Monday, May 20, 2013

Eastside of Tinnemaha Reservoir

Saturday I rode the mountain bike from our house down to Big Pine then east to the base of the Inyo Mountains and south to near the dam on Tinnemaha Reservoir. Somehow, going somewhere I have never been by bike is enormously appealing to me, so I was excited to check this area out.

There are several nice spots on the way to Big Pine. 

The base of the Inyos from afar.

After a few miles of cruising on the pavement from Big Pine, the journey into the unexplored (by me anyway!) began.

The views across the valley to the Sierra were constantly pleasing.

I was surprised to find these silt badlands along the way which made for great landscape.

Mule Spring and mine.

At the turnaround looking back from whence I came.

The bike.

Recent rain seemed to have benefited the riding on the sand and silt and the Desert Plume liked it too.

The riding was real pleasant, the weather ideal, and the sense of exploration made for a wholly enjoyable experience.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The North Coast

The day after the century Mary, Bristle, and I were looking for a little relaxing time at the coast, so we headed up to one of my favorite beaches, College Cove, just north of Trinidad. 

My second year in college I lived a short walk from here and spent countless blissful hours strolling the sands and exploring the cliffs. A light fog was burning off and, as the sun warmed the sand, steam rose from the beach. Shorts, T-Shirts and bare feet were in order!

Bristle B loved it too.

We then hiked over to Elk Head.

and enjoyed the view back towards College Cove.

On our last day of the trip, Brian joined us for a drive up to Gold Bluff Beach in Redwood National Park where the fog was thick and cool.

 We were treated to several good Elk sightings on the way in.

Fern Canyon was the next stop on the beautiful scenery tour.

Mary found a log which resembled a dog with its belly up, so she gave it a good rub!

Then we visited one of the several tall trees in the area. Really tall!!

The ride, the scenery and all of that were wonderful, but by far the greatest part of the trip was spending time with old, dear friends.

This is a pic of Karl, Brian and me over thirty years ago. Thanks for digging this up Henry!

Brian and me in Fern Canyon.

Karl and me at the Mad River Brewery beer garden.
I miss these guys!

At the end of the day, the end of trip, we were all pretty pooped!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tour of The Unknown Coast

Mary and I did the long drive to Humboldt County and rode the Tour of the Unknown Coast. Mary peddled the 100km and I tackled the 100 miler, billed as the "toughest century in California." A ride I last completed 27 years ago!

After driving from McKinleyville in heavy fog, we arrived in sunny, green Ferndale for the start.

I haven't ridden a century in almost a century, so I sort of forgot that they start out much like a road race, with a large, fast moving pack that you want to stay in for the draft. 

After a couple of sharp, short rises the pack split up and I rode along by myself enjoying the scenery.

Although that did not last long, as I was quickly joined by a small group and we worked a decent pace line to the point we almost caught the front group by the base of the first major climb.

Once we started climbing to Panther Gap each rider was pretty much on their own, going their own pace. It took a while before my legs adjusted from flat land hammering to climbing, but the scenery and perfect weather made for an enjoyable climb.

From the top of Panther Gap we plunged down a steep, rough, technical descent to the gorgeous Mattole River Valley.

Lest you think you just roll down the river valley to the ocean - beware! Very little of this section is truly flat and as you get closer to the ocean the undulations become more severe.

The riding along this completely undeveloped coast is nothing short of sublime - especially if you get a rare tailwind like we did.

Then, at mile 80, "The Wall" appears and the mind has a hard time grasping how you are going to ride up the thing.

I somehow managed to get this shot back along the coast while struggling to keep the pedals turning.

After almost 1000' of climbing the gradient backs off and the riding is pleasant for a short stretch.

Quickly, though, you find yourself descending on more crazy road to the base of "The Endless Hill", which starts out pretty steep in it's own right.

And seems to go forever!


I was really thanking myself for putting on some low gears. I mean really low gears (36x36)!

Finally another fairly insane descent (rough, steep, twisty and in/out of the shade) brought me back to Ferndale. Not shattered, but not far from shattered!

My goals for the ride were:
 1. Be safe. I crashed without injury 27 years ago and crashed heavily and had to quit 23 years ago.
 2. Enjoy the scenery. Take pictures. Look around!
 3. Ride strong.

I managed to accomplish all three.
Truly epic and truly fun.

If you get a chance, and are fit enough to finish, do it!