Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Long Rides and Dusty Nights

With the nice weather and long hours of light, the recent FT3 rides have picked up in distance. Per my Strava account accumulated mileage of 20+ miles were recorded on the last two events.
Dust is usual for this time of year, maybe it was the additional pavement miles to avoid dust that added to the miles or just the overall badassness of the riders.

I've been sitting on the fence expecting Cappy to post a new call out for his LRP effort coming up soon. Maybe he will jump in on this post.

For now, One!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

SBKW LRP July 2016, Are you Ride Satisfied?

Three of the day's riders met for this rendition of the FT3 Strawberry to Kirkwood classic LRP bright and early on Sunday morning at the Mosquito lot. After each of the riders had their share of egg McMuffins, the bikes were loaded for transport and we were off to Pollock Pines to pick up Buttons. When XTeric, B and I rolled up, Buttons was about to head out of the Safeway lot. He seemed to think we passed up the pick up point. Poops were taken and donuts were eaten, extensive adjustments were made to XTeric's new rack, and we were on our way up to Strawberry. It's a good time to note here that there was a tremendous amount of farting during the carpool in both directions.

We arrived in Strawberry to find Dr. J awaiting. We secured a shady spot for Booker to spend the day and B spread all his things out in a 50 foot circle, as one would do for a yard sale. After more dumps were taken and sunblock was applied, jackets were debated for carry and so on and so on. Dr. J quietly and calmly awaited our departure, but we knew he was wondering what the hell are these guys doing. At long last we mounted our steeds.

We opted for the chip sealed road climb and slight adjustment of the route. Dr. J had some early problems with his Camelback. He performed some precise surgery on his pack and we carried on. After a good chip seal warm up we hit the fire road. Once atop, just when the vast mountains came into view we were informed by Dr. J that he was experiencing some knee pain. After a personal assessment of his own knee he reluctantly disKWalified himself yet again, and turned back for the car. The MD in him determined that a season of riding was more valuable than a KWalification.

The remaining four pressed on for Hayflat trail, we had a good time there and went on to the Silverfork. That was good too. We challenged the long and steep three mile push for 88, it pushed back and we pushed through. With B in the lead we rode straight through a huge families camp site in search for the trail to the dump site. It was a bit awkward, the campers were mostly friendly, but certainly wondering what the hell these MTBer's were doing riding through their camp. Alas, they offered no beer, but spotters they did become.

Up to the Sentinals we went and down to the KWood Inn. KWood Inn was packed, inside and out. After being greeted by some bikers dudes who departed shortly after our arrival we were all able to take a seat at the bar. We considered slamming a beer and heading back for the store over concern that we would spend the entire afternoon there waiting for food. Buttons let the bartender know "We are on a super long ride...how long do you think it will be before we get our food...?"

Our food showed up almost immediately. We were convinced that either our appearance, badassery or smell provided for the quick service. Belly's full with beer and meal we hit the road and our legs screamed. Caples lake was drawing us in, so we opted for a quick lakeside splash. We recognized that FT3 is aging, so we may need to institute naps during this and future LRPs. There is a reason why the Strava data says we rode for 6.5 hours in a total time of 9.5 hours. B and I splashed around, Buttons took a full dip and XTeric literally napped.

All refreshed and ready to take on the final climb we pulled up our bib straps and headed for the hills. The climb was rewarded with the epic and long lasting decent of the strawberry jeep trail. At the bottom there was a small push from B to venture over to Lover's Leap, XTeric was willing, Buttons and I were ride satisfied. Since it was well after 5:00pm, the collective decision was that the Strawberry Kirkwood is a perfect ride as designed, no reason to change that. Another great one in the books.

And it's Tuesday!



Monday, July 11, 2016

Weekend Ride Report

So there was some riding over the weekend, as you may have heard.  As nocar pointed out to me yesterday, I was the only one to attend both LRP outings so it seems to make sense for me to put up the report. 

I’ll start with Sunday’s ride.  It was sweet and you should have attended.  Yes it was a long drive to access the goods, but well worth it.  Nocar would know the location details better than I, but we were on the Tahoe NF and started near French Meadows Reservoir.  A portion of our route was on the 2015 TS100, and we rolled along the Royal Gorge near Soda Springs, and passed behind Squaw Valley near the Granite Chief Wilderness (we did not poach).  A portion of the ride is slated to very soon be swallowed by the expanding wilderness area, making the pedal all the more special.  We put in a long initial climb on a rough road (TS100 section), spoked out to Wabeena (sp?) Point (killer view 3K’ into the Gorge) and back, grinningly slayed high elevation, wind-swept ridges (including Tevis) to the current wilderness boundary, then dropped at high speeds back down to the car with an impromptu stop at an old Basque sheepherder’s cabin along the way.  The ride was 30 miles and had 5K’ of climbing.  Since we started where we finished and finished where we started it un-coincidentally also had 5K’ of descending.  Nocar and I were the only attendees.  LRP’s already considerable regional purview has been expanded.

Here is a slideshow from the Sunday ride.

Saturday’s edition of SBKW started just like many others.  J from Tahoe, a SBKW and LRP veteran who has yet to attend a Tuesday ride pulled onto the 42-Mile Tract road just as our caravan from P-town did.  Our contingent included Ride Leader NoHandle, Buttons, NoHandle’s bud from Oakland (who had previously attended some FT3 road outings), and myself.  I was tasked with navigational duties for the day.  We decided to pedal around the hikey-bikey trip up the Cody Meadows Trail by going up Packsaddle Pass on chip seal.  That adds some mileage and vertical, and is nearly all on “pavement” but does not involve shouldering a bike, not even once.  Pick your poison.  After a brief wrong turn toward the BSA camp at Cody Lake, we corrected course and made our way to the Haunta-house, Cody Cabin.  We enjoyed some snacks there briefly, posed for photos, and then moved along thinking we still had miles and miles to go.  We made our way past Hay Flat to ‘whatever it is' Flat, and hooked the hard left to single-track.  We bumped along that and made our way to the sweet drop into the Caples Creek drainage.  That’s where things went South, and south.  I was in the lead and stopped about half way down the trail to wait for a regroup.  Buttons and I gathered and he said something about a possible mechanical above us, so back up he and I went.  If you are an FT3 Strava devotee you may know something about the next part of this story from photos already posted there.  NoHandle’s buddy got filleted by his own hot brake rotor during a high-side dismount gone wrong.  Calf steaks for lunch anyone?  Gruesome is not an overstatement - that damn rotor cut through all the dermises and you could see parts.  Good thing we had a suture kit in a camel’s pack.  The cut was field laced without anesthesia.  Pliers were used to push the needle.  The wound was packed with toilet paper then wrapped with electrical tape.  The injured rider, having suffered through the stitching without complaint or even a whimper, continued to man-up and pedaled his way with us all back down to the car.  Running on shock, his pace was strong, as in he was crushing it.  I kept glancing at the cut and never saw more than two small, dried drips of blood.  The hot rotor had obviously cauterized the cut because there was almost no blood at all.

We all regrouped at the car and did what FT3 does with a target cooler.  The mood was still high all around, but the clock was ticking so we ended the gathering.  Not wanting to encroach on the recommended  12-hour window for a proper stitching at the ER, our party split in two and THTH drove the rotor victim back down the hill to Marshall.  What is our bicycle related Marshall count now?  I’m good for 2 personally.  I do not know if Ed, our Team Nurse, was on duty in the ER.  With our pressing health care issues now in good order, the three remaining riders decided to make use of our two cars and the remaining daylight.  We had already put in 25 miles and 4K’ of climbing but wanted a little bit more from the day.  After a bite at the Strawberry Lodge we shuttled up to Echo Summit for a turn on the seminal LRP trail, the one on our jerseys, the XP.  We rolled that fine piece of trail down to the Lodge, our pedaling now done for the day.

So what shall his handle be when he returns in August for another dose of LRP?  Field Sutures? Stitches? Field-Stitch? Laces?  Our KWalified good ride doctor probably needs one too. 

I'm out this week, working out of range.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Vanishing Resources

Political powers and popular opinion are conspiring to eliminate two thing most prized by FT3: mountain biking trails and Jim Beam rye.

We learned about the end of rye at the Taco Table last night. Mother Rye repeated what her distributor told her, Jim Beam's no longer making it. A little bit of web research suggests that they are reformulating their recipe and offering "Pre-prohibition style rye" which is spiced (?!?), aged in new charred white oak, and boasts a stronger proof. How will FT3 handle the loss of the third item in the taco order? Green Fro responded by ordering a round for the table.

A singularly beautiful corner of the high sierra has been acquired by a land trust with the understanding that it will be declared wilderness in one of the last executive actions undertaken by Pres. Obama. That means a super sweet mountain bike loop will become illegal. What can FT3 do about this? Ride it.

The loop is not a long ride. Pushing a tad over twenty miles with short, scenic detours to Wabena Point and the divide above Granite Chief. The route starts with the big climb at mile~65 in last years TS100, then turns onto sweet single track, and finishes on abandoned forest roads. Early saturday morning meet up and we're home by early saturday evening. It takes about 2 hours to drive out to French Meadows Reservoir.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


The return of Lars Over the Bars warranted celebration, and last Tuesday's pre-ride party was a good one. The temperatures dropped with the setting sun, and Cappy kept us on less-used trails so the dust wasn't bad.
For Lar's sake, we avoided Nap Time.

The after-swim was heavenly, B finished his last ride beer while lounging in the cool waters.


Edits below by B

Silver Lake Update - I headed up MET for a late day roll in the high ground yesterday.  I parked at Mud Lake TH and looped Long Valley to Squaw Ridge to Granite Lake to Minkalo, then back to the car after a stop at FT3 high country way station, Plasse's.  

There were a few lingering snow patches but all were tiny.  Blowdon is not too bad this year.  I found two sweet new unmapped trails near Long Valley/Allen Camp/Squaw Ridge.  They open up some good loop and connection options out there.  

FTSki Update - Buttons and I just enjoyed a fine Sunday on Shasta.  We skied the Hotlum Glacier from the Brewer Creek TH on the NE side of the big stratovolcano.  We put in 7K to reach the summit by 11am.  We were rewarded with a continuous 6K ski descent, not bad for July.  The steep turns along Hotlum Headwall were $.