In the Saddle: All for nothing | AspenTimes.com

In the Saddle: All for nothing

Tim Dudley

Like the opposite of a drug, coming down on a mountain bike is twice as fun as getting high on it.For some reason, it’s not like climbing on pavement, where most of the point is the climb and going back down is icing on the cake. Off road, the descent is the reward and the climb up is your payment. Must be the bumps – fun on the way down, a bitch on the way up.So it’s distressing when all the work of a long climb up a steep, rocky road fails to pay off. It’s even more so when it’s your own fault.I had a lot of sweat equity built into a climb up to Warren Lakes last week. The ride starts by ascending Smuggler Mountain. But at the top, it keeps going for like three more Smugglers, except steeper and with more and bigger rocks. It wasn’t fun. I lost balance on one of those rocks and had to stop a little past the Smuggler overlook platform, and when I did I got dizzy and had to sit down. I had to walk a few of the steeper pitches. There were no flat or even mellower-pitched sections to catch your breath for a long way.The only reason I didn’t turn around and head back down was the promise that the descent would be really fast and fun from the top.And it was.At least until my rear tube flattened on a sharp rock. A pain in the rear, yes, but a flat tire wouldn’t ruin this screaming descent. Unless it can’t be patched and your spare road tube is in your pack and the tube you need is sitting on the floor at home.I walked the remainder of the way down with a sad-puppy look on my face, collecting pity from bikers and hikers on the way up.All that work for nothing but sympathy. Lesson learned.