Sunday, August 12, 2007
Where No Cross Bike Has Gone Before.......
O'kay, I know yesterday I said that I was through riding in the mountains. Wrong, I meant on the road bike. My fellow CX'er, Mike Seek posted a ride on the message board for Sunday morning consisting of some fire roads he was interested in. Sounded like a good idea since I've ridden on the road since April. Might be nice to get out in the woods....
Evidently, Mike and me are the only ones who thought a three hour tour of mountain fire roads was a good idea since we were the only two who showed. My legs really weren't happy about climbing a steep rock strewn hill at 8:00 in the morning, still upset about hammerfest from yesterday morning. Seems like it took a long time before they were spinning somewhat comfortably ( could be old age ). The road wasn't to bad over the first three miles or so, rocky in places up to tater sized rocks, but as we started to climb in earnest things began to change.
Rounding a 180 bend in the road I wondered who put the creek bed where the road was supposed to be. No way were riding that It would have been tuff with MTB gearing. Baby head rocks sticks, ruts, ... the cyclists anathema walking became our only choice. After a nice 50 yard slog things leveled out. Consulting the map we began to realize that we missed our turn about two miles back down the road. Undeterred we decided to continue on up the "road" walking another 25 yards. We where rewarded for our persistence with a dark shady forest with pine needles, grass, and fewer rocks for a road surface. It was a blast flying down the road bouncing and skittering along. Descending on essentially a road bike with knobby tires on this kind of surface is a little on the edge, amazing what a CX bike is capable of. Got a little squirrelly when we crossed some water running across the road stayed up though. Just when I got into the descending zone we dead ended on the edge of a gorge. Not yet having our fill of adventure we rode a side road that got extremely steep and rocky as we went down. I wasn't really exited about the direction things were going, straight down, in the opposite direction of my car, so we pulled the plug before things got to crazy and headed back down the mountain.
With all the descending getting back was a lot quicker than going out and just as tiring. It was a real strech of bike handling skill to get down the creek bed section unscathed. Mike flatted half way down. I'm amazed that we didn't have more. The descending was so technical my calves and hands began to hurt from riding out of the saddle and feathering the brakes for a good hour. Finally the descending was over and we stopped to observe a burned out rusted Subaru suspended in some trees. How does that happen? Just a little more climbing and the final decent to pavement. I flatted 100 yards from the pavement, front wheel, flying down the road had to struggle to stay in control on the rocks and stop without crashing.
Two flats down, 15 miles of difficult riding, 2098' of climbing, and three hours later we finally returned to the Cheoa parking lot unscathed. Great ride, proud of our bike handling skills on terrain better suited to a MTB and how well a CX bike rides in MTB country. When I got home I didn't even make it to the shower. Fell flat on my face for a two hour nap.