Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Return of Freund Canyon (Rückkehr der Freund Schlucht)

.. was the name of last Sunday's Cascades Mountain Bikers Meetup. For me, first time there. Following on my previous post, Sunday morning found me in the worst allergized state ever. Equipped with steroid inhalers and an Epi-pen, I decided to drive almost three hours to Leavenworth, WA to join a group who knew the trails. The drive over the Cascades is always interesting. Overcast in Seattle, drizzle and then a dense fog and 40 degrees F at Stevens Pass, then popping out of the weather on the sunny side into a warm sunshine, green meadows, raging rivers and waterfalls, the drive did not seem that long.
Freund Canyon is a one-way loop consisting of an almost 5 mile climb on a superbly smooth singletrack, followed by 3.5 miles of downhill on bermed, twisty, narrow trail with water bars and other kind of jumps. Throw in three wet creek crossings and you have a perfect MTB track.

The elevation gain is just under 2000 feet and there are some views along the way up that make the long drive worth (almost leaven-worth!).

The downhill part requires a lowered saddle, aggressive leaning into turns, jumping the small jumps and pumping the big ones to avoid catching too much air. Twenty minute of this much body English beat me up more that the hour long climb. Of course I was the last one down the hill, but I was game to do it all noch einmal.

 Since I left my car in town, I could loosen up my neck and arms by leisurely pedaling three miles into Leavenworth. This town is interesting (you can google it), I found it both hilarious, as sort of an American joke about all things Bavarian, and nice. For instance, I bought couple of loaves of perfect European bread and pastries so good they would beat the Bavarian originals.

And the best thing about this village is: there are no Germans! (Aufrichtige Entschuldigungen zu unseren europäischen Nachbarn).

And with Green Day blasting "Auf Achse" through the car stereo, I was on the way home after a long day. All allergy symptoms gone, my legs felt fresh and my head clear. GPS track here.

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