Monday, October 20, 2008

Long day, just what the doctor ordered!

“You can't always get what you want,
no you can't always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes,
you just might find,
you get what you need.”

-The Rolling Stones

Sunday we started riding nice and early. Brian, Luke, Allison and I set out from Hurkey Creek campground for a long day in the saddle.

As it turns out, Dave Turner was doing a demo day and was setting up his wares as we took off. I stopped to say “Hi” on our way out of the parking lot.

The route:
We rode up Keen Camp, through the Meadow, up the fire road to Buena Vista, down that all the way to the crappy HAB, up to Lower Southridge, up that to May Valley Road, down Sunset Trail, up to Ernie Maxwell, out and back on that, up to “Cherry on the Top”, down Southridge, down Snake Skin, up to Tres Hombres, down that, down the 24hr course and back to the cars.

So the totals for the day were around 30 miles and 4500ft of climbing. I have to say that I am totally wiped out from chasing the two skinny guys all day. Luke and Brian are both over 20lbs lighter than I am and trying to keep up with them on the climbs really takes a toll on me.

I tried for most of the day to push my pace and hold onto their wheels, but more often than not I wound up in no-manns land between them and Allison.

I did notice that all the climbs seemed shorter than the last time I rode them. That is a good thing, as I figure it reflects directly on my fitness level.

The trails were in horrible shape. There has apparently been a ton of horse traffic, and nearly every trail up there has had the trail tread pulverized into deep sand. The added difficulty of riding in 4” deep sand all day is an inconvenience, the real tragedy is that the sand makes it impossible to ride the fun technical stuff while climbing.

I managed to ride a few things, but was saddened at the shape of the trails. It seems that without some rain, a Pugsley will be the bike of choice for the trails up there.

While out riding we did have one major problem. On Lower Southridge there was a fallen pine tree across the trail. As we started to pick our way through the broken branches we realized there were horses on the other side.

I guess the horsemen had decided that since a tree had fallen in the trail they were going to blaze a new trail around it. They set about cutting a huge swath for their beasts of burden through a forest of living Manzanita. Seeing as how the huge group (more than 20 horses) was blocking the single track, we were forced to stand and watch as they hacked and sawed through living Manzanita trees. Finally after standing around for 10 or 15 minutes the horses stomped through the new path and we were able to move on.

It crazes me to think of the irony, the fact that people on horses have so many more legal places to ride in the designated “Wilderness” areas, yet their impact on the environment is so much more severe.

In any case, I got exactly what I needed. :)

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