La vie de vélo

Adventures in cycling and life

Epic exhaustion

I’m not training for any 24 hour solo races (yet) so god knows what possessed me to undertake the ride I just completed. I decided to get over my distaste for riding knobbies on pavement and take my mountain bike for a spin.

The plan was to go out to montecito, climb Romero, descend into the santa ynez valley backcountry, then climb back out and spin back home. Well all was fine until I decided to take the Blue Canyon trail to Forbush to Gibraltar on my way to climb Angostura. “Singletrack will be fun” I thought. “My guide book says its rideable” I thought. What I didn’t think was that my guide book was probably written 15 years ago and every attempt I’ve made to go off the beaten path in the santa ynez backcountry involves battling overgrow, washed out trails that are nearly impossible to follow.

Well these were no different than previous attempts. My legs are so battered with cuts and scrapes that, at some point, it just ceased to even phase me. I would just plow right into the chaparral, shoulder first like I was checking it against the boards. The pisser was that the trails were really cool and would have been a blast had they been properly maintained. Makes you wonder where all our Forest Adventure Pass Fees are going … oh wait, that was for more RV hookups so that fat-ass tourists can watch sitcoms on their satellite TVs in the wilderness.

After 2 1/2 hours of getting lost, hike-a-biking through steep ass canyons, riding the occasional fun section of singletrack, and generally getting attacked by every plant and insect that I came across, I reached the relative comfort of the gibraltar trail.

From there it was just another 1 1/2 hours before I crested Angostura Pass. Why is it that every time I climb Angostura, I am dead tired, out of water, at my wits end and ready to collapse? Luckily, Mint Springs came to rescue once again .. a small little spring whose presence is revealed by a tiny patch of mint growing on the trailside. Without that water, I would really be hurting.

Anyhow, I called Jos as soon as I got in cell range to let her know that my 4 hour ride was now a 7 hour ride and that, no, I was not bleeding to death in some ditch in the wilderness. And she offered to come pick me up downtown, cutting off the last 7 miles of pavement. My pain was speaking far louder than my pride at this point so I agreed.

My pride was also wounded by the fact that, sitting with my MTB on East Camino Cielo with a half dozen of the the finest technical descents in southern california, I chose to descend the paved Gibraltar road. People like me make me sick. Oh well. I was beat and got a morbidly fascinating first hand look at the devestation of the recent Tea Fire.

Anyhow, too tired to keep typing. 53 miles. 7 hours (including almost 3 hours in zone 4!) and 8200 ft of elevation gain. Good lord. Time to eat.


December 7, 2008 - Posted by | ride_report

1 Comment »

  1. I’m glad you made it out alive!!!

    Comment by Joselyne | December 7, 2008 | Reply

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