“We want to send you on some kind of mountain bike adventure.”

Something along those lines were the words that Evan from Mission Workshop said to me three or four months ago. Enthusiastically I agreed and had visions of endlessly flowing singletrack while artisanally made cocktails were served to me at day’s end.
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As the weeks and months passed, the story of what we would attempt developed.

The plan was to traverse a 120 mile long stretch of singletrack through the Siskiyou Mountains of the State of Jefferson, which sits in the far reaches of Northern California.

It should also be noted that there wasn’t clear intel on whether or not this length of trail was passable, but at the outset most signs pointed to ‘probably’.

The members of the team were picked, and an assortment of emails between us were shared as we went about planning what was either going to be the best trip of our lives, or a complete nightmare.

As it turns out, it dipped its toes in both ends of the spectrum.

For the sake of conciseness, I’ll break the trip down thusly- We were dispatched to engage in an epic adventure, while giving Mission’s new line Acre Supply a punch in the wazoo to see how it fared. Then between illustrator extraordinaire, Chris McNally, and photo documentator DWP from Yonder Journal, with Mission’s backing we would combine our skill sets to release a finished project detailing our little trip.

We all met up, made final adjustments to our gear, and set fourth on what very possibly was one of the most physically, and mentally challenging five days of my life. The extreme contradictions of the trip were at times almost too much to take. Absolutely breathtaking vistas, sleeping under the stars, and the camaraderie of friends, countered with numerous wrong turns, endless uphill slogs, repeated mechanicals and days spent spun out of our heads while a quiet desperation wore us down.

On one hand, there we were in the middle of hundreds of square miles of nothing but rugged wilderness riding barely existing trails that have most likely never seen the tires of a mountain bike, but then later would find ourselves lost in a hopeless maze of thick Manzinita and thorn bushes, wondering if this was the point when we would have to abandon our bikes and search out help by foot.

The final day found us walking our bikes for fourteen and a half hours across two individual mountain ranges which may have held a trail at one point, but certainly doesn’t now.

The dichotomy of our daily existence left me feeling as if I were constantly in a drunken haze, which I only later realized was the effects of adrenaline, exhaustion and probably a pinch or two of fear.

There was genuine joy and excitement as well as profound frustration and distress that was shared between us. Certainly a trip of a lifetime and as it grows smaller in my mind’s rearview mirror, an experience that I both wouldn’t trade for anything in the world, and simultaneously would never want to do again.
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When everything has been said and done however, we all emerged from the other side in one or two pieces with solid bonds and stories that we own forever, which nobody could possibly believe.

… And I suppose at the end of the day, that’s at least one primary pillar on which adventure is built anyway.
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28 Responses to ““We want to send you on some kind of mountain bike adventure.””

  1. pedalman October 21, 2013 at 4:51 am #

    The scream leaf is awesome!

  2. Larry Grossman October 21, 2013 at 6:50 am #

    where are the pictures of people having fun? Thanks for the warning.

  3. Harold Holdren October 21, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    That leaf is rad.
    That SLX crankset is uhhh…

    Helluva ride though, that landscape is amazing.

  4. Sue Kinevil October 21, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    MOM is WOW upside down. I don’t know where in the hell you came from but I am so proud that you’re mine and so grateful that you survived your absolutely amazing adventure!

    • jdg October 21, 2013 at 9:17 am #

      mom upside down is dads favorite thing

      • reverend dick October 23, 2013 at 7:57 am #

        Wow. jdg, you have no shame- and it is awesome. I laughed out loud.

        2 things. 1) that poor sap on the split gripped hobo Hoo Koo E Koo? Heroic bad decision making. B) the middle c-ring swap to allow shifting is a real smart move. Nice one!

        Steve, your trip sucked.

  5. Josh RVA October 21, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Damn that really is epic.

  6. Joe Dirt October 21, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    This was a great series of pics. The last one reminds me of myself at the end of a mere 2 day bikepack in AZ when I could barely make it uphill back to the car where I knew cold chocolate milk awaited me. Once I got there I had to fight the urge to chug it lest I nostril vomit it back up

  7. Loudass, Esq. October 21, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    Just be glad it didn’t snow on you. Our fishing guide’s father-in-law went hunting up in them mountains last fall, and they found him a few weeks later looking like Jack Torrance in the maze…

    • Stevil October 21, 2013 at 9:12 am #

      Believe me, I’m well aware that things could have been far, far worse. In the grand scheme of what could have happened, our experience was a walk in the park.

      • Double D All-Time October 21, 2013 at 9:43 am #

        Good ‘ol JB can fix anything in a pinch. As long as there’s a knife, a beer can and some zip ties, that man can put it back together. He’s also a badass drummer, bass player, and artist; I’m sure you two have talked art and you already know that. His drawings are the shit. Cheers.

    • Latarian October 22, 2013 at 7:27 am #

      All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

  8. Double D All-Time October 21, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    In addition to others yahoos, you got to hang with Jon Bailey!? Dang, I am jealous. With DWP on board, I’m sure there was no shortage of laughter.

    • Stevil October 21, 2013 at 9:37 am #

      JB and Dave are modern day Grizzled Adams. Saviors and gentlemen.

  9. kimbrolio October 21, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    Holy shit I’m zip tying Starbursts to all my bikes now.

  10. hans October 21, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    damn good adventure! epic.

  11. Morgan Fletcher October 21, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    Hey, read _Two Wheels North_, if you haven’t already.

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1665460.Two_Wheels_North

    • d*pow October 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

      great book

  12. dolface October 21, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Oh man, that looks so fun! (There’s a whole sport called Adventure Racing that’s based on this kind of thing).

  13. El Gato October 21, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Something is wrong with your camera, as it didn’t appear to decapitate any of the people photographed. Also, was any cannibalism involved?

  14. Jay Afflexx October 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    I regularly wear my AHTBM socks for 8 to 10 days straight and they have never done that to my shins and ankles. Thank gawd you didn’t need them for emergency TP.

  15. Pistol Pete October 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    Them’s some tough hills.Jefferson’ll hand you yer ass,if ya let it.Trinity Alps an’ the Siskiyous are for grownups.Loads o’ fun,if yer idea of fun ain’t fun…

  16. Hoss October 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    Excellent post. Batman dong… Zap, boom, pow.

    • bikenerd October 21, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

      The correct exclamatory for Batman dong is ‘Splat!’

  17. Colin M October 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

    At first I read 14.5 hours and struggled with why…then I saw the photo of Bailey…and it all made sense. He and Doom do some nutty nutty stuff.

    Nice to be a visitor to crazy town. Be glad you aren’t a permanent resident.

  18. sparklemotion October 22, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Reminds me of when i went on a 3 day backpacking trip with only a Ziploc bag containing cheese its and vicodin for sustenance. Good times

  19. gene o October 30, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    I still can’t believe you crushed it on the Hairnet Ride 24 hours after your return.
    MAN

  20. Caroline June 7, 2015 at 12:50 am #

    Looks “fun!”