Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Fred Tour

Snuck out for a quick two-dayer with Fred. Great to get out in it, doubly great to be able to refine gear a bit more. Fred's fitness is coming around fast (no pun) as evidenced by the fact that he was out ahead the whole damn time, as well as by the fact that I had a hard time getting out of bed at 9 AM this morning.

Fred putting in a little extra oomph to keep it flowing.




Paintbrush glow while Fred earns the climb.


Great flowers and a brief break with impending doom on the horizon.


A 4 hour spring shower (with snowline just ~1000' above us) meant a severe revision of our route plans. Wet clay in this region is simply impassable, prompting a 30-mile stretch of abandoned hwy to get to a c-store. Much consumption ensued.


We didn't leave the c-store until close to midnight, and were tired/sleepy enough to stop and drop just about any time. Cold evening temps prompted us to ride a few miles before bivying, just to get our core temps back up.


Acute right turn comin' up. Hard to see the vague trail in the dark, so navigation by GPS was often necessary.


Rise and shine.


Damp trails early on caused some delay while we scraped mud or searched out detours.


The one thing that pics rarely convey is wind. Throughout the day I'd estimate we were bucking an average ~20mph headwind, with rare lulls and frequent ridgeline gusts of 30+. As we crested this ridge (and every one thereafter) we were met with a blast to the face.


To put the day in perspective, a 'normal' mid-May ride in this region would feature ~90 degree temps, lots of sand, past-prime wildflowers and cheat grass going to seed. We never took off the leg warmers, drank less than half of what we thought we would, and the flowers seemed like they were still on the upswing.

Nice flow through here.


The previous day's rain packed most of the washes down real good.


Some were moister than others, and this one was pretty heavy on alkali soup.


Some were simply impassable.


Moto-installed trails in this region have many things in common. Among them are ridicu-steep hills that no human could pedal up. The spines they ascend/descend are aesthetically pleasing for sure.


Not thirsty at the moment, thankyouverymuch.


Clouds boil as Fred crests another pusher.


'Ow' is the best word for the constant steep spines.


Claret cups brightened the landscape, as did paintbrush, flax, phlox, chamisa, globe mallow, and 62 others whose names I never remember.








Go that way.


Now come this way.


Yay.


Again I say yay.


Neither of us ever cried uncle, neither did we complain at the brief bits of flat ranch road that connected the steep singletrack.


You are here.


Fred's a spiny fella.


Hauling the mail as the day winds to a close.


Our route connected one of the most popular regional routes (first day) with one of the least popular (second day). We saw a few motos, a ~dozen or so bikers and a few vehicles on the first. And the second? A few sheep and a man atop a horse, cresting a ridge a long way off.

Some trails are so fun and well put together that I can't wait to get back out on them. Others? Not so much. I doubt I'll ride this one again (at least not in it's entirety) but I'll never forget it either.