern River... which made everything better. 
And then we were off to Mammoth! The Mammy installment of VanLife will have to wait till tomorrow because we have more places to be!!! 

But this is life now. Driving, riding, looking for bodies of water to swim in, and eating... not bad!

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