OMG. I'm moving to Salida. Cute little town with funky houses and epic riding. After a shitty night of still trying to lose the headache and searching the house to find bedding for the pull-out couch (I'm the oldest here and they put me on the couch?) I awake to a glorious morning and make a strong coffee and sit on the veranda and try and decide what to wear.

Yeah, I want to go riding but this is quite nice too.

Party central for the next three nights.

The plan today was to drive up to the start of Monarch Crest trail with a whole lot of arsing about with our two rental SUV's trying to see who has the most logical brain so we can self shuttle ourselves (we end up hitchhiking).

Stefan and Jeff look the most inoffensive so they get chosen to hitchhike.

The ride up and along Monarch Crest should be a gentle climb with stunning views. And it was. The problem was the elevation. 3647 metres. Thats pretty much the same as Mt. Cook. We had to take it real easy as any added exertion, even talking, threw our lungs into spasms and I'm sure I now know what the onset of a heart attack feels like. After about an hour we turned off to descend 1000 metres down Fooses track. No ups, all down, fast flowing trail with plenty of boulders to boost off.

Looking back down Monarch Crest trail as the lads head on up.

James only rides about twice a month and he schooled me on the climbs. I don't like James very much. Monarch Crest.

Hey wait up. I'm me some respect you guys. Bastards! Monarch Crest.

Jeff Carter was 41 yesterday. Feeling very old he was having a few concerns re his prostate. Welcome to old age buddy. About to head down Fooses.

I think I can see Mt. Cook down there.

Tim railing the swooping bends. Looks mint. Goddamn it was cold. We couldn't feel our braking fingers. Dry and dusty but must have been about 2 degrees.

He may be 41 and a day, but Jeff Carter is one styling mofo.

Stefan looking casual rolling the rock.

I try a manual off the rock, land hard and flip over the bars. I need to tone it down a little.

What a phenomenal trail Fooses is. So with more faffinf around we managed to get ourselves back to Monarch Crest trail head again for round 2. This time we would go a mile or so further then turn off down Greens Creek, my new favourite trail in the whole world.

Simon cruising Monarch Crest the second time round.

This time round the light is better. I love blue mountain depth shots.

My new BFF. Not Stefan, the trail fools. Stefan wore a hanky on his head most of the day, so he's now in the B team as far as I'm concerned.

Jeff can pop off anything with style. I don't like Jeff much anymore either.

I was pinning it trying to get ahead of the boys so I could snapo some pics and went into this ice patch at full noise. My Incredible bike handling skills kept me upright. I had to stop and warn the chaps...or not? Common sense prevailed. James comes in less than hot after a warning call from therodfather. Tim braking hard to avoid rear ending James

Nearly 1000 metres of this. Jeff rides it like he owns it. The rest of the lads wanted to keep rolling so Jeff and I tag teamed photo shoots the rest of the way down.

No kitchen sink in my backpack to hold me down. Bumbags rule.

Beaver dam. Wicked.

It was getting dark so we should have played it safe but the trail just got faster and littered with rocks to pop off, so we made motor boat noises and raced enduro style to the end. Jeff Carter.

Soooo much fun. Jeff double Scandi flicks a chicane.

James decided to ride into a big rock. chin up bud.

Road tripping the USA sucks.

When in Rome....Straight off the mountain and into the pizzeria.

My God, we're all knackered. Five hours in the saddle, 2000M of descending. Two crashes, one puncture, six big assed grins. See you all tomorrow, as we head back up to Monarch Crest, but drop down the other side of the ridge to tackle the toughest trail in town.