Comfing. Some people get it and some don’t, but when people call from Georgia asking about it, you know at least it’s a thing. When the idea was originally pitched by Judd, there was always one ride in particular that was required for this craze. And that ride was the Goose. I mean take a bunch of bikes designed to cruise around bike paths and ride them on one of the hardest trails in Southern Utah. What could possibly go wrong? The truth is, not much.
It took a few months to get it planned and we weren’t quite able to coordinate a day that everyone that wanted to go could (sorry Tyan), but most of us were available on October 2nd. The weather looked good. We had the bikes. It was a go. We all met up at the shop, there were even a couple of non-comfers that came along to witness the spectacle, and off we went in search of new challenges.
Our plan was to hit the Practice Loop and head up the North Rim and if no one was dead and the bikes weren’t broken, we would then continue down the South Rim hopefully making it to the trail head with lots of pictures and stories to share with those who didn’t make it or maybe don’t quite get it.
Even though we had ridden the bikes pretty extensively off road prior to our Gooseberry trip, there was still plenty of trepidation felt by the group. Riding the Goose is not like riding most trails. There is a slightly different skill set required to make it up and down the steeps. These bikes have abnormally low (for a mountain bike) bottom brackets which makes pedal strikes much more likely. As we left the trailhead, there was some nervousness for sure, but it only took us about 20 minutes to find the balancing points, the right pedal speed and the gear to make it all possible. Pretty soon the only sounds were giggles and chain slap.
Stuff that Happened
At some point, Scott broke the plastic pant protector on his cranks. It’s pretty obvious why, but not quite as obvious as to how we didn’t notice it when it happened. You would think that slamming your cranks into something and having plastic go flying off would be something that you would remember, or at a minimum, notice. Yet, no one knows when or exactly how it happened. If you find about 1/4 of a pant protector somewhere along the trail, will you please pick it up for us. We are sorry for our litter, but please know it was unintentional.
Not only did we make it up the North Rim, we even comfed our way right out as far as we could go and had our snacks at the point. It was at this moment that Joey turned his perfectly good backpack into a “fanny pack.” He said it was super comfortable and kept the weight off his back. I’m not sure that I believe him but it was a notable decision for sure.
Another mystery is the shotgun like wound that he suffered somewhere along the trail. No one heard the blast, but he came up to the group with dust all over him and blood running into his shoes. He said that he was just going off some jumps and next thing he knew some unknown force pushed him over and he went skidding down the dirt road. If you happen to find the pant protector, the shotgun Joey was hit with might be close by so be careful.
After getting comfortable with our bikes, the normal pedaling that we describe as Riding the Goose became to be the norm. There were people going up things, people going down things, cheering and lots of people saying, “Hold my beer and watch this.”
The South Rim is tough and riding it on a rigid bike designed for boardwalks and easy spins on bike paths does not make it any easier. Did we ride it? Yes. Yes, we did. Did it hurt? Yes. Yes it did. We passed the Hidden Canyon, then we passed the dirt road, and then we passed the next bail out. We made it almost all the way back to the trucks before we had had enough Goose riding. In fact, most of us felt that the Goose had been riding us the whole time. Our arms were tired. Our wrists were sore and there were snacks and cold beverages at the truck.
Even after all the jokes about the bikes being on Craigslist the next day, everyone had a blast. We didn’t break anything and we will most likely do it again. Soon? Maybe not soon, but definitely again.