After breakfast, I checked over my bike and found that the pulleys on the rear der were pretty much frozen up. Nice. I pulled them both off and cleaned out a cup full of grit. All better now. It was raining again and we all rode the 2 miles up Bluff St from the hotel to the Starbucks.
Lynda layed out the plan of a shorter route due to the wet soil, and off we went. The first 5 miles or so were on pavement, but as soon as we hit dirt, it was nasty clay. Within 50' I was pushing a bike that simply refused to roll anymore. The Lev is not very generous when it comes to rear tire clearance and the bridge on the front fork is kinda low too, so in no time it was a mess. Pushing turned to carrying. Nuts!
The bike was hopelessly fouled. The rear der pulleys were clogged, the chain was full of clay, I could not even see my front der...man! KT came riding by slowly, but he was moving. It looked like the trail got better soon, but by now, it was almost beyond the point of riding the bike without breaking something or just wearing out stuff. Riders were struggling by on bikes that sounded like popcorn poppers as the chain hopped around looking for a home. Ed the Tall came pushing up to me, pretty much as fouled as I. Riders were turning around and bailing and by now the leaders were waaayy gone. Well, I had had enough. Live to fight another day, I guess, but this was to be the 'fun' day of flowy trails. Nuts!!
Ed the Tall is a geologist when he is not riding bikes, and as we walked back to the pavement, he enlightened me on the soil type we were just schooled by. Bentonitic Clay (sp?) it was. Bentonite does not like being wet and it shares its displeasure with anything it touches. It is incredibly sticky and even sucked up rocks and wedged them into small places. 30 minutes of poking and scraping with sticks had up rolling again and we sulked as we headed to another car wash.
We consoled ourselves with a Starbucks visit, but on the way I called KT who was still riding. Of course, the ride got all better about a 1/2 mile after we turned around. Figures. Later that night at the group dinner, I was speaking to Dave Chenault (who happens to have excellent taste in mtn bike choices) and he said that he was cussing at himslf for not having immediately begun carrying his bike when the clay struck. Lemming impulse, I guess. I too was just looking at the rider ahead of me and pedaling to my doom.
Camp Lynda day 2 was a washout for Ed and I. I hate quitting a ride, but I still have a bike that I can ride on Sunday and I really doubt that would have been true if I would have continued.
I would have loved to have had the SS today. The killer app, for sure. Oh well. It is what it is.