Friday, May 21, 2010

The 'Other Office' - God's Cubicle

Somedays ya' just gotta ride to work and, as luck would have it, this week was ride to work day.  Trouble was, none of us felt like working.  So, we decided to ride to the 'other office' and spend some time in the bigger cubicle where the only 'office dividers' are set by your ability to pedal and endure and the skills you need to survive.  In that way, the limits are set, not by fabric covered panels with pics of faraway places on them, but the desire to move yourself to the faraway places you see in front of you...the next summit, the distant valley. Near and far horizons beckon tired legs and sore backsides.

Yesterday that was just part of the 30-ish mile, 4 hour loop that three of us celebrated a mid week Thursday ride with.  We met at Ed The Tall's extravagant hacienda and guest ranch;  Jammer on his new Specy Epic Comp 29er, myself on the Epic Marathon, and Ed pedaling the Dos Niner 'Awesome Inch' softtail 29er.

I was trying out some new skins, the Schwalbe Rocket Rons, a new 29er tire, and I had the Osprey Raptor 18 hydration pack ready for duty, filled with Elete Electrolyte Add-In treated water....and oatmeal raisin cookies.  Ok..a Snickers bar too.  Ah, and those little cheese filled cracker packs.  And a banana.

Across town, bike path to surface streets, playing 'chicken crossing the road' with the commuters heading to the voluntary cubicle confinement of another kind, and then the foot of The Beast.  OK, not that terribly bad as climbs go, but it always makes me suffer for some reason.  Anyway, over the saddle and then to a LA County Fire Camp 9 where we could see the valleys below, over the Santa Monica Mtns,  and, if it were not for fog, the ocean in the distance.

It was windy, too.  Santa Anas were raging, a warmish, dry wind out of the north was alternately pushing us along or pounding us into shifting two gears to keep going, depending on the direction of travel or the whim of the wind gods.  The goal, besides just riding for the sake of riding, was a little used singletrack that I had never been on, but had heard of.

Ed the Tall had ridden it and KT the Man, but I have never heard anyone else mention it.  Weird.  Ed said it was "typical San Gabriels type trail" and that could mean you need to pay attention.  What a gem it was!

Did I just ride that?

"Yes, Jammer...", says Ed the Tall..."and there is more"

This trail was worth the time to get there, but I can see why not too many ride it.  It is not in a place that makes for an easy loop from town.  Still, it was sweet...under the canopy of pines and oaks, not too techy at first, then the trail would slough off a bit and get to a few inches of tread with a dropoff to the left that would hurt...a lot.  Peeler log drops, tight switchbacks, swoop and dive, brake and pedal.

The delicate dance.

My commute vehicle in it's cubicle for the day.

Back up to Camp 9 on the pave', then more dancing down a steep and winding trail to a creekbed singletrack under the Sycamores.  Yeah, nice day at the office.

The wind opened up the can of 'whoop-you-know-what' on us on the way back across town, but by then we were just hammering, Ed the Tall standing out of the saddle and defying the wind to 'do it's worst', teeth bared in a symbol of his disdain for this paltry attempt at nature to deny us an easy passage (or his lips had blown back and were stuck on dry gums...not sure which).

Rolling back to the carefully manicured lawn of the Ed the Tall estate, we were spent and laid there like so much debris the Santa Anas had blown in;  bits of paper and dry, crackly leaves collected in the corner.

A typical day in the other cubicle.

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