Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sage Brush Pre-Ride!

Ok, so it started off as a beautiful day. The proof is the picture I took when I turned off the freeway on the way to the race venue. A few clouds and a little chilly, but no biggie, right? I started a little late becasue I was trying to find a market where I could buy a one-day adventure pass (Ranger Station's closed on Sunday. D'oh!). I got a little confused trying to find the start/finish area, but used my Garmin to find the right spot, geared up and got going.

I was unsure how much food/clothing etc to bring, but erred on the side of carrying too much and filled the hydration pack, stuffed a couple granola bars in the jersey, and strapped my jacket to my pack...just in case.
Rolling up the pavement climb. Kinda sucky, but not too steep and a good warm up for the rest of the course. Clouds started rolling in, the wind picked up and temps dropped a little, but I was fine in my arm and knee warmers. Besides, I had my jacket just in case and a 60% chance of rain means there's 40% chance it might not...right? :D

Kernan Trail. A little confusion; "Do I climb this?". Luckily I ran into a few riders coming down who pointed me in the right direction: up the pavement still. "Thanks!"

I could see I was getting close to a saddle and come accross this sign. notice how the clouds are dark gray in the background? Temps continued to drop and I was a little worried since I was rolling solo. Still, plenty of people in the area and I'm not too worried.

I get to the "Four Corners" area and the GPS file looks like a nest of snakes. Clearly the course comes through here several times and I simply continue in the direction I'm pointed.
I roll down the fireroad, through Corral Canyon Camprounds (apparently open judging by the campers), get to the next turn off and run into a group of *ahem* Hispanic men.
Due to the proximity of the Mexican border and the Laguna Mountains I'm not surprised...until they stop after seeing me and sit down. Huh? Then they stand up, cross the road and sit back down. WTF? I'm holding my GPS watch in front of me trying to figure out where to go when the group leader approaches me and asks in broken English "Ju hab problem?" Me. " No hay problema". At which point he gives me a huge, toothy grin and a thumbs up. "Tank you beddy mus!" and the group heads back into the bushes. Guess I look like an immigration officer. LOL!
Back on the right trail and the course turns off onto some moto-trails. Finally!
I run into Clint and some of his riding buddies; we chat for a while and it turns out I'm going backwards on the course. D'oh! Oh well. Might was well get a look at the rest of it. We decide to continue on our respective directions and meet back at four corners.
...and it starts pitter-patting rain. Crap. As I roll through the course the pitter-patter turns to drizzle. The slick-rock sections get a little "excting", but I keep it upright and keep moving.
Temps keep dropping and the area is now socked in with clouds. A bunch of trail intersections, a few worng turns and some righteous moto-berms later (whee!) and I make it back to Four Corners.
Clint's already in his car and his buddies are long gone. "They all got cold" Clint explains, "and I don't wanna ride down and have to climb back up".
No worries. I tell him I'm gonna drop the Kernan Trail back to my car and call it a day. He'll meet me there.
I'm finally wet and a little chilly, so I put my jacket on. No sooner am I rolling when it starts dumping rain. The wind picks up as I'm descending (on hardpack race tires, no less!) and it's now raining sideways. Nothing to do in the situation, but laugh it off. The irony of the situation and the speed at which the weather changed just struck me as hilarious and I laughed like a crazy person all the way back to the pavemnent. Stupid.
Overall Opinion:
It looks like a good course. Sandy and relentless (no real downhills to rest on), but it should be a fun race. I missed the section up and over Mount Pinos due to the weather, but I got a good idea of the terrain and what to expect race day.
The weather will likely be extreme: cold and windy; cold, windy and raining; or dry, windy and hotter get the idea.
Should be fun! See you there?


Pedal Circles said...

We had the opposite. It was raining pretty good when we started, and then was sunny.

Windy as hell all day!

Jim Vance said...

Had you never ridden there? Kernan Trail is awesome! That whole place is like a bobsled course for mountain bikes!

When is the race there?