Rays down

I, in true fashion showed up to meetthe guys almost 45 minutes late. That was after waking up exactly at the time that we were to be on the road. I think the feeling of the day erased any bad blood these guys had for me, or maybe they are just really good at hiding it. The trip out was a great bonding experience of 5 guys just shooting the bull about life, riding, and talking smack on the guy that put this all together.

We stopped for Subway where the ladies thought we were all from Mars due to our “crazy” hoagies we made. Listen here lady…if you try to put shredded cheese on a turkey hoagie, then you are the strange one. Cut me a break.

With some subway fuel we were on our way to Rays. We saw the steam tower in the distance and I was so excited I wanted to just jump out and run in the front door.

When I breached the door to this glorious warehouse, I knew it felt like home. The smell of chain lube, tires, sweaty folks, and the cold damp crispness of the factory air greeted us as we walked through the door. We signed our waivers, got changed in to our riding gear and were hitting the plywood jungle. I tore right into the beginner loop, while some of the others headed right for the tough stuff. My plan was to ride that stuff until I was ready to step it up to head to the other rooms of the warehouse.

 Over the last six or so hours I have grown so much as a cyclist. This place is great for training, skill building and confidence. For those of you who may think that you can only be a dirt jumper to enjoy this place are sorely mistaken. I have been riding a 29er xc bike with clipless peddals and the seat at normal height for the entire day and never felt that I was limited by my equipment. There are a bunch of different types of bikes and riders here. I rode with a guy on carbon Jamis 29er, my pals are all riding street/dirt rigs, and there were two Ibis full suspension bikes here. There are a ton of kids and BMXers that are hanging around the place as well, but we still feel like we have the place to ourselves.

This place is covered in sponsorship material, but done very tastefully. The shop guys are great, and invited me back to work on a friends wheel that was busted. The one thing I have noticed about it besides the great layout and amazing riding is that stuff like parts and equipment is being sold at just above cost. This is so far from being like a ski resort where you are captive and they know that, so they gouge you. This is quite the opposite. It is all about riding and that is it. Maybe on busier days the vibe is different, but so far, so good. I am writing this on a computer that is in one of the lounges surrounded by ramps and folks riding and hanging out all over.

Ok….Off to ride for a bit and then time for some stake and shake! Tons of pictures later!

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