Sunday, October 25th, 2009

MTB: Post-Fall Circus Henry Coe B Ride

The official MTBR Henry Coe Fall Circus happened on Saturday. But we could only do Sunday, so we did our Post-Fall Circus Henry Coe B Ride (as opposed to the Pre-Fall Circus Henry Coe B Ride I did with Derek and Charlie last week).

To recap from my previous blog post, here is Charlie’s route rundown of the B ride (Miles = 23.74 / Footies = 4,593’):

Start at Hunting Hollow » Gilroy Hot Springs Road » Coit Road » Anza Trail » Jackson Trail » Elderberry Spring Trail (lower) » Rock Tower Trail » Elderberry Spring Trail (upper) » Jackson Road » Wasno Road » Kelly Lake Trail » Coit Road » Kelly Cabin Canyon Trail » Cross Canyon Trail » Coit Springs Trail » Cattle Duster Trail » Domino Pond Trail » Wasno Road » Dexter Trail (variation) » Grizzly Gulch Trail » Serpentine Trail » Steer Ridge Road » Middle Steer Ridge Trail » Hunting Hollow Road » Hunting Hollow parking

There are three reasons I wanted to do this ride again:

  1. The course is  fun. It to some extent maximizes the singletrack riding at Henry Coe. And it got everything. Jackson Trail and Serpentine are two challenging and strenuous climbs. Kelly Lake Trail and Middle Steer Ridge Trail are both continuous and fairly steep downhill runs. The variation to Dexter Trail is a technical downhill ride. Then Kelly Cabin Canyon Trail follows a creek and got some rocks to throw in the path here and there.
  2. Erik had to work last weekend and he had not been on some of the trails (e.g. Dexter variation and Middle Steer) on this course. I've gotta take him out on it; after all, joy is supposed to be shared, isn't it?
  3. And the most important reason — I somehow managed to get three demo bikes for all of us (Erik, Derek, and me). They are Santa Cruz Blur LTc Small, Medium, and Large. Derek and I fell in love with the LTc at the LBS bike demos recently. And I wanted to take the bike to an ultimate test at Henry Coe — our favorite local bike trails. Since I just rode that course last week on my own bike — an old second-hand Specialized Stumpjumper — it makes sense to ride the LTc on the same course for apple to apple comparisons.

At the parking lot, we saw Mike. I remember running into him and company during my very first Henry Coe adventure and he remembers us too.  He was wondering if we accomplished what we set out to do that day. We did and made a 40 mile ride out of 34 mile course (due to my awesome navigational skills). He took this picture of us with our three demo bikes:

For all the hard work I did to get these bikes, I think I got the heaviest one and it didn't even come with a drop seatpost like the other two did! Hm, not fair! But on the trail, it did not disappoint! I almost cleared the whole climb from Anza to Jackson. I only blew one insignificant switchback at the beginning of Jackson Trail. I misread the trail thinking it was going straight before I lowered my head down and got immersed in my own thoughts. When I almost rode over the edge of the trail and that's when I realized that the trail actually turned right. Too late now! So I got off and retraced 15 feet or so and did the switchback without any problem. Except for that blunder, it was one go for me from the bottom to the top. And I was ahead of the two guys. Did I say that the bike did not disappoint?

This is Derek coming up Jackson Trail:

Erik took a picture of me coming up Elderberry Trail (to Jackson Road) with his camera. I had never done that section of the trail until this B ride, and was surprised to find that it was a very fun single track climb.

And this is me riding down Kelly Lake Trail, which got severely rutted due to the heavy rain two weeks ago. Did you notice that I didn't have my knee pads on? I think I'm getting a little brave.

Then Erik had some trail side repair to do. The hub in one front wheel was frozen when I brought the demo bikes home. Erik thinks the bearings might be shot. But with some clamp, he was able to loosen it up. But it froze up again when he rode down Kelly Lake Trail. Derek had a pair of pliers and they turned out helpful. It seems that after Erik loosed the hub up, it held up for the ride. I was glad that he did not have to cut his ride short due to this mechanical problem.

Here is Erik at one of the many creek crossings on Kelly Cabin Canyon Trail. Last weekend, Charlie, Derek and I walked many of these crossings because we didn't know the condition of the crossings, but this time, I rode all of them even though that meant wet shoes.

I want to post this picture from Erik because it shows my muscles. Haha…

This is the crux on Cross Canyon Trail (still near the creek bed). The picture doesn't do its justice. It's a short steep rocky climb. Last time, Derek and I session-ed a bunch of times and did not get it. This time, he got it in one go, on the Blur LTc. Despite the shadows, I could see the glow on his face.

At the top of Cross Canyon Trail, we ran into a group of mountain bikers including Sue (Mike's wife) and Georgia whom we met, again, during my very first Henry Coe adventure. And they remember us too. I didn't know that before, but I guess normally people do not come out to do a 34 mile ride (or 40 mile as we did) for their first Coe ride.

Here are Erik and Derek coming up Cattle Duster:

I could not have asked for a better day to ride at Henry Coe.

More photos can be found in our gallery including the closeups of our demo bikes.

We are a little faster this time than last time.

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