Saturday we ventured south and east to go ride Noble Canyon (plus some other trails). It has been quite a while since we rode there which sucks because it is a fabulous place to ride. Luke rode down with us in The Max and we met up with Alex at the trailhead.
We had the pleasant surprise of running into Mark in the parking lot. He is really a great guy to ride with, and he is a great companion on road trips as well. We also saw Steve who is less of a fan of us than we are of him. No worries here though. I don’t spend any time worrying about the haters.
I wish my Lunchbox was in good working order, but it isn’t so this was the maiden voyage for my XC race bike on Noble. I had previously ridden the SIR9 with 80 and 100mm of travel so I had an idea of what I was in for. The AIR9 with 80mm of travel would never be the first bike I would choose for this ride, in fact riding it was a bad idea as you will find out shortly.
The day was pretty much perfect. Trail conditions were great compared to Idyllwild. In all honesty Socal really needs rain, but all things considered the trails in and around Noble were quite nice. At first I was taking my time and chatting with Mark but when we hit the asphalt climb I poured on some coal to see how the motor would respond. The pedals ticked over quickly the whole way up. I was first to the tree so I dropped back down past Allison and then climbed the top section again with her.
Shortly after this is where my day started to go awry.
On the descent towards Indian Creek Trail my bottle popped out of the cage. My King cages have never failed me before. This was a first and now I will be nervous during races! I didn’t notice the missing bottle, but luckily Allison saw it and picked it up.
As we started climbing up Indian Creek I noticed a strange sensation, it seemed like maybe my cleat was moving around a lot on the pedal. I made a mental note to check it out at the top of the climb, but things went pear shaped before I got there. Just after clearing a rocky section the trail kicked up and I turned up the pedal pressure… SNAP! My left crank arm popped free and rotated. WTF?!?! So after some time screwing around it turns out that the bolt that holds the left crank arm on my new XTR cranks had worked free and now I had sheared off a portion of the splines. Major bummer. I got it all back together (good enough for now) and finished off the climb.
At the top we all regrouped and then started down “Pinball”. I took up the last spot, dumb move. I wound up flatting near the bottom. By the time I got it fixed I was quite a ways behind the rest of the group.
We refilled our water up at Penny Pines and then continued up Agua Dulce after Big Laguna. When we started down Middle Earth I rode over a rock and my butt contacted the saddle on the landing… POP!!!! My Easton EC70 seat post had snapped. Good thing most of the climbing was already out of the way! I slammed the post into the seat tube and continued on (not something that is good for my knee, but what could I do?).
Now it was time for some quality descending. We headed down Noble Canyon and the fun meter was pegged. I stopped to chat with a rider that had taken a hard fall and hurt his arm. He was looking for a bail out and I gave him directions. Back to pegging the fun meter until…
Yeah you guessed it, another pinch flat for me. Good thing I had three spare tubes with me!
Descending Noble Canyon is a blast especially when you add the challenge of doing it on a little bike. I didn’t have any further problems descending. The straw that broke the camel’s back happened while climbing. I was climbing up Organ Donor and was right near the top when I managed to get my front tire hung up and my weight all wrong. I went over the bars (yes you read that right, OTB on a CLIMB). Granted Organ Donor is pretty chunky and technical, but I wasn’t expecting to crash going uphill! In the tumble I managed to put a big gouge in the lowers of my pretty white Fox F29 fork, and bent the RD hanger enough to put my RD into the spokes. CRAP!
For the rest of the ride I didn’t push my luck. I kept the pedal pressure light and walked the uphills. I still managed to ride the steep switchback and Stairway to Hell, but bailed out shortly afterward to ride down the asphalt to the parking lot. I wanted to ride Whore and Extra Credit, but they are always there for next time.
After completing the ride we were cleaning up and I talked to the riding partner of the guy who had fallen and hurt his arm. He didn’t have a key to the car so I drove up the road and picked up his fallen friend. They were both very thankful, I just figured after the day I had I needed to try and get some good Karma!
Sunday Allison and I rode at Daley Ranch. It was a great ride and I was so proud to see her clean Cardiac and all the other really steep pitches.
What a great weekend of riding with the wife and friends. This is what life is all about!