Not many people would go "Hmmm... that sounds like a great idea" when they hear my proposal:
- Descender's Delight ride (~20 miles)
- Replenish at the car ...
- Perimeter ride clockwise: Sierra Morena, Whole Steam Donkey, Blue Blossom or Spring Board, Lawrence, V Mill, S+N Leaves, ECdM) (est. ~14 mi)
- Replenish at the car, and if time and energy allows...
- Perimeter ride CCW: ECdM, N+S Leaves, V Mill, Lawrence, BB, Crosscut, Gordon Mill, Sierra Morena, est. ~13mi)
But ratpick, Skyline35, and ElHombre (those were MTBR handles) bought the idea. The ride was on! For Saturday morning.
Yeah, I know, I just did that Descender's Delight ride last Sunday, but it was an extremely drizzly and overcast day so my GPS lost satellite reception a few times on the ride. The track came out looking jaggy. I had to do it again just to get the track right!
ElHombre even brought his friend Tom along. I gave the duo an earful of my wish list for mtbguru.com because they are the ones responsible for any feature that's missing or not working on that site. (Oh, who cares about the stuff that works!)
I usually offered to let all the guys go ahead on the downhills. Lucky for me that even though the weather was hot and the trails were dry, the dust kicked up was not too bad -- I'd seen much worse in Oregon. It cracked me up every time when I saw two or three cameras already out by the time I got to the bottom -- I didn't know which one to pose to!!!
Tom was the first one we lost on the ride. He took the Bail Trail while the rest the group took Manzanita. When we got to the bottom of Resolution, we were faced with a dilemma, "should we do the North Leaf loop or not?" In Skyline35's words, "we would be going up and down N. Leaf and S. Leaf all day on the perimeter rides, so there is not much point in doing it now." It made a lot of sense, but the group did not move. Since ElHombre knew that he could not join either of the perimeter ride, we headed for N. Leaf against all senses (just for him).
"Well, since we are already here (at the end of N. Leaf), there is not much point in skipping the new connector on South Leaf." Guess who said that? Skyline35! So we extended the Delight ride a little more.
I can't believe we spent an hour replenishing at the parking lot after the Descender's Delight ride! Although he couldn't join the next perimeter ride, ElHombre was in no rush in getting to his errands. It was a fun chat that seemed to have ended to soon. When ElHombre drove away, the remaining three of us rolled out of the parking lot again... on our bikes. For whatever reason, we decided to do the perimeter ride in the counter clockwise direction first.
Fun was had on ECdM, N. Leaf, and then the new connector on S. Leaf (again). Suddenly, the ride changed temper on the remaining 4/5 of S. Leaf -- narrow with a lot of very steep ups and downs. All of us had our share of pushing the bike. We crossed path with a group among whom one rider clipped a tree and slid down with his bike to at least 50 feet below. He did not seem injured because the steep bank was covered with very loose sand-like soil. We didn't stay to watch, but I would think for him to get back up to the trail with the bike had to be a taxing feat.
Skyline35 was happy when I had to spend almost 10 minutes at the end of N. Leaf to deal with my dried up contact lens that fell out (but was not lost). So, later when ratpick had a chainsuck incident, it was quite a disappointment to him when the issue fixed itself within a few seconds -- "ohh... I was just going to sit down!" He was heard a few times asking us very attentively, "Is your contact lens still okay? You sure your chain is fine and you don't need to fiddle with it?" The answers were always disappointing, so we kept rolling. After the descent on Virginia Mill Trail to the lowest point (<800 miles), we climbed >1000' in the next 2.5 miles until we got to the top (south end) of Blue Blossom. That was brutal!!! Skyline35 claimed that his legs had turned into noodles and was going to take the road back. Now, we were down to two.
I didn't think climbing Steam Donkey would be a good idea (esp on a weekend), so after Blue Blossom and Spring Board, we took Gordon Mill all the way to Sierra Morena. By that time, my legs had turned into noodles too, but a slice of ratpick's biscotti and a gel pack did wonder instantly. I actually was able to hammer back to the car via Sierra Morena.
Already 6pm, we did not have enough time for the other perimeter ride. That meant... dinner at Alice's!
On Sunday, between chores and errands, I managed to squeeze in a quick ride at Skeggs. The route was no other than the clockwise perimeter ride. Whew, mission accomplished!
Looking back, I had done following rides in the past two weekends in a row. I guess I just like Skeggs this much! Actually, these rides were all for a silly project of mine. Click on the following images to see what it is.
P.S. The related MTBR thread with pictures!