Monday, February 28, 2011

Under Snow

^^First hand details will be made available to all participants this evening but here is a look at what went down, literally, on Mount Ralston on Sunday. Check out those tracks. Mine are the ones on the right, thankfully not split by the 2' avalanche crown. The slab broke loose while my buddy was smack dab in the middle of the cliff band. He was engulfed and rolled right over the rocks, yet somehow escaped unscathed and only partially buried.

The Pollywood trails are still under snow but is seems time to return to the Tuesday taco tradition after last week's steeps. Hopefully the call out for this week will get some more flesh soon but there is a strong groundswell to return to the Knott on the usual time schedule and to do so after sliding around on the snow up there.

I have a few extra pairs of XC skis and boots that are up for grabs. I also have some snowshoes. I'm sure we can find some low angle terrain to scoot about on before going for tacos as usual, perhaps we can do a lake loop or variation thereof.

I'm sure that any lack of snow gear can be overcome, so please post your needs. If you will be attending with your own snow tools share that too please.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Flying Saucers Found in Placerville

Three riders met in the Mosquito Lot, already kitted, and ride ready. Each was riding their "fun" bike, Cap'n on his SS, B with his belt drive, and Nocar on his crosser. After a quick round of high quality hydration, we departed with Lights Off. We paraded through downtown, delighting FT3 spotters on the sidewalks and headed for the first steep Cribbs rd. I immediately lost my bearings. We climbed high enough to encounter meager snow patches and plunged what was a technical ascent last steeps tour. Cap'n displayed his abundant secret trail knowledge, leading us on steep mixed surface roads all over Texas Hill.

The locals who inhabit these tucked away corners have strange customs. One sign read, "Blind Dog, Drive slow and honk" (we did neither)
When exploring a new connector between Newtown and the El Dorado Trail we mistakenly rolled up someone's driveway. Tucked in the trees were a pair of spaceships (burning man hover cars?). They appeared in good condition.
Cap'n promptly ordered a retreat before B got up the nerve to start one.

From there it was a little climb to the the El Dorado trail and a frigid roll into town. Cap'n, fearing the onset of hypothermia, turned for home and his fire place. We debated how far the temperature had plunged below freezing, only to see 42 displayed on the bank thermometer. Must be heat island effect.

B and nocar continued to Powell's. We were graciously invited to bring our bikes inside, and to place a taco order as they had kept the kitchen open for us. (No doubt expecting a large turnout, as FT3 is rumored to do.) We enjoyed grilled fish and pork tacos, and picked from a variety of fine beers. The tab, of course, reflected our indulgences.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Viva FT3!

FT3 riders, it's Tuesday and that means it's FT3. For some of us it seems like Monday, as yesterday was a little holiday known as President's Day. Hopefully you were all able to properly honor our forefathers with a 'free' day yesterday. The snow report from our resident riding locals is that the 'trails are buried.' Add to that more snow in the forecast and FT3 may need to be creative down the hill, or use snowshoes up the hill this week and in upcoming weeks. What is more important, actually riding bikes or eating tacos? While I am 'looking out' tonight, I will throw out the options to see if the HCF has any takers. Viva FT3!



Monday, February 14, 2011

Life's Too Short Not to Go Big, Gotta Go Big

B here with an edit. Immediately below are some pictures to add to Captain's Ride Report. Click on the images to expand them. I'm done trying to get them formatted nicely within this post, sorry for the lack of professionalism. I'll e-mail the full size map jpegs to all participants. If anyone else is interested in them, just let me know and I'll send you the large files. The ride was about 62 miles long, a touch more if you took Nocar up on his dinner offer (see tasty pot roast pictured below). The vertical was 9200' including 2K up from the Poho Bridge on Forebay to the ridge and over a full thousand out of the Mosquito hole (I stand corrected on that one).

While the video accompanying this post may not exactly match the typical efforts of FT3, it certainly makes the statement of commitment to 'go big.' The best part of the Sunday's Double Cross Ride was the fact that a) No Car did it by himself with snow on the ground late last year (December), and b) that none of us knew where we were. I felt a bit like Dorothy at some point as I pondered "I don't think we're in El Dorado County anymore."

At mile 52, prior to the arrival in Mosquito I felt as though it was all a big dream, and that we were on Park Creek Road looking for the chopping block trail. Some real gems were ridden, especially the south facing climb out of the Forebay river canyon that has us all warming, shedding clothes and getting hungry. Once atop the summit and upon dirt, we enjoyed a long, long, long rolling stretch and encountered two recently rehab'd bridges that were carefully inspected by our resident engineer. At one bridge stop a particularly funny incident occurred when a motocrosser decked out in full fox gear asked us for directions. We were confident that his wife made him ask us for directions, and we noted that he felt uncomfortable doing so. We think he might have been a distant cousin of Paul. Definitely too cool for the likes us us 'random' cyclists who happened to be on 'road bikes' miles and miles from anywhere.

Speaking of Paul, we noted that he had obviously ridden the route earlier and enjoyed better jalapeno poppers, and burritos, and rode a better bike faster than us over the same route. No sign of Peter out there yesterday tho. Eventually, we arrived upon asphalt and the 'community' of Swansboro. The little pond and bright sun was fitting of picnic, so we had a little FT3 picnic. We knew there was some immense suffering to be endured on the climb out of Mosquito so a fuel up was in order.

The descent down was fun, and as usual, slightly treacherous, as we encountered our first cars of the day on this NoCar-lead ride. The Fort's rear wheel popped a spoke on the switchback section just before the bridge, marking our first mechanical of the day. Fortunately(?) the trip home was mostly uphill cause there were no brakes, not too mention a very wobbly wheel on the rear of the fort. At least one of the car drivers had something rude to say, which I personally have found to be 'normal' or 'expected' when riding mosquito road. Speaking for myself, I don't think I have ever been happier to summit that climb.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sunday South Fork Double Cross Ride

Sure you've ridden the South Fork double road ride, a leisurely lunch time outing, that drops to the South Fork at Chili Bar and Mosquito (or at Lotus and Mosquito for a little challenge).
But, last FT3 the gauntlet was thrown and the charge was made to drop to the South Fork on Forebay road and then Mosquito. By linking in Cable this ride is at least 55 miles, 9000 feet of climbing, and 50% dirt. Everything a cross bike likes best.

  • Goods and services are not available outside of Apple Hill
  • No vehicle access for the most remote twenty miles of the ride
  • Cellular reception is poor
  • Peter, don't even think about it
So, pack a lunch and meet at 7:45 (extra 15 minutes to make a sandwich, or Indian wrap) at the bagelria.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Virgin Raleigh

The sixth ride of two-ought-eleven was full of surprises.
Councilman's attendance is almost a surprise these days, but unremarkable compared to the sight of B on a clean new ride. You saw it here first, B and his fully rigid, belt drive, niner.
He rode it straight from The Spoke. And, since it had only been assembled a few hours prior, it needed a little attention. NoHandle gleefully inserted three tools at once to adjust the position of the asymmetrical bottom bracket.
While some wrenched, others hydrated.
Xteric assumed the role of ride leader. He carefully assumed the mantle of power by declaring, "If I'm ride leader then we're going the wrong way."
He brought innovation to the task and dished out the following route, description courtesy of NoHandle.

Headed out the first section of the qualifier until it drops back down to the camping road. From there

Rock Garden 1A – In reverse to Rock Garden proper.

Once back on pavement he took up as if we were to climb Barnes Back, but then at the last minute dropped down to the bridge on the lake loop.

We took the lake loop a short distance counter clockwise to the horse trail.

Horse trail around the lake (O! the traction!) and popped out at the upper parking lot. Climbed the dirt road to the horse camp “Fee Area” crossed MET and dropped the Flemming fire road to get the upper half of the Flemming decent towards Palin’s Plunge.

After the plunge, we climbed out and took a left towards the spillway and did a final climb up the spillway switchbacks to the road and then to a very special party.

A few words about trail conditions. To answer Safety First's question: no snow remained on any of the trails that we rode. What we found instead was tread-holding, fast-rolling soil. Every rider experienced epiphanies on the steep climbs as legs gave way before traction.

Downed trees were strewn across the horse trail. Obviously, the equestrians won't get off their high horses, leaving the dirty work to civic minded FT3 riders.

The "very special party" mentioned by NoHandle was the next big surprise of the evening. A birthday party was being held at the KnotHole and they had prepared a table full of delectables that they couldn't finish eating. For once, tacos weren't the only thing on the menu. So, besides Councilman's offering of a new and special sauce, we had homemade guacamole, salsa, jalapenos and sour cream to add to our tacos, and , the star of the show, ChickenBake. We were compelled to finish the whole pan of this creamy, spicy chicken dip.

So, B, How did your new bike handle the trails last night?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's your plan, B?

Snow waited in the Knot lot. So did Peter, in his idling Dodge Ram, with the heater on high. But, each of the stalwart FT3 riders needed only a can of hydration, and an extra layer of synthetic material to brace themselves for the clear, cold evening. (B also needed a bungee cord, as Rock God was not present with his bag of useful things.) Needing to warm up, and hoping for shallow snow B, Xteric, NoHandle, Cap'n and Nocar headed for The Qualifier.

Ride leader was not declared, instead a power sharing agreement was reached between NoHandle and Cap'n and route disagreements were settled with taco wagers. Somewhere near the top of the Qualifier we turned to the lake. The snow masked familiar landmarks and a little squabbling and backtracking ensued. On the lake loop we encountered a set of bicycle tracks that had frozen into wheel grabbing ruts. Apparently Paul had ridden the Griminger loop earlier in the evening.
After a snack exchange where the pumpkin pop tart was named Xteric's favorite food ever, the group decided to avoid a short ride and tack on some more trails. Turning up the lip even those who ignored the Single Speed call out, and had been merrily spinning through the quad burning snow, were forced off their rides.
The reward for this exertion was a fast descent and first official Ft3 ride over the new super secret log ramp. The snow just isn't much of an obstacle going downhill.
We raced around the remainder of the lake and, just past the second dam, caught the attention of a car full of FT3 spotters who stared in wonder as we picked up the last bit of trail to the Sly Park boat launch. Something of a fashion show developed in the Knot Lot. While Cap'n considered the relative coolness of dangling versus hidden bib straps, NoHandle debuted his (hand-me-down from Paul?) team issue Shimano jacket.
LOtB arrived in his alternate personality "Mr. Larz". After the taco session he presented Mother Rye with a bicyclist shaped frame that housed photos of great moments in FT3 history.