Friday, June 29th, 2012

Hooky Day Trilogy : Santa Teresa + Kennedy + Mt. Eden

I've been working very hard lately.  I normally try not to work long hours; after all, 50% of the household is already workaholic, so I need to balance it out. But last couple of days, I stayed up late and got up early. I've gotta say, debugging an unpredictable race condition in the program is addictive. Guess wherever there is a race, there is excitement. After I got that and a few other critical issues resolved, I told my boss I need a day off. Plus, my vacation is also capping out.

What do I do? What do I do? A Rocky Ridge no dab challenge is hot on MTBR right now. Last time I was there, it was more than three years ago. I was demoing bikes and went up and down it seven times one day and twice next day (before going to Pinnacles). I remember getting pretty good at it (down to a couple of dabs then) and I was more of a rookie back then. Hmmm… how would I do this time?  And then I remember a Dogmeat no dab challenge was hot a little while back. Never been on it and I have been curious. Then Mr Mud told me this morning that Stephen and Greg suggested hill repeats on Mt. Eden sometime in the day (depending on work situation). Ha, a plan is conceived. I find a couple of tracks about Santa Terasa and Dogmeat from the MTBGuru because I don't even know or remember how to get to them any more and out of the door I go.

Well, I worked in the later part of the morning after I slept in (yeah, I suck), so it is 2pm when I get to Stile Ranch Entrance. It is a bit hot, but nothing close to the 116 degrees I experienced two weekends ago, so I won't complain. Following the track, I go straight to the Rocky Ridge climb. It is not pretty — I dab five or six times and even have to get off the bike a couple of times because I can't get restarted among all the chunks. But knowing that this is just the first part of the trilogy, I don't linger and move on. Then it's the downhill. Erik told me to wear knee and elbow pads, just like that time he threw a head lamp in my pack when I went to do the Napa Valley Dirt Classic, you can't say he is not caring. But I feel fairly comfortable and will ride cautiously and conservatively. Oh, yesterday evening when I pulled a contortionist move on the climbing wall, I think I tweaked my back a bit and I can still feel it today — my body English feels off. Then I realize, wait a minute, on my best day, I can only muster body Chin-glish, so I'm pretty much doomed as far as mountain biking goes. Oh, but Rocky Ridge DH is so fun!!! Does no dab descent count? The track then takes me to go up and down Stile Ranch singletrack (clean), and that is fun too.  When I get back to the car, less than an hour has passed.

I really should move on, but the thrill on the Rocky Ridge DH makes me want to go back for seconds. Plus, I want to try something else too. I've heard the theory. When riding over rocks, you are suppose to smash so that the momentum can carry the bike over the rocks. On my first time today, I tried to ride in my middle chain ring, but I'm never a smasher. This time I want to try spin. Another change, I first climb and descend Stile Ranch singletrack (another clean). There, I've done it both ways too! Then comes Rocky Ridge. I take it slow (after all I'm spinning). Once, I pull over for two downhillers not wanting to spoil their fun. It turns out the rider at the back is a walker and it takes a while for him to get down to me. Anyway, I find spinning up some sketchy sections actually works because I'm not pulling as hard on the handle bar as when smashing, so I can steer better. However, there are also times, I do lack enough umph to go over some rocks. Still a few dabs here and there, but over all, I feel more at ease than the first time. I'm pretty sure if I can come back more often, the trail will go clean. Familiarity definitely helps. Too bad that Santa Teresa is so far for me. If I move, I want to move here. But when I look around while driving through the neighborhood, I do not see a shed for sale.

After Santa Teresa, I take a back way towards Los Gatos because at that time, Hwy 17 traffic is already showing solid red.  It's a pleasant and straightforward drive. When I pass the tiny parking lot for Kennedy Trail, I stop to use the porta potty, but the idea pops up — why don't I ride up Kennedy to get to Dogmeat? Well, technically, I am grinding up Kennedy because I feel tired and hungry, but a smooth fire road is a nice change. Then I'm at the top of Dogmeat to first descend it. I'm surprised with how many rollers there are on the segment. Soon it's time to turn around.  I'm prepared for a tough climb, but I can't help but laughing (snobbishly) inside that the walls people talk about are really at a grade not that steep by Coe standard. The grade is not that hard, but I have to pay attention — the traction is very bad! My rear tire break loose so many times, and I even have a couple of very close calls, but I fight hard to get back on track. Then I'm nearing the top. My GPS is readying 1.35 miles already and the climb is 1.5 miles long. My mind starts to wonder — I start to envision all the glory I will be basking in once I reach the top no dab, flowers, roaring cheers, and hugs. Oh, I'm so close. I think that steep section in front of me is the very last one. It does not look hard, but I shouldn't screw it up there. Just then, suddenly, my rear tire breaks loose, and my front tire jerks to the side. Before I even have a chance to fight it, my foot is down. I just dabbed!!! And it's not even on a steep section. Oh no! Oh well, moving on and I clean the rest pouting.

I call Mr. Mud and learn that the posse has finished the Mt. Eden repeats because of their schedule constraints. I really should just go home now. There is just one problem — I already conceived the title of this blog post. How can a trilogy not have the third part? Plus, there is no such word as bi-logy. I do like what I hear from Mr. Mud though — he tells me Stephen was doing 3-minute uphill and turnaround and repeating.  So, that's what I am going to do. And it's fun! I know people do these hill repeats sprinting, but I have been in the grinding mode all day and don't have any power left in me, so I grind up my hill repeats. The best part about the 3-minute uphill is I can go as fast or as slow I want and you know it will end in 3 minutes. Before getting there, I thought I would just do two repeats, but the short repeats turn out so much fun and before I know it, I have counted six. Finally time to go home now to the La Costena burrito that Mr. Mud has brought home. This is a good day playing hooky.

The end.

2 Responses

  1. Christie Cooleyon 19 Jul 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I love your blog. Big fan! Have seen your times on Strava, heard of your legend via Mr. Crash and others, and hope to one day be half the rider you are. Will be studying your Downieville entries, headed there the next two weeks, and have been wanting to go practice on Rocky Ridge specifically to support that endeavor. Happy trails!

    mudworm

    Hi Christie, I am very sorry for the late reply! When someone (ID'ed by the email address) first time posts a comment, it needs to be approved first. I was counting on the email notifications and did not know it stopped working as early as in July! Only just saw a few "old" comments waiting in the approval queue. Yes, Mr. Crash raved about you too when we ran into each other in Tahoe. I learned that you are a extremely fast learner — fairly new at mountain biking — and already a very fast rider, esp. on downhills. Actually, I've seen quite a few QOMs held by you on trails I've ridden. Very impressive! I have no doubt you crushed Downieville competition. Hope you had a great time there. Happy trails and keep the rubber side down!