Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Mt. Rose to Mr. Toads again!

Ha, I figured the title will lure you in! Well, it is true, but partially true. After our successful completion of the Tahoe classic monster ride last weekend, I had a nagging feeling. In our small group of three, Mr. Mud appeared to be the strongest one and was almost always ready to roll, but he always had to wait for me, always the last rider. In other words, he was not riding at his own pace. I wanted to give him that chance because in my mind, riding with a group is fun, but being able to ride alone at one's own pace can be very satisfying as well. I also enjoy riding solo because it's very relaxing and I get to do a lot of soul searching.

So I offered to shuttle him. With the memory of the ride still fresh, I suggested we should just do it this weekend even if that meant we only had one day because he had to work the other day. It took some convincing and even threatening — "this offer is only valid for this weekend and then will expire forever", and in the end, he took the offer. We almost backed off though when the alarm went off in the morning because neither of us wanted to get up, but up we got.

It was not as early as we had liked when I dropped him off at Mt. Rose.  However, as luck had it, his first encounter with another soul was when he almost reached Spooner Lake State Park while descending the fire road. That was when the Flume Race was just starting.

Maybe it was the strong wind that had deterred people? At Mt. Rose, the wind could easily have been 20mph if not more. I felt it too when I was at Stagecoach. But as we both experienced, the wind did not seem to affect much on our rides.

One negative factor that Mr. Mud had to deal with was his extremely worn middle chain ring. As a matter of fact, before he even left the parking lot at the start, we both heard the chain skipping on that ring. He pushed on nonetheless. For the most of the ride, the middle ring could not be used unless there was no strain in the chain at all.

Despite this major problem, he finished the whole ride in an impressive 8 hour 40 mintue time! That was a huge improvement from the 10 hours 20 minutes last weekend when we all rode together!


MTBguru link

As for me… I had some good reasons that I shouldn't ride. While not all should be revealed, I did develop a very bad cough that first came up violently on the long drive home from last weekend's ride. It became a nightly cough that kept getting worst. By Thursday, I was barely getting any sleep and my lung muscles were very sore due to the deep coughs. Finally, I decided to knock myself out with Nyquil and ignore the problem. Yeah, I used drug!

Actually, I wouldn't have any problem with waiting (as a SAG support should do) because I have many books to read on my Kindle and work on my laptop I could attend to — I don't waste my time when waiting for any thing. However, I found it hard not to ride… when I was already in Tahoe.

First ride, Stagecoach loop: down Van Sickle, traverse Power Line, climb Cold Creek and Star Lake Connector Trails, and then descend Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT). As a bonus, I ran into Mr. Mud, just as I had planned, when he was climbing TRT towards Star. I gave him a very supportive kiss and we went separate ways.


MTBguru link

After that loop, I moved the car to the bottom of Mr. Toads awaiting for Mr. Mud's return. Again, I couldn't help but hop on my bike. Thought I would just ride the road up to the top of Armstrong Connector Trail, but when I reached it (after some hard laboring from the continuous climb because I was already very tired by then), I saw the sign for Armstrong Pass 4 miles away. I couldn't resist. It was a very enjoyable climb despite my slow pace. Finally, I turned around at the pass around 4:30, unbeknownst to me that Mr. Mud already returned to the car 20 minutes prior.

The descent was so fun! The descent from Armstrong Pass, aka Strongarm, was not an advanced trail, but still has its fair share of rocks, so I was very happy to reach its end without having putting a foot down. Next was Armstrong Connector, also my first time. I stopped cold at the top of big rock when I saw a woman who was just walking her bike down its right side around a tree. Her riding partner was already set up at the bottom of the rock to take photos. After seeing that it was rollable, I backed up a few feet and rode it. They cheered. I should have stopped to ask about getting the photo, but ended up keeping on riding because I had been feeling the urgency to return to the car knowing that Mr. Mud might have returned. After all, I was the self appointed SAG and I went off and played hooky!

Oh, talk about soul searching, I did a lot of that while "getting lost" on the endless turns and berms on Sidewinder. There was nobody around. Just me, the trees, and the trail. It was surreal.


MTBguru link

When I got back to the car, Mr. Mud had been back for an hour and 20 minutes, but he graciously shrugged off the long wait. We cleaned up again at the KOA shower, and had a relaxed dinner in a Korean restaurant in Folsom.

This trip officially concluded our Tahoe riding this year.

A few random things:

1) Didn't turn this into a group ride due to the silliness of driving all the way to Tahoe for just one day of riding and our lack of hard commitment.

2) Bought a USB battery pack for Mr. Mud's Garmin 800 before the trip. It was helpful.

3) No instant upload because I was fancying Korean food, and unfortunately, there was no Internet.

4) Experienced the worst tummy cramp myself today; thankfully, after the ride on the way home. Was so painful that I imagined giving birth (at least, I groaned like it). Mr. Mud said I should stop taking Accelorade because tummy ache had become a norm for me associated with big rides.  Well, we are done with big rides for a while for now.

5) This may even conclude big rides for us this year in general — we've gotta shift our focus to some other things in life now, for the people in the know, e.g. house remodeling and traveling.

6) Tahoe trashes drive train! I did not hesitate in riding down the rock steps down TRT, but boy, my big ring banged on those steps left and right! I don't think I can make eye contact with the big ring tomorrow — it must be in a very sad state right now.

7) Somebody does not pay attention to the indicators on the dashboard and when we arrived at Mt. Rose, the low gas indicator had been on for a while and the gauge was nearing the red bottom. I optimistically "remembered" it would be all downhill going towards Kingsbury, and it turned out anything but. I literally held my breath at every hill and wondered if the car would poop out. The stress probably took five years out of my life.

8) P.S. The coughs returned the night we got back, so I still have the chest infection!  No big deal now. I have all the time I need to baby this thing back to health.

9) Learned following from Mr. Crash's Strava ride comments:

  1. Eric Ellis   Looks like you had a great ride Mike. To clarify the "Super Punisher" is from Spooner to Toads. "Punisher" is from Kingsbury Grade to Toads. Rose to Toads is just Rose to Toads :)
  2. mudworm ~   I had been wondering about those terms, and glad to see them explained here. Thanks, Eric. "Rose to Toads is just Rose to Toads." Classic! :)
  3. Mike 'MrCrash' Solis   Good to know, Eric! My familiarity with Tahoe is pretty weak – couldn't tell you half of the landmarks of that ride.Did a quick search – looks like someone (Ron of SBTS) did Rose to Toads last year, and coined it the 'Uber Punisher':http://forums.mtbr.com/california-norcal/rose-toads-uber-punisher-solo-ride-732446.html
  4. Eric Ellis   His ride was "uber" but it was a Rose to Toads.
  5. mudworm ~   Hmm… solo Rose to Toads = "uber." I think I'll pass the message on to the hubby, Mr. Mud, that he just did an uber ride. :)

Some photos from the day:

I waved goodbye to Mr. Mud from Mt. Rose parking lot.

Sun was already high over the Mt. Rose Meadow.

Mr. Mud continued on the climb to Star Lake after we passed each other.

See the problem in his middle chain ring? (The little chain ring is fairly new.)

All photos from the album:

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8 Responses

  1. Dirk dBon 10 Sep 2012 at 7:48 am

    Both of you are pretty amazing!

    Crazy solo effort by Mr. Mud. Love your 'I have to time to waste time during waiting' attitude, and toughing out (even with a bit of drugs) what must be a quite unwelcome cold. I think I recognize that big rock your mentioned on the connector trail; quite rollable, but rather intimidating at first sight.
    Maybe it was the combination of Korean food + Accelorade that posed a problem?

    Btw, can I please twist your arm to do one more 'big ride'? In your current shape, I think both of you will destroy a certain big Coe ride ;)

    mudworm

    The Korean food was a welcome stop when my cramps got unbearable, so it was not to be blamed. I don't even know if Accelorade was it because I downed many different bottles of beverages on and after the rides. Hate to be finicky about what I eat and drink, but it happens quite often that my tummy would give me trouble on or after big rides. Hmmm… maybe I should do some experiments.

    One more 'big ride'? I kinda wrote that 'conclusion' sentence with you in my mind. ;)

  2. Mudon 10 Sep 2012 at 9:08 am

    Thank you again for putting this together and providing the SAG. After the ride last weekend I really wanted to know what I could do. You made it happen. Without your motivation I would not have done this ride because that room was plush and I would have stayed till they kicked me out.

    You do fail to mention that the last half of the ride last weekend we were chasing you!

    mudworm

    A SAG that went and played hooky. ;)

    For the readers, the "plush room" was a one-bedroom condo in Squaw Valley. For us having lived with a stripped down kitchen and without a living room (filled with tools and no furniture) for a year, that condo was luxurious! I didn't want to leave either!

    Patrick Herlihy

    Yes indeed – nobody was waiting for you after Kingsbury, mudworm (if not before).

    Very impressive – I thought about riding it solo too, but alas I lack someone willing to give up a day to shuttle me! I get one more Tahoe ride in this weekend but nothing epic like this. You two are amazing!

    I know you're feeling the pressure of your on-hold house remodeling project but the Coe 100 is right in your wheelhouse now – please, please both consider riding it! It's not that far away!

    mudworm

    Patrick, I thought about asking you if you wanted to do the ride solo with Mr. Mud (if that made sense), but we remained non-committal until the last minute due to work and my coughs. I even said to Mud that you seem to already have your whole year's weekends planned out with your many annual traditions and doubt that you'd be free. BTW, your weekend sounded very fulfilling and awesome too — singing for a good cause and helping a friend achieve his first century! :thumbup:

  3. Tomon 10 Sep 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Pretty sure I crossed paths with him between Monument Pass and Star Lake (I was descending) – he was hammering! Good job!

    mudworm

    That's the whole idea for this ride! Good to know that he didn't slack off when I was not watching. :D Apparently, you and I went in the same direction although I was a bit ahead of you — I crossed paths with him when I was descending from Monument Pass. It was a beautiful day to be riding up there, wasn't it?