Sunday, November 30th, 2008

MTB: Henry Coe 10k

It started out as a challenge after a “failed” attempt the weekend before (see the story below).  The goal is to ride 10k at Henry Coe, in one day, where 10k refers to the total vertical feet of climbing.  We first heard of this notion on MTBR, and for whatever reason, it had an immediate appeal to us. However, for whatever reason, we waited until now when there are only about 10 hours of light from sun rise to sun set (21 days before winter solstice).

We made an early start for this ride — rolling at 7:50am, the earliest I had done for a MTB ride, I think. It was cold. While riding on the road from Hunting Hollow parking lot to Coyote Creek Entrance, I found myself thinking “I would be really happy just sitting in my couch whole day.”  Thankfully, once we hit Spike Jones Trail, we warmed up fast and was peeling off layers soon.  For the rest of the day until the very end coming back down Coit Road, I was able to ride in my short sleeve jersey comfortably, which pretty much made it a perfect day for riding at Henry Coe. Following is a run down of our ride:

The route: 

We started from HH, did the Spike Jones/Timm side loop first before we took Grizzly Gulch to Dexter. Later we took Domino Pond, Cattle Duster, and Grapevine back to Coit Road. After that we went to HQ by way of China Hole and Manzanita. It was 1:20pm when we left HQ, so I was a little nervous about the limited daylight left, but I kept it to myself. Flat Frog, Middle Ridge, Poverty Flat, Jackass, Shafer Corral, the Narrows, Lost Spring, Mahoney Meadow, Coit Road led us back out.


1. 20 miles without a derailleur

This was my first 10k attempt, but Erik and Derek’s second. They went to Coe last Sunday amidst Erik’s stubborn cold when I was in China. Leo, a Derek’s friend, joined the ride as well. Following is from an email Erik sent me about their ride:

” We took Coit Road up to Mahoney Meadows to China Hole then up Manzanita.  We all rode fairly close together until just before going into the woods.  Derek and I heard Leo cursing a bit behind us but thought nothing of it.  We both figured he blew a shift or a switchback….Turns out when we heard the cursing he had broke his derailleur off of his bike.  He shortened his chain to try and make it a single speed but the chain kept coming off.  He pushed, hiked and biked to Coe Headquarters.
We had originally planed on a 10K. … We discussed many options and basically it came down to Leo did not want to wait for us while we finished the ride even if we rode straight back.
So Derek and I rode and Leo rode, biked and hiked.  He actually made decent time except coming up China Hole.  It took him about 40 minutes from the time that I topped out.  Derek and I had a good chat.  When Leo topped out he just kept on motoring on by not even really slowly down to say hi.  Derek and I geared up and were really surprised how far he got before we caught him.  Well we actually caught up to his chain first.  After we had gone a fair bit and were wondering if some how he got off the road Derek looked down and said “Hey a Chain”  He rolled it up and put it in his pocket.  We kept going on.  Eventually we saw him up the road a ways.  He was carrying his bike up over his shoulder and really making good time.  When he got to the top of a hill he dropped his bike coasted to the next hill then he would throw his bike up on his shoulder and keep motoring on.  Those Montana boys are tough. ”

Oh BTW, with that glitch, they still rode 39 miles with 9113′ of climbing (per Garmin Training Center). If you look at Motionbased, it is 10,277′; or MTBguru says 11,972′ . I told them that the latter two did not count. :biggrin:

2. Derek’s Saddle Condom

That’s what Erik called it when Derek installed this thing, some neoprene cover, on his saddle in the morning: Riding behind Derek ways climbing out of China Hole, I saw Derek constantly shifting his body on the bike and I knew the cover did not help much. On the entire 45 mile ride, it was not my gluts or my quads that were most sore.  I wanted a portable miniature water bed integrated in my saddle!

3. Pick up trash

Before the ride, Derek assigned us a mission: everyone must pick up a piece of trash on the ride. However, it seems that either Coe visitors are all so disciplined that nobody leaves her trash behind or I was just so blurry or cross eyed on our tiring ride that I could not see any. By the end of the day, when we started riding down Coit Road in the fading light, I was still empty handed while both of them had fulfilled their mission.  I was going to start picking up rocks from the road just for the sake of picking. Then we came to an abrupt stop near the exit at the Coyote Entrance when we came to a couple who were pushing their bikes due to a flat tire. The guy tried Derek’s hand pump first, and with each stoke, the sky got darker yet the tire barely inflated. After hearing Derek commented a CO2 cartrige would be much faster, I pulled out my cartridge and pump, which I always carried for emergency yet luckily never needed. I was amazed how fast it was to inflate a tire once we figured out how the pump worked. With that, the couple were were able to get back on their bikes and rode back to the parking lot with us.  So, in the end, even though I did not have a piece of trash in my pocket, my two companions let me off the mission because of the “good deed” I did by offering my CO2 cartridge. Sweet!

4.  Ride it or hike it?

Coe is still fairly dry, but we did cross two or three creeks on the ride. Erik and I rode them all — it was just too much effort to get off the bike. One creek had a deep hole in the middle that we both got our shoes soaked. However, Derek, being Asian, was not going to let his bike get wet and he didn’t want his shoes to touch water either. It was almost comical watching Derek meticulously crossing creeks.

6. Derek, KOM!

Derek used to have cramping problem, so he rode conservatively most of the time. So, it was a pattern that we followed on uphill sections that Erik led, I stayed in the middle, and Derek came up last.  When we arrived at the infamous “Mahoney Wall”, a steep climb on Mahoney Meadow Road near the end of the ride, Erik and I got off our bikes and started pushing slowly. To our surprise, Derek rode up, passed us, and continued up! Erik and I watched him thoroughly impressed and started cheering him from behind.  Only 6 feet short of the top of the “Mahoney Wall”, suddenly he stepped off. Oh, so close! Later, Derek explained to us when went through his head. “I thought I would push myself hard riding that thing, maybe for bragging right or for a man badge, or whatever. But when I got close to the top, I was able to see beyond the top of the ‘wall’ and all I saw was more endless climbing although at a less angle. I asked myself ‘why?'” Haha, why? Haven’t we all been there?

7. Let’s do 15k!

Yep, you’ve heard it. The saddle sore from last ride barely faded, Derek was already proposing a 15k ride at Coe, and Erik responded agreeingly. Are they mad or what???


All the photos have been uploaded to our gallery. Following are a few highlights:

Cold in the morning

Derek got the KOM’s anger

How romantic!

Down Jackass

Are we there yet?

When we hit the road after the minor delay helping the flat couple, it was this dark. But if you click and look closely, you can see the white boundary lines on the road. With their guidance, we did not have to pull out our headlamps on the last two miles of riding on the road back to our cars. Charlie has posted this information about the interesting layout of the moon, Jupiter, and Venus.

4 Responses

  1. Charlieon 08 Dec 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Great and entertaining write-up, thank you. 10k at Coe is an awesome accomplishment, all should be proud! [A “thumbs-up” emoticon goes here.]

    15k at Coe…eek!!!!


  2. mudwormon 09 Dec 2008 at 4:29 pm

    > 15k at Coe. eek!!!

    That’s exactly what I said.

    Hey Charlie, I saw your post about Coe trail work this coming Saturday. We feel bad that we are going to have to miss this one because of an appointment. Big thumbs up to all of you who do this kind of hard work regularly.

  3. Patrickon 10 Dec 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Mei I really enjoyed this too.. I’m envious as I’ve yet to do 10K on the MTB and I’m not sure there’s enough daylight left to do it for a few months.

    Have you done 10K on the road bike? I’m signing up for the Death Ride tomorrow – 16K & 139 mi.. 😮

    I grabbed your 10K route from motionbased – I haven’t done some of those trails so going to follow your tracks at some point. Also want to follow your Mississippi Lake expedition!

  4. mudwormon 10 Dec 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Hi Patrick, actually, if you start early enough, the routes we did can be fairly leisurely covered during the daylight. After all, we did it and we were not fast. The additional good news is the sun will start setting later day by day from Dec 12 on. You can do it!

    Death Ride? Sounds fun! We have not done as much road riding this year as we wanted to and I myself have neither done a century nor a 10k. But I overheard Derek and Erik scheming a double century for ’09. I have a feeling that they want to get rid of me or something.