For a while, Lyman Willson was my favorite start from Hunting Hollow. And then it rained, and then rained more. The creeks were filled. Last time I went out that way was on Charlie's ride last December. Now water proofed with my Gortex socks, would I be afraid of a few creeks? Of course, not; bring me the ocean!
I rolled out of the parking lot at the same time as the MTBR Henry Coe Spring Circus B group left, but I went the opposite ways. Having made some potsticker/potato salad, I knew that I could afford being a loner for a little while (Dan said so). My plan was to start with Lyman Willson climb and then work my way over to the B route. I was hoping to get an earlier start, but I barely even made the official start time despite having to run over a few road riders. Okay, not really, but I passed probably two dozen road riders on this normally very deserted road.
Lyman Willson felt easier than I had remembered and I cleared it without much difficulty. Or, should I say my Titus FTM climbed it like a goat? I had always liked Bowl Trail going from LW to Middle Steer Ridge. Today it was especially interesting — it was wild! The grass was so overgrown that at many sections, the trail was completely closed in. It's a shame that this beautiful trail is not traveled more frequently. There were places on the steep MSR trail where the trail was narrow and loose aligned with talk grass on both sides. Since I wasn't technically flying up the climb, I had lots of time to contemplate. And it was then it dawned on me that being able to find traction on loose or slippery surface while climbing may just as well be like being able to manual a drop on descents. It will never look as dramatic and impressive as a manual, but it's a skill nonetheless. Oh, how I wish I could manual drops! I reached the summit of MSR while my thoughts wondered all over and realized that I just cleared that climb as well. Cool! I could go home now. Not! I needed to find my group.
When I popped out on Coit Road after descending Spike Jones Trail (not very far from the gated entrance), it was 11:10am. I estimated that my detour put me a little over an hour behind the group. Without a pause, I rode on. I didn't clear Anza/Jackson today, but I wasn't pacing myself to clear it either because I had some serious catching up to do. Riding alone, I had the luxury of not stopping. I first caught Bart (I met him at a Coe trailwork) and his friend on Jackson Road, who were not part of the circus but were going in the same direction, and down Kelly Lake Trail we went. My heart sank when I saw the flat ground by the lake that was typically used as a lunch spot completely empty. Then I heard someone call my name and looked over my shoulder. About two dozen riders were gathering at a high ground where the trees were. I think all the Spring Circus riders managed to rendezvous at this same spot for a break after having come from different routes. Amazing! Nice planning, JL and Dan! I was very happy to see some familiar faces and some unfamiliar faces.
Our group took Kelly Cabin Canyon Trail, which was interesting as usual and probably a little harder than I had remembered after the rainy winter. When I climbed to the top of Cross Canyon Trail, only Justin (jdubsl2) and Kyle (K-max) were there talking about the cold beer at the car. By then, the group had been stretched out. I had a long wait while people came and went. Finally, the A group showed up, and then Dan showed up with Jeff (JustJeff). I was happy to hear that Dan decided to stick to the original B route finish, which the A group also elected to go with. After the mellow climb on Coit Road, when Dan stopped to put his camera away and wait for the A group, I rode on knowing that I needed a head start because it was mainly downhill from there. I was surprised that I was never caught; instead, I caught the tail end of the B group right at the bottom of Grapevine rock garden. (Note: Most of the B group took the alternative route by dropping down Cross Canyon straight to Grapevine.) The first words Daryl (wddung) uttered when he saw me was "What the hell?!" I guess having seen me pop up out of no where a couple of times today made him start questioning life. Then I said goodbye to the little group again (a habit by now) at the end of Grapevine and turned on to Anza. Not wanting to miss any good food, I pedaled fast, and then much faster down Coit Road and Gilroy Hot Spring Road. When I rode into the parking, I could hear Daryl's thoughts (he was putting his bike away) from the opposite side of the parking lot, "What the hell?!!!"
Now, where is the promised BBQ? Hmmm, no BBQ… But Peter (tburger)'s wife's famous cupcakes were there. If nobody had been watching, I would have licked all the tea flavored frosting off and then eaten all of them. That was a dream though because I only got one and they were all gone when I blinked. I think Charlie ate the pies Christine (theseawind) brought for appetizer, dinner, and dessert; not that I was really monitoring the delicious pies. I had fun hanging out and even more fun telling Erik, who had been working, how awesome riding at Coe was when I met him for dinner. Oh, someone asked, the dinner was at St. John's Bar and Grill in Sunnyvale. Their delicious burgers are 1/2 price on Saturdays, which I always liked for post ride refuel, especially because it's only 4 minutes away from my climbing gym where I can shower first.
For pictures, you have to check back on the MTBR thread: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=613395 . Knowing there would been canon sized cameras and could-be-pro photographers on the ride, I didn't even bother bringing mine.
Update: I just stole this photo of me from Charlie's collection. See what I mean by "could-be-pro photographers"?
For GPS track and stats, choose which you want to believe:
- Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/33414667
- Plus 3 Network: http://www.plus3network.com/activity/henry-coe-mtbr-spring-circus/370703 (I earned $1.71 for IMBA)
- MTBguru: http://www.mtbguru.com/trip/show/13891-20100515-mtbr-henry-coe-spring-circus
Route: Hunting Hollow Road -> L: Lyman Willson Ridge Trail -> L: Bowl Trail -> R: Middle Steer Ridge Trail -> L: Steer Ridge Road-> R: Spike Jones Trail -> R: Coit Road -> R: Anza -> R: Jackson -> Elderberry Sprint Trail -> L: Jackson Road -> R: Wasno Road -> Kelly Lake -> Kelly Cabin Canyon Trail -> Cross Canyon Trail -> L: Coit Road -> R: Wasno Road -> R: Domino Pond Trail -> Cattle Duster Trail -> Grapevine Trail -> L: Anza Trail -> Coit Road -> Gilroy Hot Springs Road -> Hunting Hollow parking lot (28.58 mi / 6768' ascent)