28 June, 2009

Mad River Fish Hatchery

Saturday Heather and I rode 10 miles to the Mad River fish hatchery.

We spent hours lounging by the river.

The town of Blue Lake en route.

24 June, 2009

Wacky Wensday: Bull Creek & Red Gate

Yesterday the Tofu Shop van was overheating. I stopped at Safeway in Fortuna to top-off the radiator with water.

This morning the auto-shop said the water-pump was bad. That meant no deliveries today! It looked like another glorious summer day since the fog was breaking up at 9 AM.

I texted Ryan as soon as I got home. Within minutes a trip to Redwoods State Park was planned. The weather there would be sunny and 80 F! Our friend Adam joined the mission.

I wanted to try riding up Thornton MUT instead of looping to the top of the trail. Thornton goes up the same elevation as other trails in 5.5 miles instead of 2.2! This means many more cut-backs and milder grades.

On the ride up I saw a baby black bear scamper up a tree. Your next thought in this situation should always be, "Where's mom?". I started to sing and talk loudly. We heard nothing in the bushes. After a few moments of appreciating the fuzzy ball of muscle clinging around a trunk 30 feet away, we promptly rode onward.

My ride down felt off. I started at the back, expecting to pass everyone quickly. Instead I didn't see anyone for minutes and was hardly "bombing" downhill as I usually do.

Back at camp Sube, we took in the smell of California's golden grass. The smell of summer in the mountains. We debated riding back up or leaving to find an downhill prize easier to obtain. The idea of shuttling Red Gate sounded good to tired legs, and we were back on HWY 101.

At the top of Red Gate I checked my tire pressure with Ryan's prompting.

Hmm... Low.

Reeeaaallllyy low.

Recommended psi is minimum 35 and I had 8 psi. I guess I can't gauge these tubeless tires by hand-squeeze. Amazing I didn't wreck. Back up to 22 psi with you both. D'OH!

Red Gate was sick. Although it was overgrown (especially with stinging nettle), the trail features tons of fun jumps and adrenaline pumping speed.

I cleared some technical lines. I was in the zone. I led our haggard team down some 2,500 feet in 8 miles. At the bottom we spun another 7 miles into town.

26 miles doesn't sound like a long bike ride to me. But mountain ride feels like twice as much work when compared to road riding. I'm definitely 52 road-miles tired.

To top the day off, my unruly neighbors got evicted!

Best Wednesday Ever!

18 June, 2009

Butler Valley - Fickle Hill

Today I got off work around noon. Although I live in fog-town, it was sunny and 75 F at Maple Creek. Summer here I come!

The ride went really well. I kept a constant pace and was pleased to have gas in the tank during the steepest climbs before the final descent.

I got a flat at the mid-point of the ride on a gravel road. I found no patches in my seat-bag, that meant no way to fix a second flat.

Alone and miles away from any human, I carefully installed the new tube.

Ride Stats:
46 miles with 5,500+ feet of climbing in 3 hours 27 minutes
44.6 mph top speed

14 June, 2009

Trinidad & Sunny Brae

Saturday Heather and I rode to Trinidad and hung out at the beaches. We spent a few hours at the beach and walked the "head" (big rock pictured below). The ride lasted 3 hours and covered 35 miles along the Hammond Trail.

Sunday I did a little ride in the forest & Sunny Brae trail. The drizzle left the forest drippy and muddy. I'm stoked the alternative ending to this trail is up and running again.

I really enjoyed my new "seat-dropper." The lever allows you to lower or raise your saddle on the fly. Now I'll always have the perfect seat height!

06 June, 2009

Prairie Creek SP to Klamath

Today I rode from Prairie Creek State Park to the mouth of the Klamath River. And back, naturally.

I was spinning for about 6:15 mins and 40+ miles.

Gold Bluffs Beach

After poaching trails near Trillium Falls, I made my way to Gold Bluff's Beach. I didn't get very far past Fern Canyon before a black bear blocked my progress.

He ran briefly and then stopped. For a moment we sat perfectly still, listening. I knew sitting in silence with a bear 30 feet away was a bad idea. I started talking to him/her loudly and it took off down the path.

Visibility was bad since the trail is overgrown. Unfortunately the bear had disappeared into the thicket right where I needed to go. I proceeded cautiously, singing to the bear. Soon I heard it crashing through the woods off to my side and I knew it was safe to pass.

So after that I rode for hours, blah blah blah, it was fun. But when I discovered High Bluff Overlook, I fell in love.

This picture does no justice.
This is one of the most beautiful beaches!

A pair of bald eagles swooped overhead and landed side-by-side in a tree. Their white heads and tails a stark contrast to the sea of green pine needles.

I love the hidden little beaches, huge sea stacks (offshore rocks), and the old growth redwood backdrop. The views of the ocean were immense. I could see Crescent City 20 miles to the north, and the twin sea stacks offshore of Orick 20 miles south.

Wow. Today I've gotten within 30 feet of a bear and a bald eagle! My intuition told me a third wild animal would round out my sightings. But what? I scanned for a shark or whale in the waters below.

Another perfect & empty beach

After exploring up and down the coast I started to cruise back to Park HQ to meet Brett when he got off work. Cruising down "Scenic Bypass" amongst giant old growth, I spotted the strangest weasel creature. A Fisher!

This weasel lives in tree canopy.

Oh yeah, I did see Roosevelt Elk, a lizard, tons of fat tadpoles, snails, slugs, columbines, lupine, cow parsnip, and other stuff.

What a day. I'm tired and inspired. My favorite way to be.

click to see my route

01 June, 2009

Menchov, happy trails, & rain

The Giro is the #2 road stage race behind the Tour de France.

The spectacular YouTube footage.
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Sunday I rode to the top of "Red Gate". This is a feat I've only accomplished one other time since it requires pushing your bike up steep ledges.

These same steep ledges occasionally have armor clad Downhill riders flying off and down them. Most riders drive to the top, but some dedicate the hours & energy to ascend.

This photo was taken 2,000 feet above Arcata. The environment is drastically different above the fog. The ferns in mud are replaced by dry dirt and invasive "Scotch Broom"

This "disturbed" area was wall-to-wall w/blooming Scotch Broom!
Red Gate is the best thing since Weaverville's flume trail. It features a 14 mile long downhill with only one extended climbing portion.

The top 6 miles are swooping jumps down an old degraded fire road. A cloud of dust and yellow flower pedals rise in your wake. Occasional detours test your brakes as you fly off a road at 20 mph into tight drops/jumps between trees.

The bottom 6 miles (Jacoby Creek trail) are in a dank, mountain lion infested forest.

Lower Jacoby Creek
Regardless of the weather, this section is dark, damp, and lush green. Technical features litter the trail. Many tight ascents, down-logs, and creek crossings force me off my bike. Just when I feel overwhelmed the trail opens up, and I'm flowing faster than the rushing rapids nearby.

A pleasant 9 mile jaunt along the creek, into open pastures, and through Arcata finishes the ride. So... 40+ miles, 3+ hours, and 3,000 feet of climbing round-trip?

Someday a computer will verify/drastically correct those figures.
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I'm riding A.M.A.P. (as much as possible) while the daylight hours are long.

In Anchorage today they have almost 19 hours of light!
Portland 15:30 hours
Arcata 15:00
San Francisco 14:30
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It was very dark and rainy today. Hopefully this week of rain won't saturate the trails too badly. At least the rain pushed our daytime high over 60 F!
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