I maintain that this ride was a carefully orchestrated conspiracy between Skip, Cathy and Aaron. They took me out “to play around Redington Road” and next thing I knew, we were on the way to Chiva.

We met up with Emerson and his son for some easy but fun roads off of Redington first. It was nice riding with another noob, especially a kid. Everyone pars it back a notch and it’s just pleasant, fun riding.

The gang chillin’ at Chimney Rock

After a while we split off from Emerson and headed ‘across the street’ (code for ‘Becktastic pummeling grounds’).

The beginning roads to Chiva are twisty with some decent rock parts which were good practice and I didn’t feel intimidated…until the rocks and climbs started getting a lot bigger. Good line choice became paramount and it’s still something I really need to work on. A couple times a picked a crappy line, right at a big rock and tried to force the bike up with a handful of throttle. The little Zeb is a wheelie monster though so he just reared up like a wild mustang and dumped me on my ass. Two of those incidents on the way in, but otherwise okay even though I was all wide-eyed under my helmet on that steep downhill.

Finally we arrived at the falls!

I went down to wade in the pool while Aaron hiked to the top.

View from below.

The water was -really- cold, so I ditched the swimming idea and hiked up to join him at the top.

Those little dots are our bikes! And Skip and Cathy making out.

We hiked back down after giving Skip and Cathy sufficient “alone time”.

The crew and the falls

Cathy heads out on the KTM to get some pictures.

Do you believe Aaron rode that crap on a KLR? Didn’t go down once, but somehow dislodged his license plate (luckily another rider happened across it, so he’ll save a trip to the DMV!)

I probably should have relaxed more instead of hiking. I think I may have been a bit fatigued from the ride in or just letting the climbs and spills get to me…because I was just dropping the bike left and right on the return trip. So many of them there was just -no- reason for it. I started to get really pissed off at myself.

We came to that big downhill I had been all bug-eyed about, but now it was time to go -up-. Since I had just dropped it on a climb half the size, Skip kindly escorted Zeb up the mountain while I hoofed it.

Thanks Skip!

Cathy does the hill (you can see Skip and Aaron’s bikes at the top already)

I don’t know what got into me, but in spite of pep talks from the group, I just wasn’t getting back in the groove. Finally I tried pep talking Zeb. I told him he was an awesome bike and I knew he could it. A little loco I know, but it worked!

We had a kickass time after that!

A little climb.

Skip crossing the river.

Zeb crossing the river.

It was a beautiful day to be riding! (This and a bunch of other pictures stolen from Cathy)

Thanks for taking me out guys and for helping me pick up my bike a million times! Even though I wasn’t planning to ride Chiva yet, I’m glad I know what I’m up against and I have a new obstacle to guage my skill level on (since Death in the Desert has been conquered). My next hard ride should be a re-ride of Sibley, but then I’ll be down for another Chiva attempt!

A couple good close-ups:

I found out afterward that Emerson’s kid was having a tough time too…and it was even caught on film!