In a constant attempt to make my life more efficient, I tend to clump as many events as I can together. This weekend was no exception. I went to Sacramento on Saturday to celebrate my wifes birthday on Saturday night, Mothers day there was a congregation of " mothers" in Lodi. Lisa took the kids home Sunday night and then I stayed in Sacramento to work at the main branch on Monday and, if I was lucky, break away early and go Mountain Biking in Auburn on the way back to Carson City. Fortunately for me, I was able to rally Michael Heede, who in turn rallied Ruben and Brian and we had a CREW!
We piled into separate vehicles at Michael's house in East Sacramento. As we packed bikes into Rubens car, the conversations were all about " I haven't ridden in so long" and "It so hot today" and other semi- whiney comments. Based on those comments, I was expecting a long, slow mellow ride. That is not what I got! We got out of the car on Russel Road parking area in Auburn. We put our bikes together and hit the Manzanita trail. The pace through the tight single track was FAST. We bolted through the bushes. I was surprised because this trail used to be my old stomping grounds. It had changed. Many of the technical spots were ironed out, and places that I usually bombed over were now covered with exposed, large, angular rocks ready to pitch me over the trail at a moments notice.
We re-grouped at the first little creek crossing and the excitement level was high. When we got out onto the fire road directly above the confluence we paused for a picture. Brian was busy doing other things ( family oriented blog so I wont expand) so in this picture you can see Ruben, Michael and me.
Although it was quite hot in the direct sunlight, the lush foliage made the temperature perfect on this initial descent into the ravine. We took the high trail to the lower flood trail. I prefer this trail as it is not as crowded as the main drag heading down the hill. In addition to that, I have often seen the " bike cops" with their radar guns giving out tickets for those traveling faster than 15 miles per hour. Welcome to California!! Makes me think I need to get a radar detector in addition to the GPS unit I want to buy. Yeah baby! Those items would be a great addition to my heart rate monitor, cycle computer, altimeter watch, ipod ( with blue tooth enabled headphones) and my pocket pda. Shee-dawg! enough technology to launch a small offensive on a 3d world country! Or bog me down with owners manuals! Or worse yet, overwhelm me with technical data that I forget I am riding.
Enough of that. We got to the top of lower flood and bombed the steep fire road to the bottom. Not too many people ride or hike this fire road because it is so steep. You can see Brian here getting ready for the big descent.
We got to the bottom and checked out the river. It was beautiful. Thousands of gallons of crystal clear water flowing smoothly under the bridge. We then began to climb the Clementine section of the trail. Everyone rode strong, taking turns pulling up the hill. Now I was feeling the heat. I must do more res arch on training for heat conditions. It really takes all the juice out of me. When we neared the top of the paved climb we saw what is more of a usual sight now. There were a few pick up trucks parked and one unloading a band of DownHillers with their full on SCHPOINGERS. We road the final distance to the top with TEAM SCHPOING and regrouped. They were waiting for some straglers so we took off. I was ahead of everyone to take some action shots. On the descent we noticed that in many places, the trail split and there was the optional "Schpoing Route" that had big jumps and drop offs. We saw a particularly interesting one and hung out in hopes of seeing the Team Schpoing hit it. We waited and waited. All I got was this shot of Heede hamming it up ( whats new?) at the jump. We figured the guys on the full suspension either had a technical problem, or they were going REALLY slow. If they were going that slow, then they wouldn't have enough speed to hit the jump anyway.
The confluence trail was great. It was well maintained and we all hit it really fast. Stopping briefly to view the river. When we got back to the bridge, Michael and I stopped to jump in the river. Brian and Ruben started pedaling up the hill.
We all got back to the vehicles and reflected on the ride. Great Day! I packed up and hit the hills and those guys went back to the valley. By the looks of Donner Pass, Brockway Summit, and Spooner, I have to say, that I will more than likely be pedaling at the top of one of these passes the next time around. There was still some snow at Boreal Ridge, but none at Brockway or Spooner, telling me that much of the glory that is the Tahoe Rim Trial is ready to ride.