It's been a few weeks now since Pat's last weekend in Southern California. Before he ventured off to Sydney by way of Boston via Denver (dude, why not stop in Vancouver along the way?), the consensus was that some serious riding was in order -- some kind of leg-melting send-off.
And an epically victorious weekend of riding it was.
I'm not sure what the exchange rate between Road and MTB miles would be, but considering that a respectable weekend of road riding might include about 50 miles, and a truly exhausting mountain bike ride might be as few as 15 miles long, the 50 or so that we pedaled on the mountain bikes over Saturday and Sunday definitely rank as "tough". And "Fun".
We can confidently log 8 hours of saddle time, dinner at pizza port, Santana's burritos, and a LATE dinner of kabobs and Super Troopers.
Littering AND ... ?
As soon as Pat got down to SD from Irvine on Saturday afternoon, we headed out to Sycamore Canyon for a couple hours of fun-and-easy riding. Nice loop up at the top, and some fun, fast single track serpentining along the bottom. And let's not forget the BMX jumps. My standards for this aren't very high, since I consider it a victory any time my tires simultaneously leave the ground and then return, preserving their initial rider-to-wheel orientation. Regardless, I was successful in this venture. But Pat and Mike both got a few good launches. (pic: Mike points out that Pat still needs a cooler jersey, and Pat looks away in shame.)
Littering AND ... ?
Our decision for dinner was probably the worst call of the weekend. I'll take responsibility for that, insofar as I think it was my idea, but it was definitely subject to veto all along the way. Kabobs are delicious, but require significant prep-time, and this may not be so good when you're not even getting home from riding till 9pm, and plan to wake up at 5am to go riding again. Dinner was ready at 11pm. Oops. The baked brie wheel with chile jam is awesome.
A mere 6 hours later we were rising out of our respective slumbers to move bleary-eyed towards the focus of the weekend of riding: Noble Grand Tour with Jason. No worries, though -- he was on his single speed.
We might have successfully beaten the heat with our early start had we not just pedaled right through it, anyway. We didn't get back to the cars for 6 hours. When we arrived there were a lot of other cars in the lot, and loads of other riders prepping for their Noble Canyon ride. None of those cars were there when we got back. Given the ride we did, this is definitely a feather in my cap.
Littering and smokin' the reefer.
The Noble Canyon Grand Tour started with a backwards run of the Extra Credit Loop, heading on up the fire road to the Indian Creek turn-off, then up Indian Creek to the Noble Canyon Trail intersection, up to the Sunrise Highway, up to the Big Laguna Loop, and from the end of that loop back to the Champagne Crossing, and finally down the Noble we all know and love. We'd been in the saddle for 4 hard hours before we even got to the descent. I think that the three of us had long since fallen into survival mode by the time we got there (Most of that time was climbing), but everyone managed to perk up a little bit after some shade and the introduction of much-needed negative grade.
A couple of these parts I'd never done before. Indian Creek: Steep and loose. probably more fun to descend. Wouldn't be as bad to climb if the overall ride was going to be a bit shorter, or you're in super-human shape.
Extra-credit loop backwards (Pool tiderc-artxe?) is also less fun going up than it is going down. To be fair, we were all stuck behind some other riders who were neither as fit nor as confident, and we ended up walking a lot of stuff. I guess it's a nice change to go down on the whore. Er... go down the whore, i mean. the hill. not ... nevermind.
Gimme a liter o' cola.
Miraculously, in this 6-hour marathon re-verification of the subtle notion that going DOWN-hill on a mountain bike is generally more fun than going UP-hill, NOBODY FELL. Well, actually, nobody fell BAD. Mike flopped gently into a bush when he pulled the ejection cord in an effort not to land in a toothy, jagged mess of rocks. He got up and cleaned the rest of the section. Pat got launched over the steep side en route to his attempt to clean the section that has haunted him and been the source of all the hilarity in Mike's stories of Pat riding. MIRACULOUSLY he managed to pull it back together, climb back on, find the good line and clean it. It was excellent. I took my small victories, too. Getting bolder all the time ... More fun every ride ...
Some of the best beer EVER was had at the bottom when Jason and James (who both killed us on this ride), after beating us down to the parking lot, returned from an errand of fetching a couple six-packs. Glycogen depleted and dehydrated, we had the awesome experience of effectively taking beer intravenously, without the risk of carbonation in the veins. Beautiful. A quick, clean and instant (if short-lived) buzz.
Am I saying "MEOW"?
Needless to say, the legs were shot for a couple days after that.
One last note: Jason. Holy ... ! Howthehell ... ? whatthe ... ? SINGLESPEED? SERIOUSLY? damn ...
S'more Sycamore pics.