Sunday, July 13, 2008

Man stuff: Camping, Riding, Eating. The Good Life.

The First Annual Iron Men Camp-and-Ride weekend is in the books. The Iron Men dealie is a list of Christian guys I know who all like to get out and ride as often as we can, but life and all its pressures and obligations can make that hard to do. So, I set aside a weekend where we could get away from all that, camp, ride, eat, take power naps, etc.

We camped at Mt Pinos in the Los Padres National Forest. The singletrack that runs through the forest there is very fine and is a challenging climb if you decry the shuttle and ride up to earn the DH. Some of our group are training for a tour in the Colorado high country, so the 7 to 8 thousand foot elevations and miles of climbing would get them just a bit fitter for the upcoming trip.

We camped nearly by ourselves on a beautiful evening and following day. We had Joe W., Phil C., and myself camping. Joe's brother Dan came up to join us, camping next door, and Stan the Man would meet us for the ride on Sat AM.

The next morning we loaded up and drove down to the bottom of the trail. The plan was to ride up McGill, Harvest, Southridge, and then to the summit of Mt Pinos, then turn around and zoom back to the truck. I figured around 3-4 hours of riding. McGill Trail is around 3 miles and is a granny ring shocker right from the truck. It gets easier in the last mile, but it can humble ya if you come up with a flatlander's big ol' ego and pin it from the parking area. Yipes! No air up here.

From here, we continued moving up the series of trails and kept on climbing. At the end of the second trail, Stan the Man, who had been running late to meet us, caught up to us and the five of us carried on. Stan was looking fit. Must be sneak training. I will point out that we are a...a how shall I say it, a 'mature' group. No young'uns here, but 40 is the new 30 and 50+ is just getting warmed up! The meadow at Chula Vista campground was beautiful and the Lupine was taller than my saddle height.

We kept on up to the very summit of Mt Pinos, 8845', and the view was definitely worth it. A bit of picture taking, some food intake, and we were ready to go. Stan is getting a jump on us here and is playing catch me if you can. I never caught Stan until we regrouped. Fast, old dude, that Stan.

Down we went, no crashes, no mechanicals, just great stuff. I ran into a bunch of shuttle monkeys on big-hit bikes and decided to play catch up on the trail section out of Chula Vista. This is one section of trail that has very clear views down the trail so speeds can be much higher here, and it is much more techy with root jumps, ruts, etc. They had a head start, but I caught the last guy, even with my 29er XC geek bike and all. Still not too old I guess, this Vintage Rider. Here Dan defies gravity for a brief bit and scares the camera man all at the same time.

It was a great day on the mountain, the campground was nearly empty, the weather was warm and the trails were sweet. 15 miles, 7.5 up, 7.5 down, 4134' of climbing.

God is good.

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