May 20, 2003

Burma Road

I recently had another spectacular weekend at Smith Rock.


I spent most of my time mountain biking since I was the only beginner climber in the group and have been needing to get on my bike for a while now. I watched Lisa and our friends climb quite a bit too. One of them almost redpointed a 5-14 route! Mountain biking in the desert is quite different than riding in rainforests of western Washington/Oregon. I kept feeling like I was going to fly off the side of the trail and perhaps over a cliff because there were no trees lining the path.

Smith singletrack.jpg

The ride was basically up and then down. The "up" part consisted of a horrific three-mile climb of pain up the aptly named Burma Road.

Burma Road.jpg

I wasn't too upset about the climb since a couple other molecular biology grad students and I are in the process of training for a half-marathon, so I need every workout I can get. After climbing the Burma Road, I decided to climb even more in order to get to the top of the tallest geographical feature in the area. The trail to the top of the peak was horrendously steep however, as well as covered in large loose rocks so I ended up pushing the bike to the top of the hill.

Steep trail.jpg

The view at the top of the hill was pretty damn nice. It was even better the next day I climbed it, but I didn't take a picture on that day (oops).

Smith View.jpg

Since I was riding alone, I attempted to use the timer on my cheap digital camera to take a self portrait on the top of the peak, but the results were a bit questionable.


The ride back down was pretty intense. It involved a lot of fishtailing and praying that my front tire wouldn't wash out. At the bottom of the hill when I had come all the way down, my disk brakes smelled kind of funny. They are definitely broken-in now. Soon, my name will be "Mr. Nose-Wheelie", or perhaps (and more likely) "Mr. Painful Endo as a Result of an Attempted Nose-Wheelie".

In other news, I have decided on a lab for my Ph.D. research. Starting this summer, I will be working in the Johnson lab. I will probably be doing all kinds of wacky genomic/proteomic experiments involving exposing fruit flies to esoteric stresses. I am also going to be a part of the first ChIP-Chip experiments done on a “real” eukaryotic organism (i.e. something other than yeast).

Posted by doug at May 20, 2003 07:15 PM

i like the composition in the last picture. i also like the looks of that river. goddammit it is so hot here i want to jump in a river.

Posted by: michele at May 20, 2003 07:37 PM

What's redpointing?
Good lord. That climb makes my lungs bleed just looking at it.
There are a total of three mountain bixxors in my class (including me), and so far we've been wusses. We're possibly going to go climb Mt. Diablo in a few weeks, though. My vote, of course, is to park one car at the bottom, use another car to drive the bikes to the top, and then bomb down as fast as we can.

Posted by: Jacob at May 20, 2003 08:18 PM

By the way, did you get my email re: my brother?

Also, congrats on choosing the lab! When does it become official?

Posted by: Jacob at May 20, 2003 08:33 PM

I am not very well versed in climbing lingo, but I am pretty sure that "redpointing" consists of lead-climbing a route (putting up the rope and quick draws) from the bottom to the top without falling.
Yes I got your brother-related email. I hope my advice was somewhat helpful.
The lab choice won't be official until the first week of June, but I have discussed it with the PI's I have rotated with and they are all cool with it.
Shuttling this Mt. Diablo ride you speak of sounds like a good idea. I met up with a crew of riders on the top of the climb at Smith that had shuttled and they looked quite a bit less exhausted than I must have. If you are ever in Springfield with your mountin bike, there is a spectacular ride nearby that we could shuttle: the McKenzie River trail. 26 miles of descending through old-growth forests and lava fields-oh yeah...

Posted by: Doug at May 21, 2003 12:20 PM

That sounds like an incredible amount of fun, and I believe that it has the popular vote.

Posted by: Jacob at May 21, 2003 04:40 PM