Saturday, June 14th, 2008

MTB: Henry Coe Trail Work/Ride

[Note: This was my post on MTBR, where I learned about this event.]

8AM at Coe HQ? That’s just too early! But Erik said since we had so much fun on our last ride (note: my only Coe ride), we should give something back. That makes sense.

It was an impressive turnout — nine volunteers showed up for the trail work. Paul, the organizer from ROMP, per protocal, read the rights that we don’t have from a piece of paper and gave a speech, “Blah blah blah… You don’t have to work harder than you feel like to. Blah blah blah…” Equipped with the new knowledge, we got on our bikes and headed out.

Normally, with a group of this size, I could always find someone of my riding ability, but not on this ride — everyone was a much better rider than me. They disappeared on Flat Frog Trail within the first couple of minutes. Some sort of competition must have been going on. Charlie, Skyline35, who I later found out is an impressively strong and fluid rider, chose to sweep. I felt bad while going down Middle Ridge knowing that he could have gone much faster if not for me, but in the mean time, his company gave me a sense of security that there would be someone there to pick up the deadbody if called for.

It was my first time going up the notorious Poverty Flat Road. It lived up to its reputation — I had to push on two occasions. But Charlie cleared it without any problem. Dam, I need to get stronger and better!

We all met up at the top of Jackass Trail. The ranger Eric was there with his truck. It was hot, but the breeze made it tolerable. The guys worked hard at it and the achievements were notable –two major obstacles (downed trees) were cleared from the trail, some sections were rerouted for a better flow, and many unfriendly dead/live branches were pruned.

After the trail work, two small groups set out for two different rides. Chris, Roy, and Paul went to do a longer ride (ended up ~25 miles) that involved more climbing; Patrick, Charlie, Jordan, Erik, I, and ranger John who later joined us took another route: Jackass down -> Poverty Flat back up -> Shafer Corral Trail -> Narrows Trail -> Mahoney Meadows Road -> Lost Sprint Trail -> Chinal Hole Trail -> Mananita Point Road -> HQ. Our ride turned out to be around 21 miles with around 5000′ of ascent. (Source: Motionbased and MTBGuru).

As Patrick already reported above, his 3 month old rim suddenly snapped mysteriously that resulted in a spectacular endo while going down Jackass Trail, so he had to take the VIP seat in ranger John’s truck back to HQ. I’m almost certain that this unexpected episode will be talked about by everyone on the ride for the years to come — it does make perfect conversation material among mountain bikers, doesn’t it?

Jordan, aka climb_for_fun, impressed everyone when he cleared all the tough climbs including “Mahoney Wall”, but he ran out of juice later on China Hole and suffered cramps. He didn’t run out of water though because he carried 7 liters of water with him (this is his first time to Coe). On the other hand, I had a different problem — I ran out of water 3 miles from the HQ. Although I knew Jordan had offered water to everyone, I decided to keep my Coe experience real — what’s riding Coe without having run out of water? So, I just slowly but surely ground my way up China Hole and the fire road. I was definitely not going at a speed to drop a fat fly that started following me ways while dancing around my head. But when a spider started building her web around my helmet and glasses, now, that was just plain annoying! “I know I’m slow, but would you leave me alone, Miss Spider?” (I’m not very good at taking either hand off the bar, so I had to blow air upward to get rid of her.)

When we got back to HQ, we all took our time cleaning up and chatting to each other (and later the other group also returned). It was a lot of talking — I think we all got some endorphin rush going. Everyone had a big smile on his face. Oh, that was a great day!

Group shots:

Before the ride from HQ. Everyone looked fresh.

Everyone except Chris taking a little break — the sun just sucks the energy out of you even though you are not riding. From left: Mike, Roy, Erik, Paul, ranger Eric, Charlie, Patrick, Jordan. (I’m no longer sure about everyone’s MTBR handle.)

Here is Chris who’s missing in the above group shot. That might be the only time he sat down.

Action shots:


I’m posting this picture just to show how good Charlie’s picture looks (see the top).

Now listen up, these trees have been photographed by Charlie (both horiztonal and vertical)! Nobody should take more pictures of these trees any more. I’m making this annoucement because to my knowledge, it was Charlie who started the trend of photographing puffballs, but it was Dan who got the most praises for his cute puffball picture. Charlie has been out-puffballed! Unfair.

For all the pictures from my camera, visit my gallery.

Oh, I’ve gotta press the Post button now. I see Charlie is also reading this thread. Maybe he is ready to post his pictures. Gotta beat him to it.