Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dehydration Test Take 2

Every week as Saturday rolls around, Carl and I hash out a route in the Santa Ana's to play bikes. When planning these rides I have one requirement, that we climb more elevation than last week, and hopefully in the process cover more miles. I like the challenge of pushing myself to go further and harder each week, and I'm not really satisfied with a ride if it isn't bigger in some way than last week. This attitude might become a problem at some point, as the days get shorted and as we reach our physical ceiling of what we are capable of doing, but for now its been making for some awesome, painful Saturdays. 
View from Cocktail Rock, the top of our first climb, and one of my favorites in the Santa Ana's.
This week our plan was to ride up San Juan Trail and the Wall, down Yeager Mesa, up West Horsethief, down East Horsethief, up El Cariso and the Wall (again) and down Los Pinos. This ride was 42 miles long with about 13k total ascent. Here is a short synopsis of the ride/sufferfest. 
We started up San Juan at 7 am, it was cool, I took off to do some intervalish things. We felt good at the top, and continued through Bluejay Campground. The first time up the wall I tried to go slow, but its already super dry despite the rain last week. At the top we paused for a second before heading down Yeager. This time Yeager was WAY more fun than last time. It was dry again, I didn't crash into any trees, and my new SRAM Guide brakes work super well, so I could let go and trust they would stop me in an instant if something went wrong. At the bottom we scrambled across the creek bed and headed up West HT.
View back down into Trabuco Canyon from West H.T.
This trail is incredibly steep, has these crazy hard switchbacks, and never really gives you a chance to rest. I was able to ride a lot more than I expected, and despite the terriblness of the trail, it only took about 30 minutes to get back up to Main Divide. We took a sandwich break at the top under some awesome pine trees. 
Still feeling good. Also, I let Carl take a break, wasn't that nice of me :)
Then we cruised down East HT, which really means Carl bombed down the hill jumping across and into and around ruts like a pro while I smashed my left knee into my top tube over and over again while dragging a foot most of the way down. There were some fun sections, and I was very grateful to the group who rode East last week after the rain (Darrin?), because I used their tracks to figure out how to navigate most the ruts (this trail is all ruts, like 100% of the time there is a rut, or 2, or 10 you have to somehow ride in or around). I was pleased to get to the bottom, except it was as hot as summer down there, and I was starting to feel a little tired. We rode right up Cariso without stopping and got to the camp ground about 30 min later. Then we had to ride the wall a second time. This part of the ride sucked, like really really sucked. I was not a happy camper. My butt hurt, my legs were tired, my head was starting to hurt, it wasn't much fun. Fortunately for me I got to Pinos peak some time before Carl and took a nap on a rock. 
Still smiling on the peak, 6 hours into the ride.
Thankfully, the nap revived me and I enjoyed every inch of Pinos, much like last time we rode it. I had a blast surfing the ruts full of chunky rocks, and the new brakes once again proved invaluable. We got from the peak to the bottom in an hour (which is really good for this trail). Carl was quite tired at the end, but I pretended to feel great so he would think I was a freak of nature (in reality I was a little tired, just a tiny bit). How lucky are we to have hundreds of miles of riding in out back yards, and enough options to go big every weekend and not have to ride the same trails every week?!

Let's hope this coming weekend brings a longer ride with more elevation! I can't get enough base training. This might be my favorite time of year!

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