Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Ride 2009

I planned to get up at 6:00 a.m. for this year's ride, but instead regained consciousness at 4:00 a.m. with some kind of very painful ankle problem.

After gulping Motrin and swilling coffee, I stuck my foot in a bucket of ice and learned that most of pre-dawn TV programming consists of Girls Gone Wild commercials.

After somehow assembling the requisite intestinal fortitude, I got myself together and hit the road, starting at 7:30 at the bottom of the Ridge Road in Fairfax.

It turned out to be a beautiful day, though initially pretty cold in the 40 degree range.

The circuit was relatively uncrowded early--rangers said hordes were expected around 10.

Those individuals would be the event's only losers--the ones who fail to make it back down to Fairfax before the free beer runs out.
Riders gather at the Point of No Return, followed by miles of downhill at the back of the loop. I fell pathetically right around the corner of the first run.

But fortunately my dirt grovel occurred where the attendant crowd did not witness it. I was please not be run over by anyone either.

A popular crowd spot is the junction where the Pine Lake Loop meets San Geronimo Ridge. By this time it was about 10:00, and people were coming out of the wordwork, including some who rode up out of White Hill or trails from San Geronimo.

Next stop, the Y intersection on San Geronimo trail--one way to Repack, the other back to White Hill or San Geronimo.

Riders hanging around the top of Repack.

Hazy day view from the top of Repack . . .

Ten minutes later--five for the brave ones--it's all over. . . .

Well not quite.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Barnabe Mountain: The Evil that Lurks in Samuel P. Taylor

In the process of failing to find the Devil's Gulch fire road in Samuel P. Taylor Park, I came across a fire road and figured, "what the heck."

What turned out to be a 1455 climb to an old fire lookout and views from a perspective you can't get from a car.

A nightmare to climb--or push a bike up--but the backside is 1400 foot plus drop down in the Madrone camp area. Or you can connect up to Devil's Gulch and--I think--go all the way to Nicasio reservoir.

It's like a recurrent nightmare of trying to ride up a Mobius strip--every time you come around the bend you run into another one of these:

But once you get to the top . . . .

It's literally all downhill from there:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Appetite Seminar Pre-ride

Above: view coming down Repack at dusk.

November 23, 2009: pre-ride for the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Ride, aka Appetite Seminar, around Pine Lake east of Fairfax.

What nice day to go out and bust your hump:

19 miles based on where I parked in Fairfax; a time too demeaning to record. Didn't plan on finishing in the dark in Cascade Canyon.

Second time up PMS Hill this week--two too many:

I call this one the Hill of Screams:

Now 6 or so miles in:

The point of no return: miles of downhill after this:

Wish I'd seen that tree sooner . . . .

Uh oh--I think this is the entrance to Lothlorien:

Where the Pine Mountain Loop hits San Geronimo Ridge:

Shadows are getting long. Didn't plan on being out here when the sun went down.

Finally around to the top of Repack:

Plenty of views on the way down . . . .

Sun going down on Big Rock Ridge, seen from the top of Repack at dusk:

Pretty much dark at the bottom. Ouch!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Repack Report

View east from about 250 yards down Repack.
(Pictures taken around noon on November 21, 2009. I heard the weather on some parts of the country is somewhat less temperate.)

View of the golf course on Bolinas Fairfax Road--again, it's November.

Just a general FYI to those living in fear of what many regard as downhill biking's Banzai Pipeline: Repack, aka Cascade Canyon fire road, was graded a couple of years ago.

As a result, the legendary--and sometimes mythical--abysses, six-foot drops, and ass-shattering crevices have been pretty much smoothed out.

But the overall gravitational scenario remains, so there is plenty of opportunity to fly headlong off a cliff, meld your face with a sturdy tree, juice your brain box on substantial rocks, and just generally eat any combination of rock, mud and dirt--and that's just on your way there, per the pic above of PMS Hill. Word is some people go UP Repack to avoid it.

Pine Ridge just south of where Repack drops off.

Just drops off . . .

Blue Ridge is over there somewhere:

Rolling . . .


The end: Cascade Canyone Park

For those seeking the quintessential elevator ride down scenario, there are other local hotspots that no one seems to care about. Luiz fire road coming down from Big Rock Ridge is one, and Blue Ridge fire road (which converges with Repack in Cascade Canyon is another.

A pic from Blue Ridge:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Other Gold Hill

People forget that the Gold Hill Fire road is more than a path up from Dominican to China Camp.

Gold Hill also has another stretch that drops down from Bayhills all the way into Peacock Gap. It's also seriously steeper in some places than the regular Gold Hill is.

If you're up for a challenge, try rolling up the path on the left. I'll leave that to the younger crowd:

Consequently, unless you're a supreme masochist, it's better to start on North San Pedro and come up over the Nike site, then to the even more hellish hill by Bayhills, and then take the elevator all the way down to P-Gap.

The Nike missile site--what it is on Nov. 19, 2009. Hard to believe this weather. A storm is coming, but not until tomorrow.

View east:

View West:

Me or Popeye, not sure which:

The view back down and north from the top of Hell Hill. It's only 200 feet long and paved, but it gets increasingly steep near the end:

There are a lot of antennas up here . . .

. . . .and apparently the top of the ridge is like an outdoor microwave oven:

Views of Gold Hill's backside, south of where the more well known section of Gold Hill comes up from Domincan:

That's the ridge you came south over:

China Camp at dusk:

Giant Trail Rat: