Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

12 January 2009

who's that, puffing down the track?

Y'all been waiting for a while? Well, then it must be me.

Saturday night (allright!) and the Full wolf Moon did NOT disappoint. The (wildly speculative) rumor was that this is the closest we'll have been to the moon in 150 years. Someone else threw "Forever." into the pot, but that seems like a lie. Much of it seems like a lie. Regardless, the moon was huge and lit up the place real satisfactorily.

Fort Ord is getting torn apart. Eucalyptus is shorn of it's pavement and is now a 4 lane wide swath of sand. That'd be OK if it stayed that way, but it won't. Much of the good ridgeline stuff between the Stairs and the old Scout Camp is shredded and gladed and on target for overpriced housing with no water supply. Shit.

In spite of all this (and we knew it was coming), riding is still there to be had. Good twisty singletrack under the arching moonlit sky. Beers in the dark-er light. Kept it an early night, as Sunday was big plans, big plans. Rode out from town in time to see the sunset and then on into the moonlight, getting in about 11pm. 24-27 miles?

BIG Plans involving the recon for the upcoming 10th annual County Line Jamboree. A ~47 mile rattler involving HWY1 from Wadell Beach at the Northern end of Santa Cruz County, transitioning to riding "within spitting distance at all times" of the railroad tracks into Capitola/Aptos/someotherconfusingsubsectionofSantaCruz, where the strong of body and weak of mind ride the lowtide line along the beach to the Pajaro River (3 miles past the finish/party in Watsonville), which marks the boundary to the South. I have mentioned before what a rotten idea this County Line is, but this year really takes the cake. The historic course is this year's "short course", and the "regular route" is: Watsonville to Mt. Madonna, dirt Summit to Loma Prieta, cross 17 and up Bear Creek to 35. Take 35 (which has got to be one of the most windy and satisfying roads around) to 9, and drop down to 236. Climb to China Grade, and then make decisions about getting to the coast at Wadell to then ride the short course in. If this is not gobbledygook to you, you know what I'm saying.

We took off from Nisene to do this at 8:45am. Geared cross bikes. We returned around 8pm. Distance estimated from "at least a 100" all the way up to "102 and haaaard"miles total.

There was AN extended stop at the Summit Store-by which point I was so addled I could not decide what to get for snacks. I decided on a tall boy, 2 bananas and some wasabi roasted almonds. I noticed no one else was purchasing beer and this concerned me. Primarily because that meant I would probably have to share if I opened it around them. MA graciously shared her electrolyte drank mix with me, though, so fair is fair. The already haggard peloton lost 2 at Summit Store. J and M were smarter than most and opted out of the remainder.

One other stop at the intersection of 35/9, at the Mr. Mustard Hotdog stand, where we witnessed the jackass motorcycle scene and I got a sad little tofu weiner which, saggy and small as it was, was critical for my ability to remain conscious. I was stretching/hanging from a post and groaning.Then I gathered up a loogy from deep inside, something vital mixed with trail dust and grit, and spat. Mr. Mustard was concerned and asked me if I had been feeling bad all day. How to explain the deep and sustained suffering? Impossible. The closest I could come was a sad chuckle and the words'"We've been riding a long time and...this is hard." He did not understand, this is not an illness or a sudden attack- this is an abiding thing, a dark, creeping obsession that will never go away. Broken at least twice and we still look forward to the next section of swooping Goodness. Just a taste, and all the grinding climb is worth it.There were none other stops for me.

I had known there would be trouble when I awoke at 6am to swap tires, drink lots of water, and feel like I could have done with 2.5 less beers under the Full Wolf Moon. Some things have to be done, though.

I had known I was in over my head midway through the initial sustained steep of Mt. Madonna at 9:30 in the morning.By the time we began 236, I had gotten accustomed to rolling up to a group of people I recognized who then hopped on their bikes and rode away again. I understand this was a necessary thing. The pace has to be what it has to be, cuz sunset won't wait on my slow ass to stop and sit. We moved on. On roads and shadows of roads I've never seen. DAMN, it is beautiful on that long and winding ridge. Lots of varying conditions and trail surface.

When we came out of the hills, around that last corner when the golden sunset light was allofasudden a thick haze you felt as some other medium than air, we arrived at the start of the short course. On Game Day, it will be necessary to ride the actual course route, but we were all prepared to ride back in on HWY1. Which we did, as the just past full Wolf Moon rose in it's own thick golden shroud.

The thinking has been to add 3 hours to our total time to account for singlespeedage. I now believe this estimate to be inaccurate. I would add 3 hours to the total time for SS, but taking into account our easy road cruise back in, and skipping the beach as we did, and all the beers you will end up drinking en route, a 5 hour add on is realistic. You know, for my pace. That puts the total ride at something like 16 hours. What?


I will also be leaving Watsonville around 5am, not this 9am bourgeois stuff. There is wise talk of flipflopping; I cannot imagine doing the route in a single singlegear. It's just too sustainedly hilly; low enough to climb will KILL you on the downs/flat, and walking more than a little up will put you in the deep dark by the finish. So bring what you think you will need to climb Mt Madonna (39x27 hurt), and get through the beach flats. If you are thinking of attempting this on your little baby-housecat 26" SS, just stop right now. You will hate yourself. Bring lots of water, there is only Summit Store to refill. Bring lots of food, there is only Summit Store to refuel, as I suspect Mr. Mustard is fickle. The ride is scheduled Feb. 7th, and I'll post a flyer when I get one. I got a lot of training to do between now and then...

3 things.
1) If you don't ride the County Line, you are smart. But you will miss a very Good Time.
2) If you ride the County Line, and do the "short course", you are (a pussy) smart. But you will miss a very Good Time.
3) I am categorically stating that I will arrive at the finish proudly aboard my singlespeed.

Smoke that shuttlecock.


RickySilk said...

It's Thomas!

(sorry couldn't resist)

Fxdwhl said...

sounds like fun. i'll be over around 7. i assume they'll be a couch for me to crash on.

reverend dick said...

RickySilk, you must be a Very Useful Engine. Let's get together and teach that uppity Sir Topem Hat some manners.

Fxdwhl, of course they is a couch fo you, dog. But you better come over earlier than 7 if we wanna ride that long route.I am sure you would enjoy it.

Lord Hayden said...

I don't know...send me your PowerTap readout and I'll think about it

Fxdwhl said...

a multi hour trek would really hit the spot. been a while since I've found the time. commuting and two hour hammer sessions only quench the thirst so much.

reverend dick said...

No problemo, Bro. I've just got to collate the data so I know what my target heartrate will be given the projected humidity for that day and cross reference that with my wattage needed for each 1/2 mile (don't wanna go overboard) section of the ride. I'll send it over as soon as I overlay all that on a 3d model of the course, with computerized course cues so's I don't get offtrack by more than 3.789 feet.

I really LOVE riding singlespeed bikes. I'm all about the purity and simpleness.

bite me said...

Here's my moon:

It was dog-butt cold here that night, but I couldn't miss the perigee, so I swapped tires for skates and headed to the Redneck Riviera (Ken's Lake). The Reverend knows.
Happy Trails
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