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An OverStuffed vacation (get some coffee, this is long)

693 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Rev Bubba
I have just returned from California, and a week of bikes, beer, family and beer.

An inauspicious beginning in Reno, where I found out at 1:30 AM that my luggage was not on the same plane that I was on, and that it would probably be in Reno around noon the next day (Saturday). I can't pick it up, can you deliver it to Chico? Sure, no problem. Saturday AM, no sign of the bag (expected), so I drive to Chico. Arrive in Chico to stay with an uncle there. A tour of 4 local bike shops gets me everything I KNEW I forgot. Unpack the bike in the late afternoon, and with just enough time to buy tools and parts, I discover a broken spoke in my rear wheel is the only shipping damage.

The airline can't deliver my bag till the next morning, so it's off to the Chico airport at 11:30 PM to get my luggage, which has every bike supply I thought wouldn't be a wast of time. At 1:00, the spoke is replaced, and I begin to true said rear wheel. It seems that every important spoke has seized, so a few drops of Tri-Flow, and I resume. Of course, the Tri-Flow's not enough, so there goes another spoke. Screw it. At 1:30, the wheel, missing a spoke, is deemed "good enough."

At 7:45, I meet Finche Platte and Nick for a ride at Bidwell. A tough, technically demanding ride that beat the crap out of me. I hadn't been on a mountain bike in 3 weeks, so after 2 falls, I decided to walk a bunch of stuff, but continue the ride. FP has a post here . A good ride, but it needed beer, which was courteously supplied by the Chico Brewhouse for a reasonable fee. As I spend the afternoon scrubbing my elbow, my wheel spends the afternoon at Sports Ltd. Thanks to Galen there, who had it fixed by dinner.

Early Monday morning it's off to Feather Falls for a scenic ride. Nothing too demanding, flat and smooth, except for one section at the overlook. A nice way to recover from the day before--till I find out that I saved the hilly section of the loop for last. Spend some time in the parking lot getting weird looks from a family of picnickers. Haven't you seen a half-naked guy in Lycra drinking beer before?

Off to Nevada City to see what's there. A walking tour reveals a crowded historic downtown, and one bike shop: Tour of Nevada City. Thanks to the wrench there, who told me where to ride. A fast, BMX ish ride at the top of the ridge seems about right. Some kids on fullies were probably confused at the dude on a hardtail flying over the bumps they were playing on. Check in at Nevada City Inn, and I'm on a mission to find more beer. It seems that bars serve beer. There I meet Greg and Goat. Seems we all like beer, so we spend the next couple hours drinking and eating. All three of us had, at some point, arrived in Nevada City without any plans, only vague goals. We all managed to find what we were looking for. Jobs and trails. Crawl into bed dreading an early ride.

Early Tuesday morning, I set off for Round Mountain. I kept taking wrong turns, but I eventually end up at the bottom of the mountain at the South Yuba trail. I've heard of this one, I'll ride it. A long, rocky technical section, most of which I was able to ride, gave way to some fast rolling singletrack following the river. Stop for some food, and I set off for Round Mountain. The trail going up isn't technical at all, but it's a hell of a climb. I'm kinda glad I decided to go up this trail, not down. come out on fire roads at the top, and scream down the pavement, passing a couple cars, to my rental car, and beer. Great ride.

I set off for Downieville, now. I heard there are some good trails there. Stop for lunch, and beer. Sated, I resume my drive. Yuba Expeditions, and Downieville outfitters both run shuttles to Packer Saddle. Pbbbbbbth. In the afternoon, I set off up Second Divide Trail. Tough, rolling, single track going up. I clean most of it, and come back down Third Divide, which was fun, and made me wonder why everyone rides a FS bike on these trails. I kept upright, till I planted my front wheel on the edge of the bridge at the bottom. A nice endo opened up my wound from Sunday. This, too, was a great ride. Dip in the creek, drive back to town, check in at some motel, and drink more beer.

Early in the morning, I set off for Packer Saddle to ride down Butcher Ranch, up Pauley Creek, down Big Boulder, and back up Butcher Ranch. A tough day, but I believe I can do it. I'm stupid. Going down Butcher Ranch is fun, but there's no way I'm coming up this trail. I find Pauley creek, and point the bike upwards. All the way up the single track it's split 50/50 between riding and walking. I scrap the plans for Big Boulder, and continue up the fire road to Packer Saddle. I have never been so demoralized by fire road. It went on and on, and up and up, and in general, was not good. Kevin, you dumbas$, you stepped in a big one. With both feet.

Back at Packer Saddle, I see some riders who took the shuttle. Poor bastards, won't know the fun that comes with finishing a ride here. I know I'm done riding for a couple days, so I take my time. Open a beer. Who cares who sees. I'm leaving. Driving the rest of the day, I drop my bike in South Tahoe for overnight storage, drive to Reno to stay the night, and meet the family in the morning. Morning comes, return the rental, wait a few hours, here's my sister, but...Where's the rest of my family? Another sister shows up on a different flight, and we take a bus to Tahoe, to stay in the scenic Rodeway Inn. Pick up a six pack, drop off the six pack where I pick up the bike (Thanks Dan at Shoreline).

I'm in Tahoe for an extened-family gathering. I spent Thursday and Friday visiting with cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents who I haven't seen since we did this last year. Saturday morning saw me set out for the Powerline Trail. Deep sand meant that even the short climbs would be tough. The elevation meant that any climb would be tough. An injured elbow (2 weeks old from playing ultimate) meant that I couldn't stand up on the climbs without screaming in agony. Walked up most of what went up. Slid down what went down. Managed to stay upright and had more fun than I thought I was having. A little exploration on the way back, but kept mostly to the road.

Sunday, I fly back to DC. A 2 hour delay on all flights at American, except for the one I'm on that's delayed 3 hours. Land at BWI a little after 2 AM monday morning. In bed by 3:45. Awake again at 5:45 to go to work.

Some stats:
4 flights out of 4 delayed
2 broken spokes
Lots of beer
4 ham, salami and cheese sandwhiches
4 hotels
8 bike shops visited, 4 without any money exchanging hands
7 rides
Lots of family members
6 hours, average sleep for the week
Countless bi+ching views

Holy crap, what a week.


I would have had pictures, but the last decision I had to make was between the GPS device and digital camera. I probably could have done the trip withouth the GPS, but I didn't want to do too much guessing in unfamiliar terrain.
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good one

thanks For the passion hit - nice write up!
Just wondering how you train in DC for riding like that? Also you lucked out your bike is pretty much in one piece and so are you.
Train for that? You can't in DC. We don't have anything around here that closely resembles the length and the elevations of the bigger climbs I did, that's why I split the uphill Downieville Downhill. I rode in GW national forest, which was a long, technical climb, but only went up to about 2000 feet, if that (feel free to correct me if you know), so it didn't match the gradient. Basically, I assumed that I had the fitness, did everything I could to stay out of my largest cog, and used it as a bailout when I REALLY needed it. Also, you might have noticed I kept my rides short. Out here, I can ride for 5-6 hours at a time, if I pick the right trails. I didn't even think about attempting anything like that.

As for the bike, it still hasn't gotten back to me, so it may or may not be in one piece, now. It did survive an unexpected 3 foot drop with me on board, and a bunch of other stuff after I bailed. Not bad for an aluminum racing frame.
Long is good. Thanks

Long posts here are usually much better than anything in bike magazines.......
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