Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

24 June 2011



Just quit.

Here to follow is my summation of 4 days/3 nights of bikecamping (or as the kids are slanging: "Bikepacking") in Henry Coe State Park.

Hottt climbing with bugs.

Oh yeah, and it was sooooooooper fun.

During the course of this event, we fell into the sleepy yet herky rhythm of bumbling Frenchified cyclotouristes from the 40s. It was easier to just go with it. A True Adventure will demand it's due, I suppose. So, don't judge- marvel...

Parking lot shakedown. Pack your stuff, lament the things you left behind, forget to pay the entrance fees, hide beers in the creek for your triumphant return, etc.

What became my accustomed view. T___ riding away from me on singletrack. As the trip progressed it became more and more apparent that he had no idea what he was doing. That all (ALL!) of the trails we took had been stitched together from various internet chat rooms and boastful forums. At this time, however, I was being led by the nose and thinking we were in for nothing but smoooth music.

I have come to the personal conclusion that I lik to wear what I lik on the bike. All of my fast guy lycra is blown out (have I been mining this cycling vein too long? My equipment is really taking the beatings) and plus, my commutes have learned me that wool underwear is plenty comfortable and dries faster to boot.
Skin out: wool underwear (long under wear bottoms cut off), silk t-shirt (long under wear top, cut off), super light poplin (all cotton) trousers (rolled up for pedaling, rolled down for bug protection, occasionally tucked into socks for tick proofedness), super light poplin (all cotton) western wear long sleeved shirt (for stylishly rugged good looks and to keep sun/pokey brush/ticks at bay), cool water soaked bandana around neck (a la the Lone Ranger) around my neck for temperature regulation and extra rugged Western flair/French tourist on Holiday swishy style, further bandana draped over my neck/ears for more sun/bug mitigation, deadly earnest Livestrong cycling cap, and helmet with headlamp. Also, gloves and shoe covers (to keep off the cheat grass, ticks, and posers.)
To those of y'all that were excited about the top tube Thermarest placement: me, too. But from the parking lot up the road, it was just too bulky. I moved it behind the saddle and it was much better.

Lots of nice climbs. The singletrack is AWESOME! Henry Coe has moved into my imagination in a very big way.

I believe this is Los Cruzeros, but things are fuzzy. I decline to reveal the route, as it is not mine to give, and things change seasonally quite a bit with overgrowth/maintenance/etc. Anyhow, there is still lots of water to be had, which is a very good thing. This rainy Spring really paid off. The holes were full and flowing, though dropping fast; when we got back to the parking lot, the beers we'd stashed under a foot of water were just resting half in/out of the creek. All planetary ducks had aligned just so to afford us the perfect window of the Sweet Ride. Ahhhh.

1st night camp view.

Apparently all party balloons that decline to head out over the Pacific blow into Henry Coe. This is one I found, and it became a motto of sorts.

Food. If I may: be really thoughtful about your food choices. I made several costly mistakes regarding my food choices. My guiding light in packing was "Oh, shit. The trip is tomorrow and I have to use whatever we have at hand." This is a poor way to go about planning. Rushy rush menus leave much to be desired, and cloud thinking. To wit: I forewent the Tabasco in favor of Taco Bell hot sauce packets. They were lighter! And easier, and actually not bad- but I was tired of them quick. My snacks were WOEFULLY meager. I grabbed a ziploc full of Starburst, which normally I do not eat but there they were- easy and sugary- so I packed them. And truth be told, the 4th day when stumbling my bike up Coit Road in the hot hottt sun I ate the hell out of them, one after another. But. T___ had honey mustard pretzels (Oh! how I wanted them) and cashews (which-yuck. In day to day are too sweet for me, but 3 days in looked fatty and creamy and made my mouth water) and peanut butter filled pretzels, see.

I packed just so much, and everthing in it's place, and what I had, and I did not go hungry...but the choices- my avocados? Well, I realized upon cutting into the 1st that I'd have to eat the whole thing right then as it was not going to keep (I packed them so cleverly, too) and the 2nd gyroscoped it's way loose from it's skin and turned to a strange, cracked shell surrounding a mush coated central core of harder stuff clinging to the pit. And this had been gonna be my lunches. On days 3 and 4 I was eating a powder sandwich: Taco Bell hot sauce and miso soup powder (begged from T___. I tried, very consciously, to not be covetous), nori, and Seitan jerky (which I'd made in our dehydrator, and which pretty much sucked...but it was a light and at hand way to bulk up my protein supply). Miso soup was a real fine call, by the way.

A powder sandwich.

Food. It matters. Don't blow it.

Although- yes those ARE toasted pumpkin seeds freshly prepared, trailside. So take that.

I can't find my trusty Esbit. I stopped by REI, thinking I could just pick up a replacement at the ridiculously stupid value of $15.99 for stove PLUS tabs...but they don't sell them anymore because (they aren't exciting and explodery enough) no one buys them. We had been gonna rely on T___'s MSR, but I stopped at the creepy white supremacist surplus store and found an $8.99 knock off that was 1/3 again bigger (and painted?!? the paint began burning away at 1st use, of course) so we used it to Great Success. For reals- you cannot eff this stove up. It can't not work. If the at hand fuel is soaked, use tabs. If the at hand fuel is dry, use it. Simple. Win.

Drink coffee.

Drink coffee with a view.

Hoover Lake was so lovely. There were 4 jackrabbits that we saw, just relaxing in the lush grass. It smelled great, it was shady (in the morning anyhow), I lost my Leatherman there, etc.

We put our stuff here, thinking we would camp, but the ground was overrun by large black ants. Lots of folks have camped there, sure, but we moved. That night (and the following) we slept up on the shoulder of Kaiser Aetna road. It was flat and bug-free.

Pedaling circle after circle will gift you with many things; a raging appetite to be sure, a level-headed platform from which to review your life, purple spots crowding your vision, and (in my case) the opportunity to listen to your drivetrain creakity click pop pop. OMG I need a new: pedals, BB, crankset, chainrings, chain, cassette, freehub. For reals.

You've seen my rig. Here is T___'s. He builds bikes and stuff, so it's real nice. Custom. Black Cat custom front rack y stem. Soulcraft custom (chainstays!) rear rack. 2x10 using a 38x26 by 12-36. A suspension fork of some kind. He rode away from me up and down. I think I wanted his bike even more than his snacks, and that's a lot.

Black Cat Bicycles


Don't go without a map.

We hung out in the culvert. Quote:" No one is gonna believe us how nice this is."

We spent 2 nights here. The 3rd day was a loop ride from/to here, for which we removed bags and just rode. Rad. We spent the latter part of those days here:

What's this?

A popular spot...

This, Friends, is SUMMERTIME. I, for one, welcome our Summer overlords.

Your Thermarest will serve as sweet sweet nap raft.

I will now state, unequivocally: This Hole in the Rock is the finest swimming hole I have ever been to, bar none. Whattayougot?

How it was on the 4th day. How was it? HOTTT. Climbing. Hott climbing. Henry Coe is well crenelated. Ridges and valleys.

Hottt as it was, no cramps. I packed my Tumm's, and used electrolyte tabs. Charmed, I'm sure.

It being as dry as it was, the ticks were waaaaaaaaaay less of a presence/problem than anticipated. Something like 14 total for me. Quite the change from last time.

That's it.


Johann Rissik said...

Black Cat Bicycle. Creepy White Supremacist Stove. One helluva Ride.

Herringbone said...

New fan...That was great!....So much fun...Thanks!

Joe said...

Awesome post! Looked like a fun trip. I have an Esbit stove that I've never used. I just keep using my supercat alcohol stove or campfire. I'm going to get the Esbit out and try it as a twig stove. Oh yeah... bike clothes?? meh... I wear what I want too. Just started using a fanny pack as well. My kids and wife hate it. Eff it, I love it.

blackcatbicycles said...

whoa, that has got to be the WHITEST hip hop performance of all time. surplus store owners' trade show?

that trip was a good damn time. too bad no water for next week possibilities...the door has closed.

for the record, not everything on the route was guessed about. there was some speculation as well.

twerk it.

Juancho said...

-and only 14 ticks and a powder sandwich. Simply delightful. L-I-V-I-N brother.

irishpunk59 said...

whatdoigot hows bout this
had a better one then this in mind but can't find a picture, maybe the missus deleted it but that said any hole ya got at the time may be the best

reverend dick said...

Love the hole you're with? That's creepy, and grammatically unsound.

That looks like a fine water spot...only I look at the next picture in the series and it's full up with hippies.

At our Hole in the Rock it was just us. Still the winner!