Maybe you haven’t noticed. Maybe you have. I’ve been taking it easy the last 4 or 5 weeks in an effort to reboot for the new year and upcoming riding season. Well, I guess the riding season is year round for some of us, but still.
Part of the reboot is a little cross training, whatever that means. For me it involves a couple days of the Insanity workout and one day of Yoga every week. That goes along with the 4 rides I am now trying to get in as well.
To each their own. The point is, I’m trying to get back in the swing of things and start working toward my 2016 goals.
While the days are slowly getting longer, it’s still a drag having to finish every ride after work in the dark. I try to have as good a time as possible and Tuesday I met up with Jacob for some east side fun/exploration. Of course, an old lady ran us off the first “private road” we attempted. The gate was open and we’ve ridden it several times in the past. Oh well. I guess two guys on nice-ish bikes are just too close to hoodlums to take a chance. We still got a nice climby ride in.
Wednesday, I hopped on the Paru and climbed up to the top of John’s Peak and dropped down Forest Creek before riding up Hwy 238 and back to Jville where my car was parked. It was a quick 15 miles and I almost finished before dark.
I was really hoping the weather would break Saturday morning so I could get in a fast and furious road ride before catching the new Star Wars movie. I was the last person who hadn’t seen it and J.J. Abrams wouldn’t stop texting me.
Anyway, it was nice and rainy so I took the Toa out to Forest Park in Jville and played around on some trails for a couple hours. I’m pretty sure I had more fun than I would have on the road that day. Oh. I liked the movie, J.J. Now, leave me alone.
Finally, Sunday morning rolled around, and along with it came the 2016 Honey Badger Shasta Valley edition, starting in Weed, CA.
Jacob and I headed down early with a plan to hit some new gravel roads and knock out 20 miles before meeting up with everybody for the real ride.
As we rolled south out of Weed at 8:30, the sky wasn’t too happy and it started to drizzle on us. By the time we hit the gravel, it was frozen rain.
Really set on getting some miles, we pushed on and started climbing. The problem with that was the frozen rain turned into frozen snowflakes.
Realizing the gravel, the snow, and the distance were going to put us back in Weed too late to start with the group, we decided to turn around and be ready to roll out at 10.
70+ riders left the Mount Shasta Brewing Co. parking lot and we were off! After leaving the small town, we headed north with the wind at our backs and the sun peaking through the overcast.
A bunch of miles of alternating gravel and pavement brought us to a section known and feared by all who participated in the same ride last year. A good couple miles of sand, mud, and deep puddles put the hurt on several riders last time, me being one of them. Surprisingly, this portion ended up being my favorite part of the ride this go around. The rain had packed the sand down and despite a lot of mud, I was able to roll through relatively easily!
Having reached the halfway point, we all started heading back to town. I really enjoy riding in this part of California. It’s a very western landscape with wide open vistas, big mountains in the distance, rushing creeks/rivers, and the occasional run down shack.
On paper, the ride doesn’t look too intimidating. It’s only 48 miles and a couple thousand feet of gain. The difficulty comes with the last 15 miles of battling a stiff headwind. This day was no exception and by the time I got close to the finish, I was ready to be done!
At the end of the day, everyone I talked to claimed they had a great time. Thom Kneeland had come through again with another awesome route.
Next week, Jacob and I are putting on a ride that has about 8000 feet of climbing. We have a sneaking suspicion it won’t attract 70 people. But, ya never know. Stay tuned!