Expat Magazine

River Mountains Loop

By Thebangtoddowenwaldorf @BangLiving

River Mountains Loop

“Welcome to the dramatic circle of rugged mountains, desert landscapes, and the startling blue of Lake Mead.”  I read the sign and peddled on.  I went a little farther into the desert today, but let me not get ahead of myself.

I had taken the interstate out of Vegas and toward Henderson.  Henderson is a nearby town that is where many locals live who don’t live in the city.  While driving through Henderson the flourishing buildings began to become scarce and soon fell away altogether so that it was just road and desert.  Soon, I came upon a ranger station.  I didn’t want to pay the fee and so I pulled over before reaching the station and I parked.  It’s not that it wasn’t worth it, but that I had another mode of transportation that didn’t require payment.

Seven years ago I bought the mountain bike that I have now.  I am a nostalgic sentimental dude if you don’t know, and I haven’t been able to part with the bike to get a “better one”.  So now I pretty much ride a classic.  It is a solid bike made by a good company and it doesn’t have some of the newer options that come on bikes today, but it’s awesome, and that’s all I need.  I bought the bike from a guy that worked for me.  His name was Bill.  He rode it twice in the two years that he owned it.  I rode it twice the weekend I bought it from him.  I would later go on to not only ride it, but toss it into the ground, and pummel myself to near death.

Side comment:  Anyone who works at Charles Schwab is sure to remember when I came into work and couldn’t use my hands from this craziness.  Oh and Brian, if you’re reading, thanks for making me wear a helmet.

I took the TREK off of the rack and began peddling.  I passed by a group of three or four who looked at me sort of strangely.  It wasn’t that they were giving me the stare down, but more of a curious look.  I thought, okay definitely eye-balling the awesome wheels, and moved on.   I immediately noticed how easy the trail was.  A concrete sidewalk with more twists than a bread-tie.  I was hardly peddling, in fact, I had to lay on the brakes quite a bit.  Should have worn a helmet.

Site comment:  My helmet was in my backpack.  Brian would be disappointed.

Sometimes the sides of the trail fell sharply down.  It was magnificent.  After about two miles of lightning downhill speed I hit the bottom and I began going up.  Time to work.  This was more difficult, but I had exhausted little energy and took the next two mile ascent well, not easily but well.  Half way up the mountain I realized I had forgotten my water bottle.  It was in the car.  Pat on the back.  It is dry in the desert.  You need water in the desert.  This cut my trip short.  I kept going up though because I’m stubborn.  There were large portions of some of the hills blown out for the path.  I had been fighting against the wind already going this way, and now the wind was channeled through those openings and it was pretty intense.  It was windy up there.  Windy and cold, but just beautiful.  Real beautiful.  You know it’s true because I said it twice.  I was alone and biking these hills near Lake Mead and it was awesome.  What else can I say?

I got to the top of a long stretch and stopped and pulled out a cheeseburger.  Yep, no water, and had a coffee before the ride, but I brought a cheeseburger.  Don’t be jealous, Lance.  I ate and put my pack down on the bike.  I laid down on the path for a little while to allow the food to go down.  “Did he fall down?”, someone said as two enthusiast bike riders went by.  If you buy spandex shorts and have shirts to give you more speed on your bike and your clothes have logos all over them than you are an enthusiast.  Beware of the enthusiasts.  They didn’t say hello.  That’s just unfriendly.  It’s just the three of us and desert.  Plus I could be dying.  Let down.  Plus, in Australia they would have probably stopped and given me a back rub.  Australia +1.  Enthusiasts 0.

Going back down the mountain was great fun.  Well, those first two miles were.  I put on my helmet because I didn’t want to use the brakes, and two miles of decline on a mountain is enough to get some speed up.  Then I got to the bottom, and that’s when things changed.  Have to go back up now.  Thank’s Newton.  Wait, that’s not right.  Okay,  I’ll end the story now.  I’ll end by just saying that Nevada is freaking awesome for bike and hiking trails.  I am in paradise when it comes to biking.  Sure the economy is the worst in the nation.  Ya, people are metaphorically starving in the streets but who cares when you can bike?  Surely not those metaphorical starving people.

Oh, and as for biking back up the mountain?  I can’t feel my legs.  Totally worth it.

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