For the last two years, a group of pro racers, pro backcountry riders, some industry faces and a redneck from the shadows of the Grand Teton have gotten together for a summer sendoff ride in the mountains east of Afton, Wyoming.
Because of the competitive nature of most of the guys on this ride, the action gets almost as intense as the trash talk. I go along to take pictures, but really all I'm interested in is getting guys like RMSHA pro racer Rob Kincaid riled up about something and listening to the string of one-liners that ensues.
This year's ride took place over June 30 and July 1. The snow was fairly rotten and littered with dirt, water blowouts and trenches, but it was still deep. Maybe 5 to 6 feet in some areas. Aside from a few dry spots just after where we left the herd of pickups, we never ran into dirt on the mountain.
But that doesn't mean we didn't run out of entertainment. Tony Jenkins snapped a steering post on his M8, which nearly sent the sled tumbling off the mountain side. He and Kincaid rode two-up for a while after, which set the table for Kincaid's "Sit down and shut up" theme for the rest of the day.
David McClure bent the rails on a sled from jumping it. He kindly came down and parked next to Kincaid, got off and said to Kincaid "Here, you can ride it for a while now," as he walked to Kincaid's sled and took off again.
Bret Rasmussen dropped into a very tight, steep drainage and did a dead-on impression of a Jamaican bobsled run gone wrong.
Geoff "Phatty"Dyer jumped uphill over an exposed cliff band, giving his sled's rear suspension a chance to blow all its shock seals.
I even had a mishap of my own, coming over a ridge that ended in dirt and trees. The sled tossed me over the hood like a monkey throwing poop and then endoed, tapping me on the helmet with the same tenderness as a sledgehammer hitting a fence post.
Anyway, we made it out alive, though in three separate groups and partially after sunset. You can check out photos and comments from the ride on the SnoWest forums
(follow this link: http://www.snowestonline.com/forum/showthread.php?t=271455).