Friday, June 25, 2010


Every so often I like to revisit old trails and locations that I had not seen in years.  This was the case for Saturday's ride #1.  I did not want to stuff 20 bucks worth of gas in the family truckster to get across town, so I looked into the map-in-my-head and came up with a route that I figured would get me about 4 hours of riding.

I had to be back by mid day for a potential bit of bike testing business, so I got out a bit later than I had intended, but still I was on the road by 08:00 AM.  I grabbed the SS Jabberwocky just to up the difficulty a bit.  Gears are sooo easy (sure) and besides that, I just like to ride the SS every chance I get.

The Chinese calendar has the timeline broken down into odd things (to this Westerner's reckoning) such as the 'Year of the Rat", etc.  OK, fine.  In that case, I will call 2010 the Year of the Bee.  We always get hives placed in various canyons and such in the local area from spring to early summer, but this year was intense.  Many rides were like some hideous video game where you are trying to avoid hundreds of flying targets in your path.  It did not always work out so well.

So, on the first section of dirt, it was the same scenario.  Bee city and the keepers thereof.  I gotta get me one of those suits, maybe with an 8 panel chamois in it.

Bee keepers..a blessing and a curse.  I heart honey.

A bit farther along the road I played hide and seek with a coyote.  It always amazes me how agile animals are.  He (or she) was bounding through the brush like it was nothing.  Then it hit the road and would run a bit, stop and look.  I would pant and pedal a bit closer and then the pattern would repeat.  Neat animals, unless you are a chicken or house cat.


At the top of the first 8 miles of climbing, I took a Snickers break before it melted.  I was melting too.  Kinda warm today as the June gloom seems to be giving way to July roaster.  I was also wearing the Bonty shoes I have been testing and a new pack...yes, another Osprey Manta 25.  It was bigger than I needed for the day, but the mesh panel kept it cool on my pack.  Nice pack and ready for hiking and scrambling as well.  More on that later on The Cyclist Site.

Comfy shoes and Swiftwick socks.

Osprey Manta 25 hydration pack.

It must have been 15 years or more since I was on top of this Townsend Peak.  When I was doing a couple of Ride Guide books for mountain biking, we hit every trail on the map and some that were not on ANY map.  This trail showed it taking off of the peak and heading west toward the town of Piru and the lake there.  Then we drove a truck up a good road and parked at the hitching rail circled in the pic.  The trail takes off just behind the rail and heads down and to the right towards the far right arrow, ending up at the middle arrow far below.  The lake is behind the hills here.  I could still see the trail and I remember it was a good ride, passing through cattle grazing areas and lots of wildflowers.  I also remember pushing 50% of the way back up.  We never came back and I don't think this one made the guide books either.

Like many USFS roads, this one has been falling into ruin.  At one point, there was a wash out that prevented any vehicle from getting through and now the road is brushed in and narrow.  Actually that is good for me...more fun...but bad for anyone else who might want to get a horse trailer or other vehicle in there.

Spring clings.

We drove a truck through here?

The goal achieved.

I celebrated my peak bagging by laying under a Yerba Santa, getting  my head out of the sun, and listened to the frenzied buzzing of myriad buzzy things...files, bees...dunno...but they were the insect equivalent of superbikes and sounded like Suzuki Hayabusas on the pipe.  No wonder insects have short lives.  I was much less stressed then they were and cloud watched a bit before heading out.  

One gear pedaled, one bike pushed, one peak bagged and reconnected with.  See ya' in another fifteen.