It's not easy getting rid of accumulated personal possessions that you've inscribed meanings to. Charging highway speed into the 'Big Empty' can be daunting. Our preconceptions and expectations can be tricksters. What characters lie ahead on the road, where monsters and dreams have equal opportunity to become passengers? Have you tried it yet? Dipped a toe? It is a full commitment cliff jump to see if the water below feels as good as it looks.
I set up my tent in darkness after a 10-hour drive. The mountains had been luring me back with siren songs the entire time I lived in Austin. When I woke up: elation!
This spot along the water in the Taos Ski Valley made for a great campsite and mobile office. | Photo by Jaymes Baassiri
Took the time to just close my eyes and listen to the river. Inhaled the clean air and admired the amazing golden glow bounce of cliffs and trees. My chest cavity was filled with gratitude and optimism with this opening omen. The hole the mountains left in my soul was impossible to fill but now I was back. My sentimentality was folded away with my tent tarp and my focus spotlighted over to the upcoming day: Angel Fire Bike Park.
On the lift up to my cherry run, a conversation was struck up with a fellow rider. When I explained my trip, he shared his enthusiasm about my adventure. The gentleman invited me to follow him down to Boulder Dash as a warm-up. Sure enough, it was a thrill ride! A heavy lunch was resting in my stomach and was almost evicted.
Great speed, rollers and tabletops comprised this intermdiate flow trail. Being relatively new to the sport, I also noticed immediately how taxing on my legs the downhill was. Curiosity blazed for the other dirt slaloms webbed through the resort. Intel provided by park personnel pointed me toward Hungry Hippo.
The first lift ride up at Angel Fire Bike Park held the promise of freedom—and fun. | Photo by Jaymes Baassiri
This trip is about skills improvement; cross-country riding in Wyoming had been most of my two-year experience. In Austin, a full-suspension slightly used demo bike was found at a bargain and gave me extra confidence. Crashes and slide outs were part of the learning curve. Staying off the brakes, foot balance and cornering were my main focal points at the start. The first two became important for this story.
Lemonade was the name of the trail. Colored blue for Intermediate, I railed down it with little precaution. On a steep, sweeping berm to the left, my eyes rattled as my hands went numb through the high-speed braking bumps.
My reaction to the speed was to bring my ass back and get low. A death grip on my handlebars became apparent as I mentally surveyed possible outcomes of blowing this corner. The fear was short lived though. My testicles retreated from the sensation of whirring rubber knobbies–too far back!
The Enchanted Forest trail in Red River, NM, offered up scenery and singletrack in spades. | Photo by Jaymes Baassiri
I cleared that section and came to a stop. Laughter erupted to the chagrin of nearby woodland creatures. My imagination played out what could have happened differently. Ejected off and thrown over the formidable hill to my right? Or my loose shorts could have been sucked into the rotating wheel, marrying my body in mutilation with my bike.
The next day, I headed up the Enchanted Circle to Red River, New Mexico. A lift up and then a service road ride down just whet my appetite for something more. A local shop recommended I find the Enchanted Forest cross-country trails three miles from town. The internet is great, but asking locals is my preferred mode of gathering information. Disappointment never crossed my face as I streaked past yurts and open vistas. A storm beckoned me to wrap up the exploration and it came down hard by the time I was leaving the parking lot.
So much in life is purely timing. My thoughts drifted to my friends in Colorado that were expecting me. I packed up my camp site in Taos Ski Valley and set my sights for Denver.
To be continued...
by Jaymes Baassiri
ABOUT ROCKY MOUNTAIN BEDOUIN
When Jaymes Baassiri was laid off from his job as a wireline engineer on an oil field, he decided to take his severance, sell everything that didn't fit in his truck, buy an MTBparks Pass and set out for the summer of a lifetime. Although new to mountain biking, Jaymes was inspired by articles and videos of climbers living the nomadic "dirtbag" life. Armed with experience as a Navy vet who started writing and exploring in Lebanon, he began documenting his two-wheeled adventures as the 'Rocky Mountain Bedouin.'
Stay tuned for stories and videos from Jaymes' adventures at bike parks throughout the Rockies and experiences from the road and trails inbetween. You can also follow Jaymes' adventures on Instagram at @RockyMountainBedouin.
WE WANT YOUR MTBPARKS PASS STORIES!