Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Year’s Day Hangover Ride….


This year was the second annual New Year’s Day hangover ride. There are only two rules for this ride.
1. Go someplace new
2. You have to be there no matter how bad you feel or how late you got to bed.

Now the hangover portion of the name is probably a misnomer since most of us, being solidly into our “middle age years” really don’t party like we used to. And I know that some of us, me specifically, never even saw midnight as we were asleep well before that time. Still it’s a good name and I’m sticking with it.

Last year, we did Henry Coe Park which was probably one of the toughest mt. bike rides I’ve ever done. (Actually calling it a ride is probably being generous since I was on the single speed and probably hiked almost as much as I rode) Still it was an amazing ride and it was a total adventure.
As you can imagine being the first of January, temps were a little chilly. I knew this because the entire parking lot was frozen solid and every puddle was an ice hazard waiting to slide your bike out from under you.
The day actually warmed up nicely though and we ended up with blue skies and warm temperatures.

This year we decided on Montebello and Saratoga Gap. Technically some of us had ridden here before, but for the majority of the riders it was new so we figure it qualifies.
We had 10 riders and the morning was cool and damp, but not too bad. I think the fog was keeping the temperature moderate.
This ride starts out with a nice little warm up climb of about 5 ½ miles and 2000ft. It’s all on the road though so it’s not really as bad as it would be if it was in the dirt.
About the half way point Trace was able to sneakily wedge something in his chain causing it to break and thereby getting a nice little 15 minute break. (he claims it “just happened” but I’m not sure I buy it)

One of the coolest parts of the ride was when, part way up the hill, we popped out above the fog and were treated to some amazing vistas. It looks almost like you could walk across the fog to the other side of the bay.

At the top of the hill we regrouped and got ready for the fun. I actually enjoy climbing on the bike. It’s always a good workout and, like hitting my head against the wall, it always feels so good when I stop.

One of the best things about the Montebello loop is that with the majority of the climbing done in the beginning, the rest is all pretty much downhill. Sure there were some rollers, but almost the entire remaining ride is downhill. And it’s fun downhill. There are long swooping fireroads, some nice narrow single track, a creek to ride through and plenty of opportunities to get your bike in the air if you’re inclined to do so.

At the end of the loop you come back to the road and it’s a nice fast downhill for a ways then one small climb back to the parking lot. With my extra winter mass I’m actually pretty fast on the downhill portions. I was in the big ring pedaling like crazy as we started up the climb I felt good and passed Chris thinking I was going to hammer my way to the top and finish strong…..unfortunately, about 2/3rds of the way up the hill, my tank ran dry…..Paul passed me throwing out something about being old, fat and slow…..and I limped back to the truck thoroughly spent and grinning like an idiot……

Here's a fun little vid of the creek crossing

Of course we followed the ride with a bbq which included hot dogs, pancit (which is the food of the gods),beer and those little miniature brownie things that are more addicting than crack.....pretty sure that even with all the climbing I managed to gain weight on this ride.....What a fantastic way to start the new year.

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