Monday, January 02, 2006

Interesting ride report (dec 31)

This was sent to me by Thom Parsons who's wintering out California way, pretty wild:

New year's eve day 2005. I saw things today that would have only seemed unimpressive to victims of Hurricane Katrina or the tsunami. The day started off with my host in Fairfax, Pete running around like a madman trying to stem the stream of water running through his hillside basement. I went down to the garage to get the bikes out, what I found was a veritable cascade coming through the far wall, gushing over the workbench which was littered with expensive snap-on tools, motorcycle parts, electronic equiptment, and all sorts of other stuff you wouldn't want to get wet. I grabbed a funnel and positioned it to divert the flow directly onto the floor although the damage was done, a thing can only get so wet. When Pete arrived it was full on freak out time, this delayed the ride for a bit and soured his mood for all of ten minutes. When a muddy, hair-raising, poach-filled ride is on the table in front of Pete, nothing is going to ruin his appetite.

There was some debate about the ride venue so we were surprised when our buddy Ron actually showed up to the trailhead. So the group was me, Pete, Mo (Pete's wife), and Ron. We began our ascent, after just a few pedal stokes we came upon a washed out section of road and a massive mudslide, after gawking for a moment we rolled upwards along a raging river which was likely a mere stream prior to the six inches of rain which had fallen in the past twenty-four hours. All along this impromptu river were luxury homes that seemed to be on the brink of destruction, then we came across the real carnage (see photos). What was a road suddenly became the river itself and the river...well that was still a river as well. We rode as far as possible until our wheels washed out from under us and we were forced to portage through the remainder of the brown-water rapids. A large pick up truck and a compact (compacted by the time we saw it) had apparently washed down from somewhwre up river, I won't bother describing what I saw because some of you might think me a touch hyperbolic, so look at the photos and while you do that imagine the four of us riding/portaging between the truck and the stump, also take note of the green car (or what's left of it) UNDER the truck.

Surprisingly the trail conditions were fine, not too muddy at all, definitely a few goat path stream crossings and a waterfall around every corner, oh with the exception of one section...a bridge had collapsed forcing us to utilize a semi-washed out singletrack along the hillside above a raging river. One part of the path was completely missing, forcing us to hold onto wet roots and hand the bikes along one at a time, this truly gave the ride an epic aura. The trails on the way up to Pan Toll (east side of Mt. Tam) are killer, fast rolling singletrack traverses, interspersed with technical root and rock sections, these may not be the most difficult maeuvers in the world but they seem so due to their proximity to the gorge just a few inches to the left. By the time we reached the top of Pantoll the sun had come out, an astonishing and pleasant development.

After some discussion as to the ideal route to the base of the mountain we came to the conclusion that, I should not pay attention to what was being said and agree to one plan yet blindly execute another, leaving Pete to descend the "Totally insane and sick" trail "Nora" all b his lonesome. It all worked out, Mo, Ron, and I basically rode down a gushing stream, over ice-slick roots, around a billion switchbacks to the area where the truck had wedged itself under the bridge.

Three hours or so after we had departed we arrived water-logged and wild eyed back at "Hedwig" the Toyota Prius, loaded her up, and proceeded at break neck speed to The Marin Brewing company where we imbibed two pitchers of their IPA (holy green hops, this stuff is good), and brow beat the server into creating a custom order of "garlic cheese fries" for us.

All this and the word on the trail is that the "real ride" happens tomorrow on New Year's day. I don't know if I can handle all this excitement.



At 1/02/2006 3:22 PM, Blogger JB said...

Unbelievable! WOW


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