This was more of a Passion ride, on the road. Seems like a slow day on NorCal, so I post here.
OK, it was a fire road. And perhaps a little paved road on the way to Quicksilver.
Some don't figure it's really MTB unless it's singletrack. Myself, I love fire roads almost as much.
Why? Here's an example of my ride today.
First the Grunt
Leave house at 12:45. Scream down paved trail, then dodge cars a couple miles down the road to Hacienda Entrance.
No cars in the lot. Hot day means it's desolate.
While paused at the gate, I see a one guy on Specialized go past me. Last I saw of anyone all day. Solitude this ride.
Pump out full power. Go up the hot-as-fire road at my best speed ever, up and up the non-stop hill. Get to the bench at Cape Horn in 17 minutes.
Get up to English Camp and find the northern shady route is closed to a slide, gotta climb the steep exposed road in the sun. Darn
The sun makes the fire roads white. Blazing sun above. White shiny dust under my wheels. My sweat is dripping off my elbows and wrists. My shirt is drenched like a pool. Even sweat dripping down my pants makes them wet. Yet the heat makes me feel good.
Stop 5 minutes at top of Bull Run picnic table to get a drink, light snack and take in the beautiful views of Sierra Azul.
Yep, all lined up in the distance across Hicks Rd. are Bald Mt., Mt. Umunhum, and El Sombroso, then the power lines leading down Kennedy. They'll wait for me another day soon.
Now the delight
I zoom down the fire road to Guadalupe Dam. The road is fast, rutted, and loose. I'm rolling fast and being careful.
The hot dry air is rushing by like a swamp cooler evaporating my sweat, drying and cooling me off delightfully.
I'm going so fast, the dry air is whistling in my ears.
Going through a dark shady section, a big black buzzard who'd been on the side of the trail tries to get out of the way of my speedy bike. It flaps it's wings and just ends up flying a few feet from my face. We fly together down the fire road for a while, the buzzard taking point, until he goes his own course.
Guadalupe dam comes into view as I fly into the valley. Wow, it's so green it's like a kids water color. Contrasted by the deep blue reservoir, and the white fire road snaking down through the green. It's a delightful sight that only I see in the empty park.
I zoom down the road for what seems like forever, winding back and forth on the tight switchbacks. I jump a few nasty ruts in the shiny white road at high speed. What fun!
The Stroll Back Home
I turn right to take the long loop back home around the north side of the mountain. It's all shady here. Ups and downs of a hundred feet or so. It's all cool and fast.
I suddenly hear a Semi Truck buzzing by about to hit me. I duck. A Semi in the woods?
Then I realize it's just a massive swarm of bees that sound exactly like a big truck. I ride right through the middle of them as they flow around me, letting me through unharmed.
I pedal hard and steady in the green shade.
Over the top of a hill, I see a mother Quail, and her 4 baby Quails tagging along behind on the shady road. I slow down and carefully tag along like a fifth baby Quail. The mom doesn't seem to mind. I get the camera phone out to take a pic. The mom minded that and took the kids off the trial. I got a close pic from a few feet, but the Quail camouflage works wonders, and camera phones in the shade are no wonder.
I roll down some more, soon passing the remains of some furry creature, eaten by some other hungry creature in the park.
More speed, rolling shaded green fire road.
I look at my computer and amazed to see I'm doing 16 MPH on this rolling section. Two years ago I couldn't do 8 MPH on that section!
All Down Hill From Here
I come back to the Cape Horn picnic bench, deliberately going slower because I don't want the ride to end.
I grunt up a steep fire road toward the Mocking Bird entrance. Only at the top, I note I'm gong up fast, far from my lowest gear I typically need on that hill.
The exposed fire roads are all glaring white and powdery.
The hills down are very steep, very slippery, and very rutted at bad angles. I'm thinking I'm glad my Heckler has that 69 degree head angle so I don't get tossed over the bar like I surely would with my Trek Fuel.
I pass the spot where, last summer, a bobcat sat at a tight turn and watched the downhill bikers go by.
I get to the bottom and have to grunt up a big hill. I've never made it more than 2/3. Today I did the whole thing.
I exit the completely empty Mockingbird lot at 2:20PM. Very spooky not to see anyone there. Sometimes I'll see 30 cars there. The heat drove everyone away, but me.
I do a road ride down hill. I'm on 3/9 gearing and pedaling fast at 35 MPH down the hill.
I use my 8" Saint disks to scrub speed as I come to a stop sign for Almaden Expressway, just as a couple road bikes go by. I ring my bell. They smile and wave.
I go across the road and continue on down. I pass a recreational MTB guy at double his speed.
I then signal and turn left off Harry, right over the big rocky median, and over a curb into a residential singletrack - the only bit of singletrack I did the whole ride.
I zoom into home with my best time ever, even with the detour. I'm stoked.
What a great ride!
That's why I'm sharing.