Paul Andrews

Archive for the ‘Trail Access’ Category

It’s gonna blow!

In Mountain Biking, News Cycle, Trail Access on January 17, 2010 at 12:06 am

Guess we won't be hitting the trails soon...

From an alert issued by the California State Parks System… I was riding in Arastradero today and the rangers were all over, battening down the hatches. “Don’t expect much in the way of riding weather through the end of the month,” one told me.

We at Bike Intelligencer ride when sane mortals rest. But this one looks ugly indeed. For weeks I’ve been reading Robb’s sobs (at MTB198) ‘n tweets about sloppy weather, and I’ve been getting mail from cohorts in the Northwest that things are “drippy,” a Seattle euphemism for “aquatic.”

Now I guess it’s our turn to suffer in Cali.

Here’s the alert:

“Currently, the strong El Nino is reaching its peak in the Eastern Pacific, and now finally appears to be exerting an influence on our weather. The strong jet has been apparent for quite some time out over the open water, but the persistent block had prevented it from reaching the coast. Now that the block has dissolved completely, a 200+ kt [this means approximately 230 miles per hour] jet is barreling towards us. Multiple large and powerful storm systems are expected to slam into CA from the west and northwest over the coming two weeks, all riding this extremely powerful jet stream directly into the state.

The jet will itself provide tremendous dynamic lift, in addition to directing numerous disturbances right at the state and supplying them with an ample oceanic moisture source. The jet will be at quite a low latitude over much of the Pacific, so these storms will be quite cold, at least initially. Very heavy rainfall and strong to potentially very strong winds will impact the lower elevations beginning late Sunday and continuing through at least the following Sunday. This will be the case for the entire state, from (and south of) the Mexican border all the way up to Oregon. Above 3000-4000 feet, precipitation will be all snow, and since temperatures will be unusually cold for a precipitation event of this magnitude, a truly prodigious amount of snowfall is likely to occur in the mountains, possibly measured in the tens of feet in the Sierra after it’s all said and done.

But there’s a big and rather threatening caveat to that (discussed below). Individual storm events are going to be hard to time for at least few more days, since this jet is just about as powerful as they come (on this planet, anyway). Between this Sunday and the following Sunday, I expect categorical statewide rainfall totals in excess of 3-4 inches. That is likely to be a huge underestimate for most areas. Much of NorCal is likely to see 5-10 inches in the lowlands, with 10-20 inches in orographically-favored areas. Most of SoCal will see 3-6 inches at lower elevations, with perhaps triple that amount in favored areas.

This is where things get even more interesting, though. The models are virtually unanimous in “reloading” the powerful jet stream and forming an additional persistent kink 2000-3000 miles to our southwest after next Sunday. This is a truly ominous pattern, because it implies the potential for a strong Pineapple-type connection to develop. Indeed, the 12z GFS now shows copious warm rains falling between days 12 and 16 across the entire state. Normally, such as scenario out beyond day seven would be dubious at best. Since the models are in such truly remarkable agreement, however, and because of the extremely high potential impact of such an event, it’s worth mentioning now. Since there will be a massive volume of freshly-fallen snow (even at relatively low elevations between 3000-5000 feet), even a moderately warm storm event would cause very serious flooding. This situation will have to monitored closely. Even if the tropical connection does not develop, expected rains in the coming 7-10 days will likely be sufficient to cause flooding in and of themselves (even in spite of dry antecedent conditions).

In addition to very heavy precipitation, powerful winds may result from very steep pressure gradients associated with the large and deep low pressure centers expected to begin approaching the coast by early next week. Though it’s not clear at the moment just how powerful these winds may be, there is certainly the potential for a widespread damaging wind event at some point, and the high Sierra peaks are likely to see gusts in the 100-200 mph range (since the 200kt jet at 200-300 mb will essentially run directly into the mountains at some point). The details of this will have to be hashed out as the event(s) draw closer.

In short, the next 2-3 weeks (at least) are likely to be more active across California than any other 2-3 week period in recent memory. The potential exists for a dangerous flood scenario to arise at some point during this interval, especially with the possibility of a heavy rain-on-snow event during late week 2. In some parts of Southern California, a whole season’s worth of rain could fall over the course of 5-10 days. This is likely to be a rather memorable event. Stay tuned.”

News Cycle: Seattle mayor bikes to presscon, Galby ramps up, Bike safety stickers, Toll workaround & more

In Bicycle advocacy, Mountain Biking, News Cycle, Obama Bikes, Trail Access on January 15, 2010 at 9:02 am

Mike Bikes! to press conference

You have to love this: Newly elected Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn riding his bike to a press conference. Thanks to BikeHugger for the pix. When we wondered last August whether Seattle could get a mayor “who actually rides,” we were expressing more hope than expectation. Now it’s breakthrough reality. Images like this do wonders to advance the cause. Our full mayoral-bike thread here.

Toll avoidance maneuver: “Bicycle enthusiasts and certain tourists who use the Ohio Turnpike are paying up to 75 percent more in tolls thanks to a change in vehicle classification that took effect toward the end of last year.” As I tweeted to BikingBis, here’s the drill: “Arrive toll booth, get out of car, get bike down, ride past toll booth, back to car, drive thru, put bike back on rack, drive on.”

Pedal Pusher Club's Bicycle Safe Vehicle

The Freeride Revolution continues apace. Up on Galbraith Mountain, not content with the region’s bestination (south of the border), they’re taking Galby to new heights with work on Luge, Upper Mullet and other hot spots. Thanks to WHIMPS, EB, Fanatik Bikes and everyone for giving us a 2010 season to top them all!

Kudos to Cascade Bicycle Club in Seattle for birddogging the bikes-on-bus at any stop in downtown free ride area.

Downieville Classic will be July 9 through 11. Note the reference to “mental hardship”…there was talk of abandoning Downieville because of hassles from locals and the Forest Service. Sounds like nerves are still a bit frayed but at least The Big Dawg is on!!

Momentum: New Bicycle Safe Stickers from Pedal Pushers Club now available!

News Cycle: Bike laws, Ghost bikers in the sky, XC at 70, Sea Otter Buzz Beginneth

In Mountain Biking, News Cycle, Trail Access on January 10, 2010 at 2:01 am

Indianapolis has a set of new bike laws, including 3-feet-please. Florida law says bikes get the whole friggin’ lane, thank you very much! Now if we could just get that “vulnerable user” legislation passed in the Washington State legislature.

Have you checked out the Ghost Bikes Film project’s blog? Cool stuff…

Guy turns 70, decides it’s time he rode across the country.

Yeah, it’s January. It’s in the 30s and 40s out there, and mud everywhere. It’s another three and a half months till the Sea Otter Classic April 15-18 outside of sunny Monterey, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to build the buzz.

Here’s a worthy cause that’ll etch you or your message in posterity. Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance is selling engraved tiles for a facade outside Duthie Hill mountain biking park near Issaquah. Funds go to paying for all the great work at the park. More on the Evergreen site.

The Black Diamond Freeride Revolution

In Mountain Bike Trail Reviews, Mountain Biking, Trail Access on January 8, 2010 at 2:40 am

It’s funny how these things happen. The small southeastern King County town of Black Diamond was originally named after the nickname for coal. Coal mining brought big bucks and lots of people to Black Diamond in its heyday a century ago, a phenomenon commemorated by a coal car on rails at the town limits.

A memento of glory years past

Commemorative coal car at the outskirts of town

The term has far different connotations for the phenomenon transforming Black Diamond today. In extreme sports parlance, “black diamond” is a trail designation meaning, “Watch out!” It’s a measurement of degree of difficulty, an alert for skill requirement. For bike riders, “black diamond” trails mean steepness, rocks, drops and other challenges lie ahead: Ride at your own risk!

Today Black Diamond is where the lexicon and the phenom merge. While no one is going to mistake its swoopy flatland trails for Whistler or Kamloops, the area is sporting a growing matrix of increasingly challenging rides. At Summit Ridge they’re putting together a signature mountain bike freeride park, with structures, jumps and other cool stuff.

But they need your help, and here’s your chance. Beginning 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23rd, two weeks from now, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Black Diamond Bike shop and local riders will host a day-long work party and fundraiser to build on what’s already shaping up as a prime destination for Seattle-area mountain bikers. Walter Yi will be there to add to his killer video collection, and the Facebook tribe currently numbering 330 will be well-represented.

It’s all happened pretty suddenly. But that’s just a reflection of the pent-up demand for this stuff. Freeride parks are starting to explode all over. Witness the reception to Duthie Hill, which in just a few months has come from an idea to a whiteboard to a full-blown case study in how to get things done at the local level. Galbraith Mountain continues to evolve to world-class stature, and great expectations are in store for the forthcoming Stevens Pass mountain bike park.

Last winter Jim Lyon introduced me to the Sawyer Lake network just outside of Black Diamond and we immediately saw the huge potential for the place. Some rudimentary structures had fallen into disrepair, including a wild teeter-launch combo, and trails were getting overgrown from neglect. Still, the trailheads were never empty of vehicles with bike racks, and on any given weekend you’d run into lots of locals out thrashing the trails. There’s not a lot of climbing in this area, but there’s great draining and the trails do go up and down and make you work. For winter riding it’s one of the few places you can count on not to turn to mush.

With Summit Ridge, the Black Diamond area is taking the next big step to stardom. But it isn’t just about serving the riding community. Freeride parks provide a great positive outlet for kidz, a gathering spot where good things happen, where sports and fitness blot out less attractive pursuits, and where generations intersect in a common purpose and setting.

Plus — business leaders listen up. Parks draw. Duthie Hill’s once-spacious and underused parking lot already has expansion challenges from unexpectedly huge popularity. Freeriders eat and party and visit local attractions just like normal people. If you’re looking for a shot in the arm for local commerce, you’ll want to welcome the mountain biking crowd with open arms. Back in the day, when I was a suburban reporter for The Seattle Times, I used to drop into the Black Diamond bakery for oven-baked bread unlike anything you could find anywhere. The bakery is still there, it’s bigger and better, and it’s a perfect post-ride hangout.

So mark your calendars, bring your trail gear and generosity, come on out on the 23rd and join the revolution!

Summit Ridge Freeride Park links:

Take the survey to let the city know!

Walter Yi’s rockin’ video.

Facebook page.

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance page.

Event flyer.

Tiger Mountain trail closed for year

In Bicycle advocacy, Mountain Biking, Tiger Mountain, Trail Access on September 9, 2009 at 7:07 am

They’re back logging again on Tiger Mountain, which this time means that the Northwest Timber Trail is closed for the year.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. The logging was not supposed to start till after Oct. 15, the beginning of the trail’s seasonal closure (till April 15). But with the economy improving and price of lumber expected to rise, the timber folks wanted to roll early, so we’re shut down six weeks too soon.


On the bright side, the hope is that the early start will mean an early end, and NWTT will reopen on schedule April 15th. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

A more pressing concern is that the logging will just seriously trash the trail for years to come. We reported earlier how crews installed a culvert emptying right onto the trail. With acres of logging consuming the trail over this winter, we have little hope that the NWTT we’ve grown to know and love will survive in anything close to its former self.

It needs to be reasserted that yes, we understand, Tiger Mountain is a “working forest,” raising funds for the state’s schoolchildren. That part we don’t mind.

But with miles of trails unavailable to mountain bikers on Tiger, we renew our plea for authorities — when closing one trail to bikes — to open another.

Last week’s closure marks the fourth year in a row that a section of Tiger trail open to mountain bikers has been shut down, with no counterbalancing trail opened up.

Opening Tiger Mountain Trail, a barely used southern exposure hiking trail that is hands down more suitable to biking than hiking, would give mountain bikers a nice alternative while a significant chunk of biking trail is closed.

Bike Intelligencer also resoundingly supports efforts to build new bike trails on Tiger. We dream of the day when you can ride a full singletrack loop without ever touching fire road.

For more background, see the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance chronology.

Daily Roundup: Critical mass, protecting Kettle Crest for mountain bikes, Bicycle film fest

In Bicycle advocacy, Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking, Trail Access on September 5, 2009 at 12:47 am
Trail-maintenance squadron at Kettle Crest

Trail-maintenance squadron at Kettle Crest

BikeHugger has video of the West Seattle Bridge Critical Mass, riding one of the busier elevated roadways in Seattle. Police escort helped prevent incidents.

Tim Banning reports on regarding the 2009 Kettle Crest Advocacy Fest, aimed at protecting a prime singletrack haven in eastern Washington from being turned into wilderness. Keep an eye on this one, it will be one the nation’s flashpoints for efforts to maintain bike access to spectacular remote scenic areas.

“The Kettle Crest trail system is rugged, vast and mountainous, where the quality of riding is only surpassed by the variety of sub-alpine ecosystems and epic sweeping views. It is a premier trail system in that it is a non-motorized area chock full of singletrack goodness set in an epic backcountry setting. Unfortunately, mountain bikers may lose the area because it is under review for possible Wilderness Designation, which would eliminate mountain bikes from trails the area.”

The Bicycle Film Festival hits Seattle on Friday and Saturday. Looks like it’s all roadie (there’s a BMX feature) but hey, it’s two wheels all the same, all the time.

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance: Issues and bikes get full airing at Duthie

In Bicycle advocacy, Mountain Biking, Obama Bikes, Trail Access, Videos on September 2, 2009 at 11:26 am
Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance members gather at Duthie HIll clearing

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance members gather at Duthie HIll clearing

The good, the bad and the better all got plenty of air time last night at perhaps the biggest communal gathering ever of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance at Duthie Hill, which by the way is coming along nicely as a miniature Whistler mountain bike park in the Issaquah highlands.

Upwards of 100 folks turned out to ride the loops, the logs and the structures, then talk about where Evergreen is headed as an organization. Aiming for greater professionalism and an advocacy seat at the table of recreational parks, forest and urban planning in the Puget Sound region, Evergreen found itself being second-guessed by longtime members used to a less formalized and more social agenda. Yesterday’s “Town Hall” was an attempt to clear the air a bit and set goals for the alliance’s future direction.

After opening remarks by Jon Kennedy, program and communications director, and Jennifer Lesher, president, the gathering broke “World Cafe” style into groups of seven to 10 persons for discussion. Each group had a leader with a broadsheet to document what the alliance is doing right, what it’s doing wrong, and how it could improve.

Jon Kennedy and Jennifer Lesher welcoming everyone

Jon Kennedy and Jennifer Lesher welcoming everyone

Although barbecues wafted tantalizing scents across the park clearing, no eating was allowed until the rap sessions closed some 30 to 45 minutes later.

My group, which included a former board member and some well-known veterans from Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club days (the Alliance’s previous name), came up with a host of talking points, including the under I-5 Colonnade skillz park, the save-Kettle Crest movement, communication gaps, fiduciary question-marks, fundraising opportunities, volunteerism and Jon Kennedy’s broken chain. Yes, it’s true. Kennedy snapped his big-hit bike’s chain right before he was headed for a monster huck off one of the new structures…but that’s another story (he did get it fixed in time to throw down some cool moves on the freeride section, see video. Note: Jon, who’s pretty stylin’ on the extreme stuff, later did the full run, I just didn’t catch it on the iPhone. Further note: Click here to see full-screen of video).

Basically our group put in a pitch for more balance. There’s a sense the Alliance may be weighted toward in-close, bike park style development at the expense of wilderness and high-country access (Justin’s presentation referenced below may help mitigate this one). There’s a sense established members avoid posting on the ride calendar (“maybe rides have gotten too popular,” one of our group said), and that newcomers or slower riders feel somewhat intimidated to sign up for rides that are posted. There’s also the feeling volunteers could be used far better, and that mechanisms need to be set up for better use of members’ talents and interests.

On the kudos side, the Alliance’s reputation-building, media visibility, agency outreach and Web site got props for making a mark in the region (some people felt the Web site could be more welcoming to newcomers).

We were supposed to re-gather in plenary to go over the main themes, but it was getting dark and people’s stomachs were growling and if the leadership had made us talk any more another theme would have arisen along the lines of cannibalism, so we’ll have to wait for further reports back.

Kennedy did circulate a detailed action plan for the Alliance, outlining advocacy, planning and fundraising goals. And Justin Vander Pol added an inspiring update on the South Fork Snoqualmie project above I-90 that will create classic high-country singletrack with spectacular panoramic views an hour’s drive from Seattle. Work has commenced on the project, which has funding and agency commitment for completion.

All this, and the food was a cut above as well (thanks to whoever thought to bring veggie burgers for us non-carnivores). More to come, but for now the word is to get on out to Duthie and see what’s transpiring at the hands of Mike Westra and the gang.

Always something new in Marin’s hiker-biker wars

In Bicycle advocacy, Mountain Biking, Obama Bikes, Trail Access on August 31, 2009 at 9:37 am

The mtb wars in Marin continue apace. KTVU provides a video report (linked by updating tensions between mountain bikes and hikers. The report winds up being fairly sympathetic to the biking side, which is something of a surprise. Typical mainstream reports slant the blame toward the bikers.

One bromide does pop back up, concerning kids “screaming down the trails” on mountain bikes, supposedly endangering the health and well-being of hikers, children, dogs and so on. You know, I’ve yet to encounter a documented report of a bike colliding with a hiker and causing serious injury. And this is in nearly 20 years of mountain biking. I think I would have heard.

Not to dismiss hiker/pedestrian concerns, because I’ve been in a situation where bikes ripping down a trail too fast scare the bejesus out of me. But that’s as far as it goes. Yes it’s rude and disruptive. Still, every time I hear a complaint about the occasional bad actor on a mountain bike, I think of the scores of times I’ve encountered trails littered with trash, beer cans and other crap that mountain bikers have nothing to do with. Or the times I’ve been sworn at or blocked (by 3 or 5-abreast squadrons of anti-mtbers) or even swung at with a walking stick while riding on trails open to bikes. They don’t represent the vast majority of hikers, but they do exist.

There are jerks on both sides of this coin. But the majority should not be tarred with them.

The report notes some trails are being booby trapped. The most notorious case two and a half years ago involved barbed wire across an unmarked (that is, not specifically indicated as no-bikes, although not specifically permitted either; we avoid the vague and usually inappropriate term “illegal”) and widely used trail in Marin. Most of the current booby traps are of a less potentially homicidal nature — sticks, brush, and the ever popular blowdowns dragged across connector trails.

I enjoyed hearing Mark Weir‘s commentary, but in the pantheon of spokespeople available to address Marin mountain biking issues, he’s probably not the first guy I’d think of. Still, Mark’s attempt to get official approval for a pump track is worth noting. Not that most local and regional planning authorities even know what a pump track is or have a process to permit one, it’s nonetheless a shame that they turn a deaf ear in this case.

There’s considerable hope on the horizon. Marin has a hugely popular high-school mountain biking curriculum that is going to put a whole new generation of mtbers into mainstream society. Their mindset will be completely 180 degrees from the “ban the bike” intransigence of the old-line environmentalists. Someday, multiple use will be taken for granted in Marin and the U.S., the way it is everywhere else around the world.

Evergreen Alliance calls for the question

In Bicycle advocacy, Mountain Biking, Obama Bikes, Trail Access on August 27, 2009 at 7:59 am

The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, in the midst of member turmoil and a leadership shakeup, has reached out to followers to submit questions and raise concerns before next Tuesday’s Town Hall summit at 6 p.m. at Duthie Hill Lodge. Contact information is on the Evergreen Web site.

“We’ve received a great deal of input already, but I’d like to distill this into the core issues and be sure to cover them next Tuesday,” wrote board member Scott Edison in an e-mail to key Evergreen stakeholders.

Edison also noted there will be a ride at Duthie, where considerable trail work has been done recently, as well as a barbecue with food provided (people should bring their own beverages).

Edison noted the alliance already has received “a great deal of input,” including postings on the Yahoo! e-mail list as well as privately circulated group e-mails. Issues raised concern leadership, communication and advocacy, particularly on the wilderness front.

Some key points still to be addressed include:

Will John Lang, whose unexpected resignation takes effect on Tuesday, be replaced? As executive director, Lang oversaw progress on several fronts, particularly in reaching out to other trail groups and agencies. But paid talent comes at some expense, and the alliance is facing considerable financial challenges by the end of the year.

If Lang is replaced, how much will the membership be informed of the process and be able to provide input into the selection? Lang’s appointment in the spring of 2008 came as a surprise to the rank and file, in part because he was unknown in the mountain biking community. Whatever expertise and connections he brought to the job were overshadowed by questions over how much personal investment he had in the sport.

Fundraising: A crash fundraising appeal to members brought in $37,000 recently, but despite belt-tightening, finances remain a concern. Several ideas for fundraisers along the lines of organized rides and events have been suggested by members.

Communication: It’s been suggested that alliance leadership participate more in the Yahoo list and be more aggressive in inviting members to participate in decision-making, including attendance at board meetings. Interactive features on the Web site also could be a plus.

A new forum,, has been started by Evergreen regulars Tim Banning and Erik Alston. Although not specifically an alliance endeavor, the forum addresses mountain biking issues and could play a strategic role in airing issues to a wider public.

The forum software also enables threaded discussions and archiving by topic as well as other features not possible in a Yahoo group.

Finally, what to do about alienated long-time members remains a pressing concern for the alliance. Several active and well-known BBTC icons have said they feel excluded and unwanted by club leadership. Drawing their expertise, networking capabilities, rolodex and popularity back into the mix has been raised as a key initiative facing the alliance.

A review of other issues in our report of July’s tumultuous board meeting.

Change is afoot, er, apedal, at Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance

In Bicycle advocacy, Mountain Biking, Obama Bikes, Trail Access on August 15, 2009 at 4:30 pm

The Puget Sound region’s leading mountain bike club, the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, is undergoing some Obama-like “change you can believe in” as a result of membership turmoil we reported on last month.

The latest shocker: Executive director John Lang is resigning as of Sept. 1. Lang’s arrival in the spring of 2008 marked a sharp change of direction for the organization then known as the Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club. Lang put a stamp of professionalism on the club, liaisoning it with other user groups and forest administrative agencies while also shepherding mtb projects like Colonnade (a huge publicity win for the club), Paradise Valley and Duthie Hill.

Announcing Lang’s departure with “great regret,” Evergreen president Jennifer Lesher noted that during his tenure “We have attained a seat on the Washington DNR’s Sustainability Work Group and an appointment to the Snoqualmie Unit Advisory Committee. We have worked with the Mountains to Sound Greenway, State Parks, and Snohomish County, Kent, and Redmond. John’s leadership and hard work were key in establishing these positions.”

But Lang is not a mountain biker, a factor that led him to become a lightning rod for discontent over club policies starting with the surprise name change (which was under way before he took office). He also failed to communicate with the membership, which saw him as detached and aloof, even as his political acumen made measurable progress with previously antagonistic or uncooperative sectors.

We at BikeIntelligencer believe Lang was making the right moves, but without buy-ins from the membership. A better communicator would have explained what he was up to and done the political spade work to create ownership at the member level.

Since July’s board meeting, Lesher and Jon Kennedy, program director, have been actively seeking input on the club’s future direction, meeting and speaking with a number of longtime members. Jen’s take in an e-mail posted on Evergreen’s Yahoo! list:

“The Board of Directors is working to devise a plan for the immediate and
long term future of the organization. We have some critical decisions to
make about how we’re going to allocate our resources and prioritize our
obligations, but please rest assured that we plan to honor our commitments,
goals and mission.”

The turmoil within Evergreen comes at a strategic juncture for the sport of mountain biking. Even as the sport explodes among youth, especially teenagers, agencies and other trail user groups are expressing concern over the growth in unauthorized (again, we avoid the term “illegal” as inapplicable in trail administration) construction and riding. In Canada there is no problem, so the kids (groms) watch the DVDs and go to Whistler and NorthShore and see what’s possible and want it in their back yards. They don’t know how to work the system and in any case do not want to wait for bureaucracy to act. In the meantime, veteran mtbers take the heat from their trail peers for things they have nothing to do with (but may wholeheartedly support!); like what adult ever stopped kids from building things — treehouses, forts, skateparks and so on down the line.

Thus “advocacy” becomes the stepchild of “recreation,” creating a dualistic mission for a group like Evergreen.

It all sets the stage for a lively “Town Hall” summit meeting on Tuesday, September 1 at Duthie Hill near Issaquah. It looks like there will be riding before and/or after, as well as a barbecue and festive atmosphere to keep the mood upbeat and positive. See you there!