Saturday, June 26th, 2010

MTB: Henry Coe Rustic Journey (54mi/11k')

This is my post to the related MTBR thread where more photos and stories can be found.
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After our (mudncrud, ratpick, mudworm) extra little play loop on Spike Jones and Timm, we caught the big group (Sorcerer, Tom, Brian L, Zener, Eric S, girl_from_pitt, plymmer) on Coit Road at the north end of Anza. Damn, everyone looked fit, too fit! At that time, Skyline35, Chris (Sorcerer's wife), and Janet W were already ahead having started earlier than the others. They were then caught on the Poverty Flat Rd before Jack Ass Trail. Unbeknown to us at the time, Paul B and Jon R made their own separate starts (probably at a later hour), took their own routes (possibly more direct), and intersected the group later — Paul on Jack Ass Tr and Jon on the top of Willow Ridge Tr. That means this year's Henry Coe Rustic Journey attracted 15 riders in total (if I counted my fingers correctly).

I'm guessing the day could not be called hot by the Coe standard, but it was a warm day — much warmer than last weekend for instance (scroll down and see Skyline35's weather charts). That put a toll on many people, and alternate routes were chosen by small groups of smart folks: Skyline35 and Janet headed back after Willow Ridge Tr; plymmer and Paul B said goodbye at Pacheco Camp; girl_from_pitt and Jon left after the swim in Mississippi Lake; Eric and Zener did not stop by the lake and went ahead trying to get back in bright day light (sightings of them at Dowdy Ranch were reported, but we didn't know the exact route they took). The rest of us — seven in total — followed the ride leader who took us through a helluva journey.

Route: Coyote Creek Gate -> Coit Rd [-> Spike Jones -> Timm -> Coit Rd] -> Anza Tr -> Coit Rd -> Mahoney Meadows Rd -> Lost Spring Tr -> Los Cruzeros -> Narrows -> Poverty Flat Rd -> Jack Ass Tr -> Blue Ridge Rd -> Black Oak Spring Tr -> Hat Rock -> Rock House Ridge -> Narrows -> Willow Ridge Tr -> Willow Ridge Rd -> Hoover Lake Tr -> Hoover Air-Strip -> White Trank Tr -> Coit Rd -> Pacheco Camp -> Pacheco Creek Tr -> Heritage Trail -> Pacheco Ridge Rd -> Mississippi Lake -> County Line Rd -> Turkey Pond Tr (really?) -> Kaiser Aetna Rd -> Dowdy Ranch -> Burra Burra Tr -> Dormida Tr -> Vasquez Rd -> Bowl Tr -> Lyman Willson Tr -> Hunting Hollow Rd -> Hunting Hollow parking lot -> Gilroy Hot Springs Rd -> Coyote Creek Gate. (54.6 mi / 11945' from mtbguru)

Compared to my near three dozen rides (including two 10k's) at Coe in the past two years, this one felt the toughest. There were a few tough climbs on this route (see my annotated route description at the bottom of the post), which taxed the body more intensely. Bushwhacking was involved on this route more than one time too. It was on this ride that I first time experienced recurring leg cramps (the onset was on Heritage Tr). Depending on the movements, whether riding, hiking a bike, or even just sitting around, different muscles in the leg and feet threatened to seize up. I relied on my granny gear to keep the cramps at bay for the most part.

However, at the end of the ride, I had a grin that spanned ear to ear. The descent on Lyman Willson in the twilight was a great way to end a long day of riding. mudncrud, ratpick, and I plowed through all the creek crossings (some still deep) on Hunting Hollow Rd before heading back to our cars. The cool water that splashed on me and the sound effect from us entering the crossings one after another made me giggle.

At the parking lot, the seven of us, still sweaty and covered in Coe dust, congratulated each other cheerfully in all kinds of fashion (including hugging and kissing). It was then it dawned on me that it was the camaraderie fostered through long rides like this made these rides so memorable. Long live long (Coe) rides!

The brief fog enclosure on Coit Rd.

I somehow worked my way through the crowd and topped out on Jack Ass Tr with only Brian ahead of me. Paul B came up after me before I had a chance to pull out my camera. After that, I tried to take a photo or two of each rider who came up. (More photos besides what's shown here can be found in my photo album.)

Sorcerer — The fierce ride leader. I suspect he has built in engines in his thighs (motor doping?). He cleaned Jack Ass, Willow Ridge Trail, and various other steep climbs. I witnessed him clean the two tight and loose switchbacks on Hoover Lake Tr and was super impressed with his bike handling skills.

plymmer. While climbing Jack Ass, I kept turning my ears backwards to hear if anyone was catching up to me. I wanted to make sure I was not in anyone's way, especially plymmer since he is known as the angry climbing man. But he had a huge smile in this picture because he just cleaned Jack Ass Tr.

I always enjoy following Eric on trails because he seems to have a hard time to ride by hanging branches and other offensive trail blockers without giving a go at cleaning. And he is always very encouraging and would cheer for me whenever I manage a little tricky move on my bike.

Zener. I hope I ride as strong as he does when the days come that my hair is gray.

ratpick is always a pleasant company. But do not let his easy going manner fool you — he has the strong will to clean the tough climbs at Henry Coe. He cleaned Anza/Jackson last week and Jack Ass on this ride. BTW, if anyone found a pair of sunglasses (shown in the photo), please let him know.

Tom is a character. He rides a hardtail around with a plastic spoke guard. Which serious mountain biker would not scoff at that? And he rides platform pedals. When other riders marvel at the unusual sighting of those pedals (at Coe), he simply smiles humbly and apologetically, "Hehe, I cannot clip in." Yet, at the end of the day, he was still among the very few who were actually riding up those steep hills.

girl_from_pitt is a strong rider and a funny girl. When she talks, I laugh.

mudncrud had fun on his rental 29er demo bike. But has he made up his mind yet? During the USA-Gana World Cup game, he chanted from the middle of Mississippi Lake, "Go USA!"

Chris, the fierce rider leader's sweetheart. She endured the headaches from overheating; yet still finished the long route with big smiles.

Janet greeted us at Hunting Hollow Parking lot after having waited there for Brian for hours. That's a lot of patience!

Hi Charlie, Oh, Charlie! We were very sad to say goodbye to him at the top of Willow Ridge Tr. He was the one who crafted the perfect 10k ride for us last weekend (including the perfect temperature).

Plymmer looking very very wilted.

ratpick kindly posed the corpse pose for me when resting at Dowdy Ranch. I told him that I didn't want to make plymmer feel bad by posting his photos lone.

There are a few other photos I want to show, but I probably should not take up too much real estate in the thread (too late now?). Please visit My album for photos like these:

Appendix:

-Photos published so far: My album, ratpick's album

-GPS tracks: Garmin Connect, MTBGuru, Plus3Network (why all 3 sites)

-Annotated Route Description: Coyote Creek Gate -> Coit Rd [-> Spike Jones (gentle uphill) -> Timm (fun downhill) -> Coit Rd] -> Anza Tr (gentle uphill followed by gentle downhill) -> Coit Rd -> Mahoney Meadows Rd -> Lost Spring Tr (downhill singletrack) -> Los Cruzeros -> Narrows -> Poverty Flat Rd fireroad climb, short but steep) -> Jack Ass Tr (singletrack climb, steeper near the bottom and eases off) -> Blue Ridge Rd -> Black Oak Spring Tr (downhill singletrack followed by bushwacking through grasses uphill) -> Hat Rock -> Rock House Ridge (wheeee downhill) -> Narrows (flat singletrack) -> Willow Ridge Tr (steep singletrack that gets steeper) -> Willow Ridge Rd -> Hoover Lake Tr -> Hoover Air-Strip -> White Trank Tr (wheee downhill) -> Coit Rd -> Pacheco Camp -> Pacheco Creek Tr (flat singletrack) -> Heritage Trail (lots of creekcrossings with deep dips followed by very bursts of steep climbs) -> Pacheco Ridge Rd -> Mississippi Lake -> County Line Rd -> Turkey Pond Tr (?) (Wheeeeeee downhill) -> Kaiser Aetna Rd (first a screaming descent on a super fireroad highway followed by endless gradual climb) -> Dowdy Ranch -> Burra Burra Tr (gentle climb) -> Dormida Tr (fun downhill but easy to get off trail and end up bushwacking) -> Vasquez Rd (OMG, that's steep and long!!!) -> Bowl Tr -> Lyman Willson Tr (wheeee descent) -> Hunting Hollow Rd -> Hunting Hollow parking lot -> Gilroy Hot Springs Rd -> Coyote Creek Gate. (54.6 mi / 11945' from mtbguru)

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Okay, here is a photo that can belong here:

3 Responses

  1. Dirk dBon 29 Jun 2010 at 10:15 am

    Excellent! 50+ miles and +10K ft of climbing in what looks like typical Coe summer heat is quite an accomplishment. In particular since this is Paul's summer solstice ride, which is famous for going off the beaten path – which in Coe, of course, implies a healthy amount of bushwacking.

    Also, every time you can spot Plymmer not wearing his leg warmers, you know the Coe heat is on; looking at the shots I can almost feel the scorching ordeal climbing Kaiser Aetna in the late afternoon heat must have been…

    I'm finally done enjoying awesome food, beer and chocolate in Belgium (aka my Alta Alpina recovery, which is now streched into week 3!) and made it back into the Bay Area.

    mudworm

    We missed you, Dirk! Okay, now that you are back, you should just jump on your bike and go blast the some route. I expect it to take you four hours to finish the entire Rustic Journey. Just make sure not to get lost on Dormida Trail!

  2. Dirk dBon 01 Jul 2010 at 7:12 am

    Hmm, it should get a little cooler first, my fragile constitution doesn't do that well in high temps. And I'd need some serious performance-enhancing means for doing it in four hours! But yes, one of these days I need to go out and save kittens…