We paused for a moment, as we always do, before starting up the Sweet Sixteen switchbacks. A tour guide and two guys got in front of us while we were standing there, so we gave them a few minutes before starting up. I told H that he'd catch them no problem. Hell, I caught them! It was at the second of the two switchbacks I am still unable to ride, a very rocky one that gave H a tumble once. The two guys were standing off to the side of the trail as I hiked my MTB up (their guide was out in the underbrush, taking a leak). One of the guys asked me if I was with "Portland." It took me a second to realize that H must have spoken to them and then I said yes, to which the guys replied that they were from Bangor, Maine, here for a banking conference. I grinned at them and remarked that it was tougher to ride so far above sea level and they both laughed, admitting that t hey were struggling with the altitude. I promised them that while they still had some climbing to do, the worst was behind them. And then I got back on my bike and showed them how it was done.
Making my way up #15 of sixteen
The trails were busier for the second half of our ride and there was a stiff headwind for the final grind up the paved bike path back to the truck. We knew we needed to get back to let Herbie out of his crate so we had our beers quickly in the parking lot and ate our sandwiches and snacks as we drove over Guardsman Pass (choked full of clueless people who thought it was okay to park in the middle of the road) back to home. When we let Herbie out, after nearly six hours in his crate, he was none the worse for wear and happy to take a 3+ mile walk with me. To top it all off, Real Salt Lake finally won a game that night - so it was a very good day all around.