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Sometimes a little pain, fear and solitude can be good for you. Yesterday (1/6) I went through all of them while repeating the "Long A$$ Loop" my longest ride ever, about 45 miles at Annadel State Park, CA. However, for this day I renamed it the "Dumb A$$ Loop" for two reasons: 1. I made a dumba$$ of myself on the NorCal board this week and 2. I completed the last half hour of the ride in the dark.

Baycat called for an Annadel ride this weekend and let's just say the scientist in me could not keep his mouth shut regarding whether or not Ridge Trail, which we planned to ride, should be ridden. The "discussion" between me and another person got way out of hand, so much so that I decided to start a bit earlier and ride solo to calm things down. However, Cohenfive bravely stepped up to accompany me. Since he was a bit tired from just arriving from London and I was in a reduced riding mode due to unusually severe knee pain and recent cortisone injections, we had no illusions of doing a big ride anyway. We were a bit slower than usual but really enjoying ourselves on the traditional 25 mile "slowpoke" ride.

About four hours into our ride we ran into the other group and they gave us a very warm welcome, while mostly laughing off the on-line antics. I thought that was pretty nice of them and I began to feel guilty for what I had put them through. We kind of rode together about another half hour, at which time Cohenfive headed home with them. That was at about the 22 mile mark for me and although I didn't feel that great I at least wanted to go down what I think is the finest trail in the park, Rough Go, a mile long gnarly downhill. Although that was followed by about an hour of continuous climbing, and I was getting a bit tired, I managed to get into a good rhythm, which allowed me to do some deep thinking. That's when I realized what a dumba$$ I had been. I resolved that the first thing I would do when I got home was to post an apology to all, even the guy I argued with, and to delete all my posts, which I did.

At the point of no return for the LAL, the top of Schultz Trail, I stopped for a moment to consider my options and I was hit with some pretty severe cramps in both quads and hamstrings. However they seemed to bother me only when stopped or walking, not riding. I'm pretty stubborn and despite the fact that it was way too late in the day, the lure of going down Schultz took over and I decided to go for it! So a little bit later I stopped to eat a gel to prepare myself for that three mile climb up Lawndale when the cramps hit me again. Here I am at virtually the farthest point in the park from my truck, and I have less than an hour till sunset. A bit of fear sets in but I have no choice but to start climbing through that nearly dark Redwood forest. But it went much faster and better than expected, and the cramps mostly only bothered me if I stopped, walked or biked up really steep stuff.

About the time I hit the heavily forested parts of South Burma it was getting a bit difficult to see. There isn't much of a twilight in California so it got dark fairly quickly. Even in the middle of the day lower North Burma is pretty dark and it is one of the steepest trails with a few good drops. I kind of knew where the drops were so I walked those areas. I was pretty relieved when I hit the short pavement back to my truck because it was pretty dark. But I am not a complete idiot, I always carry a headband LED and I knew I could put it on and walk out if necessary. But with the cramps walking was more difficult than riding.

OK, maybe I was a bit foolish but I used to do things like this in my younger days as a runner and it was good to recapture some of those feelings from yesteryear. Nice to know I'm not ready for the rocking chair just yet, and my "never quit on a ride" record is still intact. Here is a map of the park. I didn't take many photos, below are a few.

Cohenfive on Lawndale

Met some others on Schultz

On Schultz

A few of the main group at the beer bench.

Jasmina and The Law

A blurry "Mr. Annadel", GuruAtma getting some air.



Lichen covered tree.

Rough Go, a mile of this downhill!

More Rough Go.

Last bit of climb out of Lawndale.

Last bit of light.
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