Sunday, March 28th, 2010

MTB: She Tricked Me! (FTM’s First Coe Ride)

Mei Tricked Me!

That was what Derek had been claiming all day, to himself and to anyone within earshot. Well, I didn’t really mean to trick him; it was some unforeseen circumstance. When Derek said the day before in an email he was planning to ride alone because he hadn’t been riding much and would be slow, I said to him, “don’t worry. Erik is sick and he hasn’t been riding at all.”  But this morning, Erik woke up and could barely breathe because his sinuses were severely congested and his throat was almost swollen shut. I, did what any considerate wife would do, abandoned him at home and drove out for my first Coe ride on my new bike. He would have felt guilty if I had stayed home.

I think I said the same thing (about Erik being sick) to my friend Jeanne. She is a strong and skilled rider and has been riding everywhere but Henry Coe. Her last ride there was in 1998! I guess finally my constant raving about Coe got her interested enough to commit to a ride with me. Nervous about how she might hold up on a Coe ride, she was also disappointed to see Erik did not show up. Guess everybody was counting on Erik to keep the pace slow.

I just didn’t see what the problem was. It’s not like I ever go fast. (I wanted to, but I’m a “mudworm”, remember?!) Plus, on this trip, I had my mind occupied on the whole ride because I was still getting to know my new bike. When I stopped, I was always fumbling with the bike, such as the seat post height, the saddle position, the fork rebound and compression, etc. There are drastic differences between my old bike (which Jeanne caught me many times calling “my own bike”) and the new bike, so my body was quite shocked and it made sure to let me know by sending out pains from various joints that I never had problems before. I don’t worry about it too much because I know I can get to know her (my new bike) really well some day. I just need to pay attention and be patient. Until then, I must take it easy.

By Coe standards, this was an easy ride : Hunting Hollow Parking Lot -> R: Gilroy Hot Springs Road -> Coit Road -> R: Spike Jones -> R: Timm Trail -> R: Coit Road -> R: Anza -> R: Jackson -> Elderberry Sprint Trail ->L: Rock Tower Trail -> L: Domino Pond Trail -> L: Cattle Duster Trail ->L: Coit Springs Trail -> S: Grapevine Trail -> R: Coit Road -> L: Mahoney Meadows Road -> China Hole Trail -> Played at the first tight switchback from the Hole and then turned around -> China Hole Trail -> Mahoney Meadows Road -> S: Coit Road -> R: Cross Canyon Trail -> R: Grapevine Trail -> L: Anza -> L: Coit Road -> S: Gilroy Hot Springs Road -> Hunting Hollow Parking Lot. (29.5 mi/5848′)

On this ride, I wrecked on a big log pile on Timm Trail. At that time, my fork was set up too soft and the rebound was a bit too slow, or I might have tapped the brake. Anyway, when I dropped down the back side of the pile, the bar tanked and then went sideways and I got ejected onto the ground. First thing, I checked the bike. Not a scratch, great! Me? I would have a bruised butt cheek to live with for a few days. Ouch! Well, I guess I got that out of the way, next was the mud. Over all, Coe was in its prime condition. We did cross a couple of creeks, one on Coit Road and one at China Hole. Then, there was mud here and there at a few other spots. I’m glad to announce that the FTM has seen mud!

The bike excelled on climbs. For example, it did not have much trouble clearing Anza/Jackson. When it comes to rocky descent (e.g. on Grapevine) and going over ditches, I sometimes found either too much of my weight was on the handle bar or the front wheel bounced around a bit. As I said earlier, it’s just a matter of time to get her figured out. One thing I can tell ya, my new ride is pretty sophisticated.

Despite the humble cries from both Derek and Jeanne that they wanted an easy ride, they both handled the ride very well. Derek frequently pulled a wheelie here and there when I happened to have my camera out, and Jeanne displayed her solid skill throughout the ride. We played on the skinny (see my previous ride report) at the gate, but none of us had real impressive result there. We also spent time at that really tight right hand switchback right out of China Hole towards HQ. I got interested in trying it after seeing Drew ride up it (twice) in a video. Jeanne and Derek are the kind that enjoy this kind of challenges, so they readily agreed to pay a visit. It turned out they were more obsessed than me. I tried it multiple times before deciding it was still beyond my grasp and I spent much time video taping hoping to capture their success. Unfortunately, no success came out of this trip. Well, that just give everyone a reason to keep going back to Henry Coe!

I ran into many people on this ride. Charlie at the parking lot before he headed out to look for wild flower displays. Then I ran into Jay, Mike, Sue, Georgia, and Eddy. I got to know these people just by running into them from time to time on my Coe rides. Ranger Rob drove up the road just then. He must have been doing some maintenance work again. We then ran into Travis, who had just put up a well received Henry Coe MTB race the day before (see the MTBR thread), and he was there on his mountain bike to collect all the ribbons and signs on the singletracks while his dad drove a truck to meet him at the outlets so Travis could empty his duffelbag he was carrying. We saw them again when we got back to the car. It’s a lot of hard work to put together a race.

After we go back to Coit Road from China Hole, we decided to take the fun way back — Cross Canyon to Grapevine to Anza. We ran into two mountain bikers at Cross Canyon and Coit Road intersection. At that moment, they were giving their bikes a rest by walking along side of them. They were apparantly inspired by the race talk online and decided to give one of the race courses a go themselves. They only had a printed map and it was late in the day already. I gave them my map and gently pointed out how far Tule Pond Trail was from where we were before we split. I was quite relieved when I saw them at the parking lot when we returned. They turned around and found their way back via a fast way. It’s probably a good idea to give yourself more daylight for exploring Henry Coe the first time. And, I was happy to have my map back.

Well, that should concludes this quick writeup. Not really well organized or well thought out, but I had to type fast before going to bed. Just finished it off while eating my lunch.

20100328 FTM's First Coe Ride

2 Responses

  1. Patrick Herlihyon 29 Mar 2010 at 11:50 am

    Twice the Grapevine = twice the fun.. nice 🙂

    Isn’t it fun dialing in a new bike! I remember taking my Stumpy out for its very first ride at Waterdog with a friend.. coming down Upper Creek I felt confident enough to jump one of the waterbars. I hadn’t set the rebound on the rear shock *at all* so as soon as I landed it bounced me right back up over the handle bars!

    I hope the forecast rain for this week turns out to be nothing much. Gotta get back to Coe next weekend and get more of the wildflowers!

  2. mudwormon 29 Mar 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Coe was green this weekend. Flowers were abundant. With the cool weather these two weeks, the spring scene may last awhile before everything turns brown.
    Yeah, I can’t wait to get my bike fully dialed in.