New Jersey Trail Exploration with NoLifeLikeThisLife

I have to admit I was pretty stoked that JP agreed to come along on a ride with me. I’ve been following NoLifeLikeThisLife since it started and finding good company during the winter isn’t that easy. I promised closed roads coated in fresh powder, technical single track and all of it just across the Hudson. I pre rode a portion of the route the day before to make sure the snow covered roads and trails were ridable. The conditions were epic and the ride was destined to be rad.

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We met around 9am and it was much colder than we both expected. Low 20s? JP wore the wrong gloves and spent most of River Road trying to warm up. I was stoked to see that a day later my tire tracks were still the only ones in the snow. NYC your missing all the fun! JP added a layer of gloves at the Alpine Ranger Station and I produced some hand warmers from my Fanny Pack. Can I get a high five for a Fanny Pack filled with warm treats!

Next stop Ruckman Rd aka the gateway to all that is rad.

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JP and I both used to ride BMX which kinda gives us the ability to ride trails on CX bikes that most can’t or won't. Queue the #bmxersonroadbikes hashtag. We bombed the Red Ravine Trail down to Anderson Ave. Ice covered river crossings, single track dusted in snow, bunny hooping logs and navigating frozen rock gardens. I could tell that JP was stoked and at that moment I realized this ride was already a success.

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We took Wild Turkey up. Its a technical climb made up of snow covered switch backs and a couple sections that we had to hike. From the top of the climb there is a really fun section back to Ruckman featuring more frozen river crossings and rhythm sections of fallen trees. Back on Ruckman JP spotted a rad line. (see photo above)

Back onto the Ravine Trail we linked up with the Red Trail. Lots of rad lines. Scenic as hell. We kept a good pace and JP definitely pushed me to ride some lines I hadn’t. We ran into some Mountain Bikers and picked their brains. I fixed a flat. Talked to some more Mountain Bikers. We successfully navigated through the Single Track to Rockleigh Rd. What a high that was.

We navigated our way to The Market. Next time I am bringing my stove and cooking lunch on the trail. JP you down?

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At this point we had to decide how we wanted to get back to the GWB. I wanted to take the Shore Trail to the Alpine Boat Basin. I had done parts of it before and figured it would be the same. Ridable with some hike and bike sections here and there. JP was down. I was down. Right off the bat the trails were pretty sketchy. Lots of ice. Lots of rock gardens. We were walking in no time. There was a frozen Waterfall and a really steep set of stairs that lead us to the Trail head. It was pretty incredible. Again we were hiking in no time.

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The hiking turned into climbing and the climbing turned into crawling. We approached some some large snow covered boulders and as we begun to cross a hiker came around the corner. He strongly warned us that the hiking sections ahead were extremely dangerous. He pointed to the section we were climbing and said that this would be the easiest portion of our hike. I am not sure why we didn’t believe him. I am pretty sure we both thought in our heads that it couldn't get much worse. We were wrong.

The trail disappeared. There was no trail. Endless snow covered boulders as far as the eye could see. It was fucking infinite. This hike would have been challenging enough in hiking boots yet we were doing it in cycling shoes while carrying our bikes. Every time we thought we came to the end we were just confronted with more. I fell twice. Both times were scary. Both times I could have really injured myself. JP seemed to be doing alright. For the majority of the time I couldn’t even see him. At one point I freaked out. I had just fallen. I was bonking. I yelled for JP to wait. At that moment I even considered ditching my bike and continuing the climb without it. I hit rock bottom.

Where is the fucking trail!

After over an hour of climbing on snow covered boulders we had our sights on the trail! What a moral boost it was. Nothing else mattered. Just get me off these fucking boulders.

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I now know the section of the trail we Hike and Biked is called the Giant Stairs and is made up of a boulder field created by several thousands years of rockslides. What the fuck! I found an article about it here.

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I can’t really describe what it felt like reaching the trail. Weightless? Relieved? Mad? Sad? Happy?

At this point we were both out of gas and no amount of Gels or Bars could change that. We dug deep to get back on the trail. At this point the goal was to just make it back onto familiar roads. Again a huge relief once we got to the Alpine Boat Basin. Home free. Home fucking free.

The sun begun to set as we made our way to the George Washington Bridge. This was the first time I met JP Bevins. Broken in the best possible way.

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Check out JP's write up of our adventure on NoLifeLikeThisLife!