Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Want the ride that bad? Make it happen. MTB Tahoe Donner to Nevada City 83 miles

On the evening of July 9 while I was still at work, I received an email from Mr. Mud with this content:

I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really,

Did I say really, want to do this ride.

http://forums.mtbr.com/california-norcal/anyone-up-truckee-nevada-city-920934.html

I took a look at the forum thread on the Truckee to Nevada City (T2NC) ride and could not really (did I say really too?) understand why he wanted to do the ride because at the time, nobody really (dang, it's habitual now) raved about it, nor had we done anything other than HITG on that route, but I sent a simple reply:

If you want to do the ride that bad, you will make it happen.

Well, part of making it happen was to schedule our one week vacation around the date, July 26. This was to be our only MTB vacation planned this year, so we might as well end it on a dream ride of Mr. Mud's. So, I PM'ed the ride organizer, Sean Allen, and signed up. It appeared that there would be six of us riding it. As far as I could tell, it would be four elite/pro level endurance riders, and us two common folks (I borrowed the term from Tahoe Sierra 100). Well, actually, Mr. Mud had much better technical ability than me and usually was stronger, so I felt that I would be the drag to everybody, which was the last thing I wanted. So I offered to the group that I would solo the more direct version of the ride while the guys go for the more macho version, so we could finish not too far apart. I also figured that a big group could play in my favor because usually, someone in the group inevitably would want to take a break here and there while I could just keep rolling. I really could — once I did a 9+ hour MTB ride with only 5+ minutes of stoppage time.

Fast forward ten days, we started our vacation on Saturday, July 19. An "All of Skeggs" ride kicked it off. Monday through Wednesday saw us riding at Downieville, Graeagle, and South Lake Tahoe. Mr. Mud decided to take Thursday off to give his legs a rest so he could hang with the guys on Saturday. It was not my concern because I knew no amount of rest could help me there, so I took advantage of  Mr. Mud's shuttle and went for a solo adventure of from Echo Summit, to Brynt Meadow, Sayles Canyon, and Lovers Leap. When I returned, I could sense something was not right because disappointment was written all over Mr. Mud's face. As it turned out, all others had backed out of the ride for various reasons such as wife, car, heat, or life in general. All were understood, but that did leave the two of us hanging high and dry without a shuttle for the ride. Sean mentioned postponing the ride, but for us flat landers, it is not that easy to pull off a dawn to dusk Saturday ride 5 hours away after a long work week, so essentially to us, it meant the ride was canceled. I looked at Mr. Mud's bummed out face, thought for a second, and said to him loud and clear:

Don't worry. If you want the ride that bad, we will make it happen.

He was not certain what I meant (me either), but since he didn't have other guys to "hang with," he no longer needed to save his legs. So I dropped him off to ride Brynt Meadow, Sayles, and Lovers Leap. Upon return, he made remarks on his ride post and to a friend that included "Death to flowy trails" and "Glad those guys bailed because I really liked that ride." Ha, you never know what life brings to you by coincidence.

Fast forward again to Friday evening after we each did a couple of fun downhill runs off Armstrong Connector and Corral, I still did not know exactly how "we will make it happen." I called the bike shop in Nevada City for a shuttle by the end of the ride, and was told it's just not something they do. Hmmm… then… I made up my mind:

If he want the ride that bad, I will make it happen.

I would send him off to do the ride solo and pick him up at the end of the ride. It would be bummer that I could not join his exciting adventure especially because Sean Allen had told me "It will be more technical and chunky as compared to anything on the Rim Trail at times…"  But at least I could do something on my own too such as DLRT+HITG. More importantly, the ride was Mr. Mud's dream, and this was the only way I could think of to make it happen. But…was it the only way? As it happened:

If we want the ride that bad, he will make it happen.

Yep, God sent a Trail Angel to us (not that we were religious, but that's irrelevant). He let us stay at his place in Truckee close to the route start (so we didn't even have to move the car) and offered to pick us up after our ride without any hesitation. I had to pinch myself to believe it was happening, and yes,

The ride — Truckee to Nevada City — really happened, to Mr. Mud and me!

And what a ride that was! I can say now with confidence that it was one of the most difficult routes I had done! The most memorable was the endless beat up OHV roads after HITG that were loose, chunky, (sometimes both at the same time) and steep at times (up or down). It took us 7+ hours just to cover the first 40 miles — half way! The later miles didn't go that fast either. If you didn't look at the track closely, you would think (like I did before the ride), a lot of it was riding on Hwy 20 — fast miles, right? No, there was not an inch on Hwy 20! Who knew that they put in singletrack in and out right next to Hwy 20 for miles on end. When we were pressed on time, the fast surface of the highway looked very tempting, which we could sometimes see as close as 10 feet away, but we stuck to the dirt. The dirt was not always the best dirt — there were long stretches that, at least this time of the year, was covered in a thick layer of moon dust, dirty and bad for traction. Oh, despite the GPS track, this ride was quite an adventure! Often times, the GPS signal was lost in the woods, so it was not clear to us where our track should be. That resulted in wasted miles due to backtracking. And then, there was crawling under very low water pipes, bushwhacking cross country, and riding through branches and leaves so closed in on the narrow trail that you could not see more than three feet ahead.

It was also on this ride that I had confirmed the Big Bang Theory — the universe is indeed expanding. We were riding on that Pioneer Trail along Hwy 20. I looked down at my GPS, and it was showing 57.1 miles. We rode for a looooong time, and I looked down, 57.2. How could that be possible?! It was not just me. Mr. Mud made the comment, "it seems that we can never hit 60 miles. I'm afraid to look down now." It literally felt like 10 miles of riding for the GPS to advance from 57 to 60! The universe is definitely expanding on Pioneer Trail!

However, despite the technical difficulties of the riding, the space warp, and our mechanical (a tire leak that took a while to fix), we prevailed. We even opted to finish the bonus dirt detour to Scotts Lake even though we could have taken some fast roads directly back to Nevada City. It just went dark when we rode into the town center — oh yeah, we forgot to pack any lights. Done!

We linked our photos to our Strava Activities (easiest to do). We really took our time taking the photos (in the first half of the ride where the views were more stunning). Once, Mr. Mud asked me to reride a section three times! Check them out!

Here is a goofy one (and we spent some time out there to make it):

 

More pictures…

From my phone camera:

  • IMG 3993
  • IMG 3995
  • IMG 3997
  • IMG 3999
  • IMG 4002
  • IMG 4021
  • IMG 4024
  • IMG 4033
  • IMG 4035
  • IMG 4036
  • IMG 4037
  • IMG 4038
  • IMG 4039
  • IMG 4042
  • IMG 4045
  • IMG 4048
  • IMG 4049
  • IMG 4050
  • IMG 4051
  • IMG 4052
  • IMG 4053

 

From his phone camera:

  • IMG 1200
  • IMG 1201
  • IMG 1204
  • IMG 1206
  • IMG 1207
  • IMG 1210
  • IMG 1211
  • IMG 1213
  • IMG 1214
  • IMG 1215
  • IMG 1216
  • IMG 1217

Comments are closed.