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Silence! I kill you!
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Well, after being sick, too much work, and a host of many other excuses, I got in my first MTB ride of the year friday night.

I hooked up with Rockcrawler53 and two other non MTBR friends for a early evening Coe ride. When we left San Jose it was about 53-55 degrees at about 4:30. By the time we got to Hunting Hollow at about 5 it had dropped to about 40 :D

I haven't had the chance to do very much climbing the past few months. My longest climb up to this point is a measily 250ft climb at about a 12-19% grade. I like to ride up it a couple times on my way home from work to get a good workout. So knowing that I was looking forward to doing some REAL climbing, Coe style.

We took the Hot Springs road down to the Coyote Creek entrance, almost getting hit by the rangers truck as he was flying down the road. I guess he didn't expect to see cyclists at 5pm at night in the cold. Coit road at first was a little muddy, then soft dirt, then hard dirt, then back to being muddy, it couldn't make up its mind on what condition it wanted to stay at. I felt good on the first climb on the way to Anza/Jackson, because in my mind I remembered that climb.

When we got to Anza, we peeled off our fleece jackets, long sleeve shirts, and I just peeled down to my short sleeve jersey, climbing was getting us that warm, but against the 40 degree temps it felt perfect.

I got to the first switchback on Anza, and missed it. Then I got to the second switchback on Anza, missed it also. At that point I realized how much my MTB reflexes & skills have gone down the tube the past few months of not riding. In my mind I remembered the trail and I remember middle ringing most of the first half of Anza- remembering this as I am struggling in my granny gear to keep slowly moving up the hill. It reminded me of the time I first rode this trail- at night, just after being sick, and struggling to keep up with the group. It humbled me and helped me remember the reasons I got into MTBing in the first place.

As the climb kept going, I realized my brake was rubbing on the tire. Right before the insanely steep section we took a break, and I realized that my back brake was basically half on the entire climb :madman:

So after getting that fixed, I continued to struggle up the hill. My breath felt good, I wasn't really out of breath, but my legs were burning like there was no tomorrow. Remembering what the downhills were one of the reasons I kept going.

I remembered that when the trees start thinning out, the climb is almost over. A couple more easy switchbacks and I was finally at the top. By this time we had gone about 5 miles and climbed about 1700 ft (I believe). After getting our jackets, balaclavas, gloves, and everything else we had on we started our descent.

First we took it easy down Elderberry, trying to get used to downhills on dirt, and also at night. The trail has some pretty good ruts in the beginning, and a few more at the end. The downhill was a little slippery at some places, nice and tacky at others.

When we got to the double-track part of the downhill towards Domino Pond, I opened up the throttle and let loose. I found that the ruts in this section of the trail are mostly gone, and I was able to go down it faster than I used to. As we flew down the trail, we hit patches of ice/sorta snow on the ground. As we hit each little valley in the hillside, the temp would drop dramatically, then rebound as soon as you came out of it.

Anza/Jackson pain, Elderberry was warmup, Domino Pond was intermission, and Rockgarden was the main event. That trail had its slippery moments, and was pretty covered in leaves, but it felt sooooo good rippin that trail. It had its moments of being tacky to the point where you felt you could go whatever speed you want on a turn, to instantly turning sloppy. I took a turn like that and both wheels washed out on me. Luckily I was able to get off the bike without harm to bike, human, or trail.

We continued down the trail, past the section that had been worked on a year or so ago. The work has held up beautifully, the trail had no ruts down the middle, and was very fast. I even got brave and caught a little air on some sections.

As we hit the rockgarden part of the trail, my legs were starting to get tired and my arms were getting fatigued from all this riding. So I decided to play it safe, and cruise through the gardens, and just have fun. We were all smiles as we went through the garden, over the fallen tree, and back to the fireroad climb out.

As we came down Coit road heading back to civilization, we were all laughing and joking and all smiles. By this time the temp had dropped to about 35 degrees or so, and I was just loving life. I made a resolve that night to ride my MTB out on the trails as much as possible this year. One ride has completely sparked my love for the sport, and cycling in general.

Hope to see ya'll on the trails this year, and I have a list of trails that I want to hit up this year :thumbsup:
 

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Fermented Grain Sampler
clinking clanking clattering collection of collagenous junk
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4,168 Posts
Nice report. I need to get my sorry butt out to Coe again soon. Its been waaayyy too long
 
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