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Mike Dannelley and Pete Coulson looking bright and fresh at the start of the day one.

Roch Frey and Jason Tuffs looking equally fresh in their new American riding gear.

1-hour into the day’s first climb, Pete’s chain broke. We decided it was a curse he brought on himself for not wearing the American shorts and jersey…wear bibs on your own time Aussie!

After his chain broke, it became a game to see how we could push Pete up the remainder of the climb prior to the descent into Angelus Oaks. Mike and Roch started with the basic pushing method. Pete would later comment that he “didn’t think the climb was that bad.” Nice.

There’s nothing like riding your mountain bike 35-miles with 7,000-feet of climbing when you’ve got a major sinus infection and lung congestion…but we needed a guide and Jason wasn’t going to let us down.

Roch demonstrates that there’s nothing better than peeing in the great outdoors.

Huddle trying to out-man Dannelley who just shakes his head and smiles in the background.

There’s nothing quite like having nothing but your bike, cycling clothes, and wallet. Pete leans while Roch and Mike lounge in the Big Bear bike shop. “Hi, mind if we lie around on your floor?”

Like most men, the only think that kept us on task was the promise of chips & salsa with beer at the end of the day. L to R - Roch, Mike, Pete, and Jason demonstrate proper beer & chip form.

Why is this man smiling? Because he’s not riding his mountain bike up some endless climb in the San Bernadino Mountains. Watch for Pete Coulson in this year’s Trans Rockies Challenge – he says he’s not going but we’re going to promise him lots of chips & salsa with beer.


Broke Back Bear Mountain Bike Manfest

With Heather and Paula at Ironman Japan this week, the word in Encinitas is that Roch and Huddle are “bachin’” this week. Any male involved in a serious relationship or marriage knows that “bachin’” is short for “temporarily being a bachelor, while your significant other or, in this case, wife, is away”.

From the Oxferd Maryam Webstir Dictionary of Guy Speak: Bach-in’ / băch’(ә)n ● v. 1-a male temporarily living without his spouse – temporary bachelor status. Origin NSC (new Southern California) – Usage: “Dude, I hear Woody is bachin’ this weekend! I bet he’s like totally stoked to do nothing but surf and party with the old lady out of town!”

Buddies call to ask what fun you’ll be up to while the wives are out of town. They wistfully ask, “Hey, I hear you’re bachin’ this week…whata’ya’gonna do?” The correct male response is to make reference to the hours of sports on TV you’ll watch in your underwear, drinking cases of cold beer, ordering Domino’s, while the dishes pile up in the sink. Adding that, when the afternoon rolls around, you think you’ll roll down to the (pick one) bar, beach, game, etc. to hang with all your buddies and talk about (in no specific order) cars, sports, power tools, fishing lures, meat, quadraphonic stereo systems, chicks, lawn mowers, beer, Clint Eastwood, and the sale on 100% cotton BVD t-shirts (in the 5-pack) at Wal-Mart. Yes, it’s going to be a week long male dream vacation.

In reality, you know that your wives are as crafty as any in the female gender and, therefore, have spies in all facets of your life. You stick to the plan that they’re aware of and do something that you know will be fun but something that only involves your male friends who may also be bachin’ and also have wives who all seem to have connections national defense satellite intelligence. We know they’ve surgically installed a LoJack on us while we were sleeping and we’re not fighting it. By making plans with your bachin’ friends, you have automatically built in witnesses…and they don’t think we’re that smart.

So the plans were made for an epic two days of mountain biking. The fact is that we (Roch and Huddle) have committed to doing the Trans Rockies Challenge with our wives and some friends. The other fact is that we’re woefully out of shape. Since this “challenge” will comprise: “A maximum of 350 amateur and pro teams are estimated to grind their way back and forth over the Continental Divide while bouncing, grunting and pedaling through over 600 kilometers of wilderness trails, all part of the Trans Rockies Challenge. It will be a test of physical endurance and mental determination for mountain bike enthusiasts from all over the planet.” – from: Idiotic? Absolutely, but I’d argue that most of life’s good memories have some element of idiocy. Having finally looked at the website, we realized we were in BIG trouble and that we better start riding our bikes and that it would help if we actually rode our mountain bikes a little too.

So, at the suggestion of Roch’s Trans Rockies teammate, Mike “Beef Cake” Dannelley, secure in the knowledge that we’d have our own personal San Bernadino Mountains trail guide, Jason “The Baron of Big Bear” Tuffs (who will be Heather’s teammate at TR), and after coaxing newly crowned Australian National Champion in the 3km pursuit, Pete “Where’s the Velodrome” Coulson (who WILL be racing TR with our buddy Dave Holme), we planned to drive up to some ranger station, park the cars and ride our collective rear ends up hill for most of the next two days…at altitude. Good plan but where does the beer and all the other Man stuff fit into all of this?

We picked up Roch by 5:45 and Pete by 6am and made it to McDonald's (Man stuff) in Menton where we all wolfed down 2-sausage McMuffins - hey, our guide Jason did it so we all just followed along – except, of course, for the Roch who had the Sausage Burrito Breakfast – nice Man touch. We picked up parking passes at the Ranger Station, found the start of the trail, got suited up in our new American kit (except for the main Pro, Pete, who wouldn't wear it because it was comprised of shorts and jersey - not bibs - "I only wear bib shorts" – please), put the Camelbacks on, and started straight up. About 1-hour into the first big climb, Pete broke his chain (of the bike that Mike loaned him for the ride) – must be those 3km pursuit quads or the tune up Mike had arranged the couple of days prior. The blame was getting tossed around like a scene from Lord of the Flies until we decided to try to fix the chain. It was decided that Jason should ride on to Angelus Oaks to see if we could organize a cab up to the Big Bear Bike Shop for Pete while Roch, Mike, and I pushed and pulled Pete in what was the first of many funny incidents along the way. Ok, it wasn’t all that funny at the time but the banter was priceless. We can repeat many of the phrases relating to towing and pushing Pete but let’s just say that this is where the title of the story was derived – not that there’s anything wrong with it.

It took us from 9am 'til about 3:30pm for the 5-hours of riding time to get up to Mike's house in Big Bear but I (Huddle) had to go straight to the bike shop as well because my front shocks weren't working at all (not good with a lot of descending scheduled for tomorrow) and I'd tweaked my chain badly enough (chain suck) that I needed a new one. One lesson we learned was that between 5-grown men who were out for an epic two days of mountain biking was that we all had cel. phones that didn't work from where we were but none of us was carrying a chain tool. Nice. Remember, you should always have a chain tool when doing a long mountain bike ride. What a bunch of yuppies. I guess we all thought we’d call for a cab instead of fixing mechanical problems on our own. I don’t think there will be taxis at the Trans Rockies Challenge but I may be mistaken.

Anyway, after we got back from the bike shop, it was a shower and then beer and chips (Man stuff) at Dannelley's crib followed by a long walk (definitely not Man stuff) in the collection of clothing we were able to bring in our Camelbacks and pilfer from Mike's to the Thai restaurant that the Baron of Big Bear suggested. Jason seems to know every inch of that place as he lived in Angelus Oaks for some 4-years. I looked like a homeless person in my flip-flops, running shorts, duofold t-shirt, and wind breaker. Pete looked like Ali G in his ripped Reebok sweat pants and sweet bright red fleece top (sweet) that he borrowed from Dannelley. Roch had Dannelley's running shoes on and had a blister half way to the restaurant (you can imagine the whining) so he had to trade mike for one of his grooving leather topsider shoes - yes, one running shoe and one topsider for each of them. You can imagine what the locals were thinking when we walked in the door. For the trip back home, we got a cab ride from the psycho woman who drove broken chain Pete up the hill and we finally understood what he was talking about when he said that he was white knuckling the whole way. We all thought we were going to die.

Then, thanks to Roch’s forethought, it was an hour or so of Slapshot and Caddy Shack (Man stuff) before turning in. Mike in the master, Jason and Roch in a room and Pete and I in a room with bunk beds - yes, I got the top bunk. Pete said that I didn't snore but, holy crap, did he fart (Man stuff). It was like being in a toilet in Dali, China in the heat of summer. The next morning Mike asked my how I slept and I said, "like a log". He said, "good because you got the worst bed in the house." Thanks Mike. Actually, that's a good lesson for Trans Rockies too - give the big sleeper the worst place to sleep because he/she will sleep regardless.

Anyway, the next day, we got up early (there were at least three insomniacs in the group who needed some Ambien to get themselves to sleep – what? after a 5-hour ride and going to bed at 7,000 feet - I don't understand that one - I was in a coma instantly), drank coffee at the house, and rode to Denny's for an American Slam (Man stuff) before starting back the same route we came. There was less climbing on the way home but still three definitive ascents that brought Jose' Feliciano out so sing many encores of “Light My Fire” in my incredibly unfit legs. I think the total altitude in the two days was 10,000 feet and I came to appreciate the value and comfort of having front suspension and disc brakes. I had neither - sweet. Memo to self: get bike fixed & tuned BEFORE epic mountain bike ride.

We were all very stoked about the trip (mainly finishing alive), threw everything in the respective vehicles, and drove straight to some burrito stand in Mentone that Jason (now known as the Mayor of Mentone) knew. I was surprised we stayed awake for the drive home – maybe it had something to do with the Maxim magazine that Pete bought (Man stuff) at the gas station.

Well, we know that Heather and Paula have some Ironman over in Japan and Luke is racing in Brazil but we figured that, somehow, our manly mountain bike ride was worth bigger news - now it's time to start the final taper preparation for the big paddle race on Sunday…maybe we’ll even do a story on that. It’s not Ironman but we think it’s kind of manly.