Smash The Champagne Bottle

While my personal challenge of reaching 700,000 feet of climbing this year stayed within reach this week, I found myself slipping when it came to my mileage mark.
I started out the week on Tuesday with some eastside hill climbing.  I was joined by Jacob.  After fooling around on some of the short hills in the neighborhood below Roxy Ann, it was time to get to work and we headed up Hillcrest.  As we were about to turn on to Pineridge, our buddy Jared came rolling down the hill. 

 

Since Jacob didn’t bring his lights, he had to bail early, so Jared and I finished off the ride with a few more steep climbs on side roads that connect to Hillcrest.
Wednesday night was another ride with Jacob.  This time we met in Jacksonville and climbed up to the top of John’s Peak before dropping down the other side to a trail we call Kellan Almighty.  It was a sloppy mess, but a fun adventure.  From there, it was back up Forest Creek Rd and down through Forest Park back to the car at the bottom.
 
I was on my own Thursday evening.  Still looking for some elevation, I hit Coal Mine Rd before climbing up Roxy.  Just as I was making the turn to descend back to the car, the rain started.  I was soaked and shivering but managed another couple thousand feet.

Having picked up my new Grammo Paru from Peter at Unreal on Friday night, I was really looking forward to giving it a workout on Saturday.  The last forecast I saw before going to bed called for fog in the morning with the next cold front bringing rain and snow to our area around 1 pm.
No problem.  Jacob, Shawn and I were starting our ride at 9 am and I figured we’d be done by 3.  Riding in rain and snow isn’t bad.  Especially if it’s only a couple hours.
The rain was already falling when we met up at South High.  
We rolled out and headed for our first bit of gravel on Griffin Lane.
 
Griffin Lane isn’t too bad.  Well, except for the parts that are 20%+.  Those parts kinda suck.  But the Paru handled them with no problem!  I was glad I went with the 1×11 set-up.  I never felt like I was working any harder than I should on any of the climbs all day.
After Griffin dumped us out wet and muddy on Sterling Creek, we headed up to Woodrat.
We rode all the way up to the top since we missed a turn .  No big deal really.  It was only an extra mile and a half of climbing.  I’ll take it!  It was also on that climb where we went above the snowline for the first time.

Now that we were pretty well soaked we were so very looking forward to the frigid descent down Bishop Creek to Hwy 238, just outside of Ruch.
 
With all of us dealing with wet gloves and barely able to feel our fingers, we welcomed the climb up Forest Creek Road since it offered the opportunity to warm back up.
Several miles up the road we turned off Forest Creek and started our final climb.  A steep mother with several switchbacks that climbed about 1400 feet in less than 3 miles.  Oh, by the way, the road had a little bit of snow on it to make the climb a little more interesting.

Having finally reached the top, we were all pretty much ready to be done with the ride.  We knew what lay before us.  A LONG descent with wet gloves and wet feet.  But, the show must go on.
The plan was to descend a really muddy, rutted trail known as Jed’s Climb.  Thing was, there was a brand new road that had been cut in to the hill that went right across the trail.  Thinking the road might be a better option, we started down.  It wasn’t a better option.  After about 3/4 of a mile, it just stopped.
There was nothing to do but start climbing back up and that’s when I flatted.  Yay!!  Long story short, we all voted that Shawn, the only guy with a mtb in addition to superior bike handling skills, should ride down to his car and come get us slow pokes since it was almost dark and we all had dinner plans.
After fixing the flat and making our way down Jed’s, Jacob and I started the steep and rocky descent down the kinda-road to the real road and met Shawn and his warm car just before reaching the bottom of Reservoir Rd.
There were definitely a few times I was wishing I was back in the desert suffering on a double century instead of freezing off body parts, but the ride was still awesome!  I’d do it again next week without question.  Hmm.  Maybe I will.
I never claimed to be smart.
Aaron

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