Monday, April 18, 2016

I love Spring!!

Wow, what a great day Saturday turned out to be. They were saying highs in the 80's but with the weather people being wrong more often than they're right, who knew....Turns out they were right for a change.

Chris' wife was on call and I was all caught up on my chores around the house so we both had a free pass for the day.  We had decided to get a nice ride in instead of heading down to the Otter event. It was a pretty rough week at work and I decided dealing with a crowd was not how I wanted to spend my day off.

We rolled in to the Hunting Hollow entrance right about 9:30 and there were already a bunch of cars as well as a group of 4 on matching Ibis bikes that were headed out just before us.....we'd run in to them again a couple more times throughout the day.

I had ridden Coe many, many years ago on my rigid SS and all I remember was that it hurt....a lot. Today though, in a rare moment of good sense, I left the SS at home and brought the Vassago 1x10 with the front suspension.

The day started pretty much how I remember the last ride here starting.....with lots of up...we rode across the first of several creek crossings and immediately began climbing the Jim Donnelly trail which was a nice smooth singletrack that led us to the Steer Ridge trail towards Wilson Peak.

We met and passed several groups of hikers and I can totally understand the attraction for hiking here. The weather was perfect, the views were amazing and the wildflowers were out in abundance.

Eventually, after a short steep hike a bike section, we arrived at Wilson Peak. Here we ran in to the group of Ibis riders taking a break. they were either ahead of us the entire time or had come up another was as we never saw other cyclists on the trail, only hikers.

After enjoying a granola bar and some water, we headed out with no real clue where we were headed or how long it would take us to get back.(I love these kinds of rides)

After a long, steep, swoopy downhill that had my brakes howling (might be time for new pads) we ended up in the bottom of a canyon which necessitated a few more cross creek adventures. With no real idea where we were and only a general idea of where we needed to be, it was a nice time to again run in to the Ibis clan who it turns out actually knew the park really well.    Turns out we were exactly where we were...

The middle portion of the ride was in and out of canyons with awesome singletrack, beautiful flowers, some ponds and creek crossings. It was awesome.

Eventually we saw a sign that pointed us towards the Coyote Creek entrance which was another long steep downhill and again had my brakes squealing like stuck pig. (not that I've ever heard a stuck pig)

As we rolled in to the lot, we were both wishing we had found another way back to the truck. As much as I like a fast, mostly downhill ride back to the truck (and beers) I didn't want the singletrack to end just yet. Unfortunately, we missed whatever options there might have been and neither of us really wanted to climb back up the trail we had just come down. Besides, there was a brewery in our near future.

I can imagine that in a couple of weeks, these trails will be brutally hot, dusty dry and brown. I don't know if the creeks run year round, but I doubt it. I'm very glad though that I got to experience this park, at this particular time of year......There's always next year for Sea Otter....

Thursday, February 25, 2016

yet another dumb idea....

Among my group of friends, I'm actually pretty well known for dumb ideas...I tend to come up with some really awesome dumb ideas. Some of my friends have even stopped riding with me because they're so in awe of my ability to come up with said dumb ideas.....

The most recent dumb idea is to sign up for the Tahoe Trail MTB race in's a 62 mile race that takes place in the Sierras around Lake Tahoe and I'm both excited and nervous about this.

Now, granted, I've never ridden my mountain bike more than about 30 miles, I've never been in an "endurance race" and riding up at elevation usually leaves me weak, winded and fighting off delirium from the lack of oxygen....other than that, I'm not exactly sure why my friends think this is a dumb idea.....what could possibly go wrong?

In all seriousness though, I am a bit concerned about this. I'm actually in pretty good shape at this point in the year and I don't see any reason my fitness level won't continue to improve between now and July. I actually am a bit freaked out about a 62 mile mountain bike ride. I've done lots of centuries and metrics on my road bike and on the road, 62 miles would be a decent training ride.

On a mt bike though, at elevation and at race pace, the idea starts to get a little worrisome. The longest race I've ever done is Sea Otter which I think is just over 20 miles with about 2500ft of elevation gain. The thought of 62 miles with almost 8000ft of climbing is daunting to say the least.

I was actually thinking that being in my mid-50s I might have a decent chance of finishing in the middle of the pack for my age group. Unfortunately, in looking at last year's results, in my age group, it looks like the top 5 finishers were all right at or under 5 hours. (Dave Wiens happens to be in my age group...ugh!)

Just to be clear, I don't have any delusions about finishing on (or anywhere near) the podium. I don't have the kind of time and resources to train for that level of competition. (and I'm old and fat)
I do though, hope to finish respectably and am determined to avoid any of the time cutoffs.
This, combined with the fact that I tend to be a tad bit obsessive has really got me freaked out about this event.

I've never been good at failure. As a matter of fact, I'm somewhat insecure and so afraid of failure, that I tend not to try things that may end up either in failure or with me looking like an idiot.

Now that I've admitted that, I can tell you that emotionally, this race is kind of a big deal for me. Not only have I registered to do it, I've told a lot of people that I've registered to do it. So many people in fact, that bailing is not an option and not finishing would force me to explain my failure over and over again.

So, the goal now is to start actually training for this race and try not to die while I'm at it....what could possibly go wrong...