Sunday, August 9, 2009

July 26-Aug 1

SO, we have been busy and lazy. We had a change in schedule that basically meant that riding in Cali would be shortened considerably. My family all decided to meet in Arcata at my sister’s house. My folks were really excited to get us all together. The last time was at our wedding over 4 years ago. Eric and I had to prioritize our trails. We decided to hit Tahoe hard and then head to Downieville to finish it off before rushing out to the coast.
Tahoe was amazing! The views are spectacular and the trails immaculate. We started with the classic Rim trail to Flume. This was by far the lamest trail. The Rim trail section was really fun, with a few challenging rocks and super fast downs. The Flume, was scenic, boring, crowded . . . . pretty much a big disappointment. The Rim trail surrounds the lake with around 200 miles of trail. We decided to try some other sections that were open to bikes. After a short regroup, we set out with our lights for an evening ride. We did the Kinsbury section until the light faded. It was beautiful. No wild animal sightings. Actually, we didn’t see anything bigger than a squirrel the entire time we were in Tahoe!

In the morning we chose the famous “Mr Toads Wild Ride” trail. After a brutal climb, we were met with some technical drops and loose sand. Although we were warned this trail was for downhill riders and required more suspension than our cross country bikes, Eric and I had little trouble navigating through rocky sections. I got off my bike a couple times, but rode the majority of the techy section. One cool spot was a staircase of wood with sand to make it slick. Although not too challenging, it was something Eric and I had never experienced before. After the little tricky spot, we bombed through the winding fun and fast trail that led us to the bottom. We were happy with the ride, but it left something to be desired.

The next day, we took the advice of a local bike shop guy (Wattabike), who said to ride from Heavenly, up the Rim, down Armstrong. All our rides required shuttling a car (motorcycle) to the other side in Tahoe, but that didn’t mean we were doing downhill rides. The reason to shuttle was to get from one point to the other without backtracking. I didn’t realize that. The climb out of Heavenly was really decent. There were technical sections, one of which, ate me. My knee took the brunt of it only 2 miles into our day. I cried. After cleaning my wound with hand sanitizer, we decided to continue on our ride as planned. It was sore for the rest of the day, but this was the ride I will remember when I think of Tahoe riding, and not because I split my knee open. It was hellish climbing (hmm, not selling this well), but everything was part of the adventure. The views were amazing and changed drastically from overlooking farmland on an exposed ridge to alpine desert. We even passed a lake (Star Lake). Once over the top of the final ridge, we had beautiful foliage and large odd looking trees. We made it to Armstrong Pass with huge smiles on our faces. From there, we took a super-duper fun downhill down the Armstrong trail. Seriously, it was sooooooo fun. Looping and banked! Then we took a trail called Sindwinder that made us dizzy with all its banked turns and finally finished with Corral Trail.

To finish off the Tahoe area, we hit yet another section of the Rim trail. This one started up Martis Peak and finished in Tahoe City. This was supposed to be our big downhill shuttled ride, but again, to my surprise we had at least 3 major climbs, which led us to conclude that there are no “downhill” rides in Tahoe. We had a few sections of fun downhill and one good section of ledge riding. Although this trail was better than average for most of the rides we have done, it didn’t really compare with the previous day’s ride. Also, the weather was on the edge of dangerous. The sky rumbled and lightning was visible jumping between clouds. I was scared for most of the ride and looked forward to seeing the end. This came several hours later. We left Tahoe with most of our skin and blood and lots of good memories. We drove all the way to Truckee for the night (not very far).

The only ride that people will tell you about in Truckee is called Hole-in-the-Ground. I agree, it was realy fun, but a lot of the trail (~10%) had these giant concrete pavers. It took away from being out on a trail and the people who put them in could have done a much better job with the placement. One in particular dropped you onto a rock that would perfectly positioned to endo you. I mean, come on! Everyone also warned that the climb was horrendous!, but we didn’t think it even came close to some of the riding we had just done in Tahoe. It was like people in Truckee hadn’t made it to Tahoe for any riding. It was a good ride and the hill was pretty good. Eric had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, so everything was annoying to him at Hole-in-the-Ground, but all in all, it was still a very good ride. Neat rocks! The whole time we were joking about the “technical” downhill that we were riding and how we were able to continue our conversation while riding it and how that made us such bad-asses. The final decent we were nearly ate our words because it was super sketchy, decent drops, rooty, downs. These hiker ladies were impressed at first. Then I saw the perfect endo rock and in an effort to avoid it, drove right into it! I said,”Oh, Shhhhhhhoot!” In the end, I didn’t endo, just bounced right over it, but when I rode up to Eric my leg was shaking with adrenaline. We agreed that there were some technical downhills afterall. HA!

Downieville was where the downhill was promised and received. On day 1, we shuttled the moto to the end and camped about 6,000 vertical feet above, near the trailhead. We started with a sick half mile paved climb to start, but after that, FUN!!!! Eric had done his research and had our entire route on GPS to prevent missing anything awesome. It was great! We did a similar plan for day 2, but that didn’t work out so well. We wanted to hit everything that we missed on day 1 and not have to do much climbing to get it. Unfortunately, some trails that were serving as short cuts, no longer existed and we spent a grueling climb going out and around to reach the other side (Whoops!). In all, day 2 had about 6,000 ascending and 10,000 vertical feet in descending. We didn’t complain too much. We had one more adventure planned in the lakes basin area, however, when we checked our messages, we each had one from my mother. She wanted us in Arcata pronto! We were going to stick to the plan and finish our riding, but decided we wouldn’t really enjoy it much knowing everyone else was together rafting the Trinity. Eric and I booked out of Downieville for a late night drive ending somewhere near Weaverville and continued on to the put-in in the morning. We were glad we did!

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