Saturday 23rd July 2011
The first day of the OBDR. This is it. I'm pretty stoked. Stoked because today I start riding the OBDR that I have heard and read so much about and stoked because I have 8 full days of riding before I have to be home.
After a 'slim' hotel breakfast and our last crap on a real porcelain toilet the 4 of us who hotel it on Friday in Lakeview (John, Ernie, Jesse and Mark) head off early to meet James, Ryan and Jeff at the start of the OBDR. We don’t want to be late because James said we start riding at 9:00am and we’re pretty sure he meant it.
When we get to the campground we are meeting them at I’m privately a little jealous because it is a fabulous spot. The road up to it is dusty, sandy and rough and my bike doesn’t handle well with all the extra weight. I’m worried at one point I have ‘lost’ the others already and it is going to be a long lonely week! Airing down the tires once we got to the start cured the bikes handling, it felt worlds apart from how it had been.
Despite the pictures above there are some rougher spots on day 1, nothing too gnarly we all handle them just fine and that inspires confidence in me that this trip isn’t going to get too rough on me or the bike. We ride through high meadows filled with lavender in full bloom and striking bunches of yellow flowers. It’s beautiful. Like a dummy I think it will be like this all day and neglect to take pictures, all too quickly it’s lost and were riding through different terrain. Will give me a good excuse to go back someday though.
Freemont Point was the highlight of the day and we camped not far from it. Despite everything I’d heard about mosquitos on the OBDR they weren’t too bad, but we all slather on the deet to be sure. Waking up the next morning in my tent in which I slept minus the fly I count 15 mosquitos on the outside just above my head. The good news is this was the last day when we really had any bother them worth mentioning and they were not half as bad as all the stories I’d heard.
I rode at the back most of the day, you can just make out the dust of the first riders on the trail far ahead.