Visions of Sugar Plums

“We plunged into the cornucopia quivering with desire and the ecstasy of unbridled avarice.”

I am reminded of timeless movie classic,The Christmas Story. That movie where the little boy dreams about getting a Red Rider BB gun for a present. He has visions – his personal sugar plums – where he uses his red rider to fend off the bad guys – that dance in his head. That’s how my night felt. Going to bed at 7:30 on a Sunday night is unheard of for us, but we played hard this weekend and decided to hit the sack early.

I don’t even know if I got that much sleep, however, as I had my own visions riding through my head – spiny ridged trails, steep shoots and rooty drops, picturesque waterfalls, mossy trees…the day’s ride replayed in my mind.

  Two Huckwagons are better than

Two Huckwagons are better than

Two Huckwagons are better than

Laughter, dueling huckwagon flasks, peanut butter sandwiches, glissading down the vertical trail, fired up by adrenalin and anticipation of the unknown.

Our fearless leader led us forward. Stopping at certain points for the party to reconvene, then sending it, once again, down the mountain. The long up hill was celebrated with a downhill of equal length – a mix of everything a freeride trail could ask for. Technical, flow, tight turns, and sometimes precarious ridges. Not for the faint of heart, but for those with adventurous spirit.

Back at the car, loading up the Huckwagon, anticipating a beverage and a much needed snack, laughing, moaning a bit, exchanging stories of the ride, we toasted to another successful day and to each other.

Cheers

  Cheers

Cheers

People make these adventures fun. The dynamics of our group keep us coming back. Encouraging, fun, laid back, welcoming, camaraderie, support. It’s not about one-upping, it is about the whole experience. Sure, we challenge each other to try new things, but it’s the way we do it.

And, at the end of the day, we are wondering when the next ride will be, and where.

And thus, we go to bed at night, dreaming of a day well ridden and of how we will challenge ourselves next time. Shredding, hucking, and sendin’ it! “…(and) Gradually, I drifted off to sleep, pranging ducks on the wing and getting off spectacular hip shots.” (or maybe just catching air and getting off spectacular drops).

See you on the trails!

Heidi and Gary

This simple thing called life!

 
  Snow globe

Snow globe

Sometimes it’s just the simple things…

A cup of cocoa with marshmallows, a walk in the woods, a good book, a bike ride…

The simple things. No agenda. Waking up to a snow covered wonderland. All plans change.

Time seems to stand still and we sip our coffee. Ponder the upcoming day. The errands can wait. Chores? Sure, they can always be done.

A sunny, snow covered Saturday? How can we not enjoy the day. Seize the moment?!

We head outside, layered. It’s only 19 degrees. Brrrr! But oh, so lovely.

The trails are closed for the season, so we pedal up the fire roads. Our breathing hindered by the cold. Just a little further to the top and we can coast downhill.

The sound of a chainsaw and voices come from Bill’s Trail. Two hearty souls are out for a trail day. The old rotten ramp has already been removed and the new split cedar is being set into place. “I’m thinking of a table top with a kicker, here, and a new ramp to set riders up for the next jump”. The engineers are plotting the improved feature.

  The new ramp

The new ramp

We head home to change into trail building clothes. And, gate key in hand, we are soon back at the site.

Hunting for rocks, the smell of cedar, fresh snow on the trees, PBRs in the snow, and the smell of hot links on the portable grill hi-lite the day.

  PBMC

PBMC

Hiking the trail one last time before heading back to the cars, our planning continues and we inspect the trail. Talk of another work day and the potential for more improved features is exciting and makes us forget our weary muscles.

It really is the simple things. An expected snow day, the view of 3 Fingers after a job well done, an almost complete table top, and being able to give back with our time all things seem possible.

  3 Fingers

3 Fingers

 

Trails are closed for the Season!

 

Signs were being nailed into place as we made one last trip up the ridge to celebrate closing time. Night was falling and we were assured we weren’t poaching. They closed TOMORROW so we still had today’s last faint rays of light.

Some people say we are entering the “off” season. They wonder what to do until spring when the days get longer and trails dry out. Sitting inside they might watch bike porn, read magazines, reminisce about the good ol’ days of summer…sendin’ it off that rock face, the gnarly crash, the epic rides.

‘Shrooms!

Thankfully that’s not what happens at our place. Well, okay, we actually DO all those things too. A glass of porter and a good bike movie? What else could one want? On a cold fall night, it is the perfect way to celebrate another day. Throw in a grilled cheese sandwich and it is downright heavenly.

But this is actually the perfect time of year to keep on keepin’ on. Try out new trails, hike and explore possibilities for future lines, join a trail building group and maintain existing trails, tune up bikes, and hunt for the elusive chantrelles.

  Shrooms!

Shrooms!

Do you know how satisfying it is to hike up a trail one day that has 5 inch deep mud puddles on it and ride down it the next to find no standing water because of the work you did? Or to be tromping through Salal and Oregon Grape only to find a treasure trove of chantrelles just waiting to be harvested and cooked in bacon grease?

  Cute little deers!

Cute little deers!

Better yet, making eye contact with the buck and his doe while we hiked passed them on the trail less traveled.

Some trails may be closed for a few months, but possibilities for fall and winter fun are endless. Charge those night lights, dry out the rain gear, and GET MUDDY!

Enjoy the ride and we will see you on the trails!

Heidi and Gary

 

Passion

 

“Oh, you will just loooove this. It is one of my favorites! It is so fresh and makes my skin feel so ALIVE!”

The sincere passion from the sales clerk at Lush was refreshing and inspiring. I told her she was good at her job because I could tell she really believed in her product. She blushed a little and said I should see her house! Maybe she loved it a little too much.

Passion. I know I have written about this before, but I think that when we live our passion, we become vibrant beings. The world is at our fingertips and anything is possible. For us, we had the chance to share our passion with others in the industry when we spent a long weekend at Whistler Crankworx.

   JoyRide

JoyRide

Strolling or rolling through the village and talking to vendors and other bikers who love what they do once again reaffirmed the journey we are embarking on with our Huckwagon trailers. Not that we were questioning what we are doing, but more just exciting to affirm that we are creating an awesome product for people who CARE about their bikes and the rides of others.

Not only did we share stories of shuttle trailers, but also the concept of our smaller trailer for fuel efficient cars and indivduals on the go. Going “green” and being able to haul 5 bikes with a car that gets good fuel economy makes a trip to our next destination even more affordable.

Speaking with major bike companies, entrepreneurs like Whistler Performance Lube, and other engineers and designers who are all stepping out of the easy way of life to try to make it doing something new and innovative opens the doors to further possibilities. Our four day stay was capped off with lunch at the Brewhouse.

  Crankworx

Crankworx

Ryan and Kyle from The Huckwagon Adventure shuttle joined us for a business meeting. Sharing stories and talking possibilities. We can all learn from one another and when you mix business with great people and good food, the stars align and all is right with the world.

Passion. Each day we strive to share some of ours with you.

See you on the trails.

Heidi and Gary

 

Biking, Anyone?

 
   Lil red huckster

Lil red huckster

Love-Love
Watching high school tennis I thought about the similarities to biking. Odd? Or maybe typical since I am a bit crazy about the ride. There are many different facets to the sport(s)…practice, positioning, watching the line, keep your eyes on the prize, singles and doubles, the individual and the team, serving, competition, frustration, joy…the list goes on.
Do you have the right equipment, who are your people, do you have confidence, skill, motivation, desire. Are you having fun? Why do you do it? To be outside, to relieve stress, to keep in shape, to hang with your people, to sweat, laugh, cry…push your limits?

Squamish. A long week of work and inactivity. Stress build up and the chance to let go on the bike. ROAD TRIP! After a quick stop at Quest to deliver things to our daughter, we head to the famous Half Nelson trail parking, with our XB towing bikes on the Lil’ Hucker 5 bike Huckwagon trailer.

 

Lil red huckster

We gear up and start our ascent up the windy gravel road. Out of shape, tense from the week spent hunched over my desk, the doubt slips in. “What ifs” fill my head as I start to second guess my ability. I’ve ridden this trail before. I know I can do it, but my confidence oozes and tentativeness sets in. “I will be careful”, “I don’t want to crash so I will go slow” (hahaha if you know the trail!) and we get to the trail kiosk.

“Droppin’ in!” and off Dave and Gary go. I’m in and start my ride. Tension from the week is in my shoulders and mind and my flow – what flow? – is off. Definitely not riding in the zone, I am jerky and cautious. Overthinking and not reacting. I breathe and search for my center, my zen moment, my peace, my release. And, just like that, the trail is finished. Too SHORT!

“Let’s go back up and ride a new trail!” I hesitate, but just for a moment. “Why not?!” and back up the fire road we spin. It is a glorious day. I am loosening up, I am in sync with my bike.

The new trail is a Black Diamond. Are you kidding?! I barely made it down Half Nelson. The camaraderie and encouragement is soothing. “We are just checking it out. None of us have ever done it before. You already know how to ride this stuff. You can do it. We will take it easy. We will stay together.”

   Post ride picture at Quest U

Post ride picture at Quest U

Post ride picture at Quest U.

This one is technical and steep. I put on my elbow pads, just in case, and drop in to the not so “pc” named trail Angry Midget. Focused, loose, in the zone, in my body, I ride it. My bike and I are one.

I feel AMAZING physically and mentally.

“Add In!” And the serve is good.
Play for the joy of the game.

No second guessing. No time for that! You might double fault or endo.
Remember Caddyshack? 

Be in the zone with whatever activity you enjoy and have fun with it!

See you on the trails!

Heidi and Gary

 

Family Time!

“I miss my family,” was all he said.

The sun was setting on our little group as we sat in camp chairs surrounding the non-existent fire. Soaking in the last few minutes until dusk, the dappled light filtered through the trees and cast golden orange rays on us. There was a magical ambiance to the conversation, a sense of reverence, on this sultry summer’s evening.

“Family?” The question was asked by someone fairly new to the mountain bike scene.

“Yeah. Bikers. The community. My tribe.  I haven’t ridden enough lately and I even have trails close to my backyard. These are my people. I miss it. Too busy doing things that ‘need’ to get done.”

…at least that is my interpretation of how the conversation unfolded. Memories were shared. Vows made to get out more. And, a sense of peace filled my being.

Family. I miss my people. When we are together, it is a cherished time and goes much too quickly. When school is out, we educators anticipate endless vacation, but the reality is much different.   Summers are Saturdays strung together in succession. Home projects, trailer building, car repairs, a mini family vacation here and there, biking where we can fit it in, and it is over. Sometimes, being too busy doing things that ‘need’ to be done gets in the way of what is really important. Family. Our people.

 

Connectedness.

Getting together for the common good. Finding balance. Words not followed by action are meaningless and we lose touch. Life gets in the way and the seats by the fire pit are empty.

On our last ride, we had 5 decades represented. Teens, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and 50! I woke up thinking about that the next morning while I massaged my crash weary muscles. A spectrum of over 30 years represented in one group of riders yet on the trail the years don’t matter and we are all one. We bring vast experiences, joys, and our pains to the trail and then to the communal table after the ride, and we are united. Bonded.

 

One quirky family.

I read that “We live in a society that has everything separated…a society that’s forgotten the whole…Male and female…Young and old…Life and death. Tears and joy. All part of the same. Parts of the whole…” (Melody Beattie).

Our mission at Huckwagons is to get the gang back together. I like to believe our mountain biking family fills that hole and makes us whole by creating true friendships that will span decades, share stories, and create new ones.

 

Reconnect the missing pieces that have gotten misplaced in the day to day.

Celebrate your biking family with us on the trail or in a Huckwagon by transporting your own group of mismatched riders on their next adventure.

See you on the trails!

Tribute To Our High School Graduate Class of 2014

Flipping through stacks of memories. Finding the perfect picture to represent that life-changing moment for a senior scrapbook. They say a picture speaks a thousand words. I think maybe more. It reminds us where we have been – where we are – where we are going – through good and bad.

A map. Coming full circle. We see how all of our travels have gotten us here. Is it today? Already?! Hannah, on a bike with training wheels, helmet at a jaunty angle, years ago in front of the Arlington house. Circa June 2001. WOW! 5 years old.

No wonder she didn’t ride a bike on that road until 6 years later. We bribed her with the promise of a “good bike”. And, she trusted. Enough to learn. And now look at her!!

 

Without training wheels.

Whistler. Turning 11. Finding balance. Riding along Fitzsimmons Creek for the very first time. I let go and she rode and rode. Without me holding on. She was free. FLYING! That same week she met Ryan Leech. An inspirational man, she has described him as one of the most self-actualized people she has ever met. Sincere, real, athletic, spiritual.

Flash forward 4 years. Freshman year of high school. The promise of a mountain bike scholarship if she joined our high school bike team her freshmen year. And now, graduating, a beautiful, brainy, biking, woman of dirt. One of the most self-actualized people I know.

Biking. A love/hate relationship for her. “How come I am the slowest when I have been riding longer?” Used to getting left behind by those faster than her. Frustrated at the light and dark, narrow, steep, and rooty trails. Challenging for her and easy for others. Never using her vision as an excuse, pushing herself harder than many. To conquer the fear of the hidden…..at every pedal stroke. We don’t get it!

“Ride and you won’t be so stressed out about school!” I shout. “I will be even more stressed out” is the frustrated response. And then, finally I DO get it. That “ah ha” moment.

The individual reasons we ride are many. For some it is the race, the heart rate, the being better than everyone else. While to others, it is the beauty, the camaraderie, the personal accomplishments, the way to de-stress. The race or the ride? While it may relieve the day’s stress for some, it adds to others because sometimes “it is SO hard!”

 

Yet, she keeps doing it.

Smiling sometimes. Terrified at others. “You don’t have to race today,” I whisper as the torrential rain pours and the mud streams down her face at Washougal. “YES! I DO HAVE TO RACE TODAY!” comes the exasperated retort through tears and dirt. (Sometimes wouldn’t it just be easier to lay on the couch eating bon bons?)

I don’t know if I can ever understand completely. I like to think I can. Putting myself in her shoes (mine actually since she is using hand-me-down 510’s). I try to liken it to my riding the Shore. The hardest rides I have ever done. Yet I try to go back once or twice a year. Walking more than riding most times. Shaking in exhaustion mentally and physically when we are back at the shuttle rig celebrating with stories and beverages.

Or the fear at the start of Whistler’s Top of the World trail. “I had this dream,” says Gary, “about you guys and an ice field. And I go riding past you…” and the exhilaration of finishing it. NOT abandoned on the glacier.Smiling, enjoying breathtaking vistas, and awesome riding companions.

I said she could even get a scholarship for riding. Huckwagons is offering one. Not for employee’s families, but it is being offered nonetheless. AND she will be getting her own financial assistance from us anyways – to attend Quest University in Squamish at the base of Half Nelson. Already on a website for incoming freshmen, already hooking up with kids who want to ride bikes and be chill. Low stress.

It’s just a ride, isn’t it? Life, that is. We check it out. Not from the sidelines, but huck into it. Not always able to see the curve in the path, the chain that might bar the way, Bruce’s leg, the hedge, the unexpected drops, the heartbreaking climbs, but we do it and come out stronger than ever. Sometimes with scratches, others with bruises, and often with smiles and stories of adventures.

 

The race or the ride?

Is it the finish line that keeps you going or all of the berms and jumps and drops and climbs along the way? And, along the way to where? As Robert Frost said in his poem The Road Not Taken, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”. What hidden treasure lies down that less explored path? That trail less traveled? Whichever you choose, it is all a part of the journey.

…What is written:
Be weak to ride strong.
Ride up to go down.
The smooth path looks rugged,
As the most pleasurable rides are wicked.

The ultimate ride cannot be discovered,
And still, it winds its way down every trail.
-Mark Tracey, Mountain Biking in the Tao

The race or the ride? It is personal and often inexplicable. As our high school senior steps out of the door into adulthood, all I can say that I am so very proud of her many accomplishments, but most of all I feel at peace as she continues this journey of self-discovery on her bike and in her life because I know she has the mad skills to huck it!

Congrats to Hannah and the Class of 2014!

See you on the trails

The Holy Trail

 
   Amazing discovery of sandy stone on the re-route at the Tree Farm. Baby trails need lots of TLC.

Amazing discovery of sandy stone on the re-route at the Tree Farm. Baby trails need lots of TLC.

Have you seen the picture of Matt Hunter railing the berm? His body parallel to the trail seemingly mere inches from the earth? A smile on his face and perfectly balanced with the headline “Think This Image Is Fake?” as his arm skims the ground beneath him.

The myth buster video is impressive and I watch in awe. The perfection, flawless riding, the berm, the dirt.

“It’s just dirt” said a woman when arguing trail conditions with a local mountain biker. Speechless for a moment, stunned at the ignorance, dumbfounded at the lack of respect given to the trail, the mountain biker didn’t know what to say, and then, of course had an over-abundance of knowledge to impart. Fortunately, or not, they were related and the ensuing argument did not further drive a wedge between the two, but enlightened the biker to the sad reality as they just shook their heads at one another and went their separate ways, one on horseback and the other on his own trusty steed, his bike.

Amazing discovery of sandy stone on the re-route at the Tree Farm. Baby trails need lots of TLC.

 

We call it hero dirt, Jesus soil, the holy trail.

There is reverence to the path we take. Finding flow, sculpting a jump, creating, raking, pruning, replanting, draining, and we visualize. And the vision becomes tangible, hike-able, ride-able, and we watch as baby ferns grow and pine needles drop, and deer tracks decorate a newly designed section or re-route.

There is pride and love and appreciation for the land, the terrain, the big rock to be used as a feature, the newly dug drainage channel, the rainbow tree that is almost too low to ride beneath. We see potential and possibility.
 

And we whisper.

Speak in hushed tones so as to keep it safe while we nurture and prepare it for use. How do we protect it from interlopers, yet open it to those who will appreciate its beauty and maintain and perfect the new trail’s imperfections? We merely hope to make others aware of the connection, give them opportunity to embrace it, and share in the adventure that is found in the woods, riding, and working the trail.

Different users have differing visions and many who ride and hike trails see with eyes wide open. Closer to the earth one often sees more clearly the litter, erosion, and problems that can occur if the land is not cared for properly.

One also recognizes the work that needs to be done – the grading, the spring cleaning before opening day, the importance of not just snapping off branches to clear a path, but the significance of removing them from the trail itself. Care is taken and the hallowed forest ground becomes blessed by the sweat of trail builders and other stewards of the land.

   Before and After work on the “Trail with no Name” at the Tree Farm.

Before and After work on the “Trail with no Name” at the Tree Farm.

There is gratitude to those who have gone before us and prepared the way and a shout out to the others who now join in as we play our part on local trails. The camaraderie, lasting friendships, stories, and the satisfaction of being part of the difference make the experience what it is.
 

It is not just the ride it is the interconnectedness of the journey that makes us bikers who we are!

As Chief Seattle said, “…the Earth does not belong to man – man belongs to the Earth…All things are connected…Man did not weave the web of life – he is merely a strand in it…”

See you on the trails!