Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mt Falcon

Recently Phil and I went riding with our neighbor, Jim, and his buddy Matt at Jefferson County's Mt Falcon Open Space Park. [Jim and Phil, below.]

Mt Falcon is one of Jefferson County’s (“JeffCo”) Open Space Parks. JeffCo has at least 9 top-ranked mountain bike trails – several of which are simply too technical for me and Phil to ride. But Mt. Falcon is one we can ride.

Oh sure, there are a couple stretches where prudence dictates dismounting and a short hike, but one thing we’re pretty good at is climbing, and Mt Falcon has that in spades. If you ride up the Castle trail you climb about 1800 feet in 3.5 miles.

Here is a fun video of the trail: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMuk4m7ieCU

Jim & Matt are former snowboard racers, so going fast downhill doesn’t bother them a bit. Watching them effortlessly ride over the waterbars and easily clear each switchback at Mt Falcon was inspiring. Perhaps a bit too inspiring, as Phil biffed at least twice trying to clear obstacles Jim and Matt levitated over.

We went back after work a few days later and it was my turn to take a digger.

Crashing going uphill takes a certain amount of skill and panache. Nothing like an excruciatingly slow speed crash to give you time to contemplate how much it is going to hurt when you finally hit those rocks. Then, you need either the Jaws of Life or your patient biking buddy to extricate you from the tangled up mess of still clipped-in shoes, upside-down bike and rocks/cactus/other sharp pointy things.

It makes me happy to know that I’m not the only one to have the experience, though.

Here is a brief excerpt from Fat Cyclist:
Hairpins on the Mountain

While a hairpin on a road descent can be terrifying and a hairpin during a road climb can somehow be a respite, a tight hairpin on a mountain bike — a turn with a radius less than the length of your wheelbase — is…complex.

First, you’ve got to shed all your speed. And then you start the turn.

Slowly. Smooth if you can, but more likely herky-jerky. If you’re me.

And then there’s the point you hit the apex of the turn. It’s a magic moment. You’re briefly stalled out, and either about to squeak out of the corner and roll out triumphant, or find that your front wheel is at too sharp an angle to the rest of your bike, and fall over on your side (unless you’re lucky enough to clip out in time, in which case I would argue that you weren’t fully committed to the attempt).

When you make it, though — when you slide around a hairpin that you’ve never cleaned, or even one you only clean half the time — you get that wild moment of elation, a moment that can only be described as “magic.”

And that goes double if the guy behind you falls over.

Sunday we went back for another try. It was a crisp, clear, autumn day. We ran into our friends Paul (above) and Linda who were trail running at Mt Falcon. Paul is training for a marathon so he's trying to get in some quality miles while the weather holds.

Just beyond where we met Paul and Linda on the trail we came across a baby rattlesnake sunning itself on a switchback. The day before we had seen a 3-footer up on South Table Mtn, so this guy looked puny. I guess the snakes are no different from the humans - just trying to get out in the sun any chance we get before winter moves in.

1 comment:

  1. Riding with you
    is always an
    Excellent Day!