Monday, August 25, 2014

2014 Tahoe Sierra 100: Off the Couch and Into the Fire

After a week of pounding beers in the sun at sea level I figured I was ready for endurance mountain bike racing. Newb, Xteric, and I debated who was most under-trained. B debated if he was more likely to win the open SS or the age grouped category.
Mile Zero.
My shock was sluggish in the just above freezing morning air. After a stirring speech about how roadies go to Leadville, but all the hard mountain bikers were here, we started.
Mile 10
Noob got a flat.
Mile 22
Noob got a flat.
Mile 56
Xteric plummeted into the canyon. He landed about thirty feet below the trail and his bike was another twenty feet below him.
Mile 69
My legs started cramping.
Mile 73
Noob Noobed.
Mile 83
I crawled off the course and begged for a ride to the finish line.
Mile 100
Xteric and B learned that their shuttle driver had been taken to the hospital. Fortunately, a friend agreed (for a small sum) to give them a lift up to Soda Springs. I called Mrs. Nocar for a ride. She dropped me off at Marshall, where I got to explain, again, how I suck at riding bikes and needed medical attention. Two liters of intravenous fluid later I was home.

By all accounts, the day was totally awesome.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

XP overnighter highlights

To accompany B's narrative-in-photos below, here's a bullet-pointed recap of last Friday's ride:

  • B fixed burritos back in the extra-cab on the drive up, made from pre-cooked seasoned Brazilian rainforest beef and Mini-Babybel cheese rounds wrapped in flour tortillas. Surprisingly satisfying. 
  • After finding an appropriate parking zone off the highway near the Sand Flat area, we packed up, tuned up, and then upon departure PC commenced to ride 20 yards without his helmet on. Went back to fetch it in the bed of Cappy's truck thinking, "Oh, it's going to be a good ride . . . ."
  • Over eager, we rocketed up the quite lovely dirt road for about 10 minutes until B was heard groaning "hang on, this isn't right." Well-worn map splayed in the dirt, it quickly became clear that our junction with the XP trail was in fact back where we had started - just beyond the gate at the bottom of the hill. None of us felt the least disappointment, as the climb was beautiful and the descent titillating. Onward. 
  • The Pony Express Trail - XP - is friggin' awesome. Dude . . . . . So good! 
  • PC's hub broke halfway to Strawberry. First it started to make loud noises when he tried to coast, so he tried to not coast. Then the freehub simply seized up, and he couldn't coast without threatening to suck the chain, derailleur, and everything else into oblivion. So he just pedaled. 
  • We finally made it to Strawberry, deep into the evening. 
  • It appeared to be ladies' night at the Strawberry Lodge. As the bartender seemed to be predisposed, one patron took matters into her own hands, delivering fresh-drawn pints of Dead Guy into ours. That's good stuff right there. 
  • Here's a picture of some bad-ass goats: 

  • After some friendly banter with the locals (ok, they were from Placerville too), we remounted steeds and headed up the road to Cody Lake. A stop was necessary to add nutriment, as burritos were well behind us and we were running on fumes. Cappy found a fungus with a markedly phallic appearance. 
  • We made it to Cody lake, where more burritos were assembled and resting places staked out. PC chose the hard, cold ground while Cappy and B snuggled up on the wooden deck of some boarded-up scout cabin. We hoisted our food against bear intrusion. Sleep came swiftly, as the hour was turning from late to early. 
  • Woke up to a duo of bow hunters wandering through our camp. We scared them more than they scared us. 
  • Eventually, we wriggled from our down encasings and unfurled our weary limbs as sun emerged, pumped lake water for instant coffee and enjoyed Cappy's long-awaited peanut butter, honey, and bacon english muffins as a welcome breakfast. Meditated on Pyramid Peak reflecting in the still water. 
  • PC took the pavement back down the road while the remainder dropped the rad technical descent. Deciding it would be too slow getting back and feeling that the thrill was gone, PC settled in with broken bike at Strawberry Station while B and Cappy flowed down the XP back to the truck. 
  • Back in Placerville just after noon, the trio bid one another adieu and drifted dreamily into their respective weekends, already in progress . . .

Monday, August 11, 2014

Minimal Impact Long Ride & Tuesday Callout

A few weeks ago Partial Credit and I began discussions on the potential for a minimalist overnight long ride that leaves Pville in the early evening hours of a friday evening and returns by noon on Saturday. Sorry for the late notice, but the two of us have just now synced our calendars and this ride is going down this Friday night 8/15, returning Saturday 8/16 by noon. This being a minimal impact ride, it will have minimal impact on our families, however, we should be able to maximize ride time.

Meet up is at 6:00pm on Friday evening, Mosquito lot, on Mountain bikes, with the following gear: lights, sleeping bag, jerky and other high calorie food supplies (think backpacking here... B got any MRE's?), whisky or other beverage, water and enough clothes to stay warm for the night. Where will we go? One option is to drive to Pollock and start a trek up the XP toward Strawberry, this route requires a ford of the river below Pacific House unless we opt to ride along 50 a bit and road ride up Ice house until we hit the XP. It would be a bummer if someones' gear ended up in the river. Another option is to head out South Fork Double Cross way (counter-clockwise) with a goal of getting to Stumpy Meadows before the lights die, (and if not, that is fine too, we just call it a night then...). I am not sure I can navigate this one at night without NoCar present, so to some extent route choice is dependent on riders present. I most certainly can navigate it in the clockwise direction so that is an option too. This route could be done on a Cross Bike or road bike with select tires, although I personally would prefer to ride a MTB carrying a fairly heavy pack and gear.

I don't believe either PC or I care much about the route, this is about the adventure of riding into the woods until we are good, crashing out with a whisky buzz, and riding back. If you are up for this, then sign on below by indicating your number followed by MILR (Minimal Impact Long Ride), since I am in, and PC is in, the count will begin at 3 MILR.

And, well... after all, it is also Tuesday so this serves as your callout, standard responses can be made for that one, since I am out, the count will begin at ONE, or ONE! or 1! or 1.

Ride on brothas

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Black Hawk Down

When an experimental military helicopter was shot down by militias in a remote corner of El Dorado County, an elite FT3 team was dispatched to find the wreckage. After dealing with two (2) spontaneous sidewall blowouts from B’s Walmart tires, we shoved our way past day hikers along the South side of Loon Lake. Grinding up the coarse gravel of the old SMUD roadbed, Buttons started complaining. So, we knew this was already a good ride. Once we reached the Rubicon Jeep trail we were surprised by how quiet it was, too quiet. Buttons, who had his hopes pinned on receiving beer hand ups from boozy broads started complaining all the louder. As our search started it quickly became apparent that we were looking for a tin can in several hundred acres of steep forested terrain. We aborted the mission and rolled back on the awesome granite slabs of the Rubicon Trail, untroubled by swarms of rock crawlers. Our party was intercepted by law enforcement who laughed at our high priority mission. Since we weren’t properly kitted, we had to explain that we were FT3, and the officer gasped at his own foolishness. He quickly gave us the necessary coordinates and radioed in for a support crew. But, we had lost interest at this point, it was time for beers and snacks. So we rolled out.

Loon Loop: Sunday, Tells/Van Vleck/Bassi/Two Peaks/Barrett Lake: