Today I had the pleasure of being ridden to exhaustion by twin tandems. I was on my hardtail, and Jeff, Amy, John, and Kim were on the tandems.
The star of the show today was John and Kim's new Ellsworth Tandem, which they named Dr. Evil...it has a evil looking "E" on the head badge, reminiscent of Austin Powers' nemesis' infamous logo. The bike had more bling than P. Diddy's posse! SRAM X.O, Chris King, Maverick forks... My first thought when I saw the bike was "limo".
We started in Carson City, and made our way to the north side of town. We rode out Goni Road, and then began our ascent up the McClellan Peak road. It seemed like a pretty long climb, but I'm told we weren't even half way up McClellan Peak when we began our descent into Washoe Valley.
The descent to Washoe Valley was pretty cool. It was an unmaintained rocky double track, that was still pretty snowy. All the obstacles gave it a single track feel. I was constantly amazed at how easy the tandems made it down the descent. It really showcased the skill and team work of the two couples. I was wishing on occasion for my full suspension bike, but was thankful for the lighter bike on the climbs. This would have been a great ride for all the Stump Jumpers in the group! Best of both worlds...
We finally hit the valley floor, and caught East Valley road. It's a nice paved road without too much traffic, but it's pretty narrow. We had one near death experience with some inbred mountain folk in an old pickup. I swear I felt him brush my left elbow as he accelerated by us! I tried desperately to stay on the wheel of Jeff and Amy's tandem, but was finally dropped half way back to Lake View.
I caught up with the rest of the gang at the Lake View overpass, and we made our way into Lake View, over the saddle, and then down to the V&T Rail Road Grade. I was getting pretty wiped out at this point, and then I heard Jeff saying that we'd finish the ride with the Timberline Loop.
The Timberline climb wasn't too bad. I took it a little slower and just kept it in the granny gear. We lost the sunshine at this point, and I started to get a little damp and chilly. We talked a lot on the climb, so the time went by quickly. In fact, I don't even remember the steep road section. My memory picks up again when the dirt double track started. We finished off the climb, and then began another descent. The trail is on the north side of the mountain, and was still pretty icy and snowy. The tandems got a little squirrelly in this section, as the slippery trail dictated where the front end was going more than the rider.
We made it to the Ash Canyon saddle, and it was snow free for the rest of the ride. I rode Jeff and Mike's new single track that connects to the Deer Run, and the Tandems went straight down the hill to the Deer Run. I was starting to get delirious at this point, and the new single track started climbing up hill. Not too steep mind you, but I was pretty tired. It's also narrow, and cut into the side of a steep canyon wall. I was having a little difficulty keeping the wheel straight in my oxygen debt.
I regrouped with the Tandems at the end of the Deer Run / top of the Postal Run. They let me go first, since I was a bit quicker on the solo bike in the twisty singletrack. I got nearly to the end of the Postal Run, just 20 yards from where Sandie broke her ankle, and I was irritated that my helmet visor was blocking my view. I reached up to push my helmet back, and the next thing I know, the ground is approaching my face at a hundred miles an hour. I face planted and broke my visor. I stood up and immediately noticed my shoulder was pretty sore, and that my right side was full of stickers. I felt like a human pin cushion. I also noticed that there was a hiker approaching with his dog. And then I recognized him... It was our buddy Casey that rode with us at lunch for a number of years. He saw the whole thing, and assumed some rookie was out trying to learn to ride a bike.
The gang said it was time to get moving again, because we were all starting to get chilled. I almost asked for another minute to pick stickers out of my butt, but decided that riding some more was best. I had Jeff stick my visor in my pack, but left a few fragments on the trail for memorabilia.
We finally got back to the pavement, and I began extracting stickers from my body. We were soon back at Jeff and Amy's, and Amy began making coffee and a multi course meal. I could think of nothing I wanted more at that moment! Amy also hooked me up with some Advil.
After good food and conversation, I drove back to Gardnerville for a shower. Kristy took me and the boy out to an Italian dinner where I refueled some more, and eased my aching shoulder with some wine. Kristy helped my get my clothes clean, and then treated me to an awesome back massage! I must've looked pretty pitiful to get such good treatment.
Well, it's time for bed. I have to get some sleep for tomorrow's road ride at 10:00 AM. May (insert your god or deity here) have mercy on my soul!