Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Lake Sonoma 2009

Too tired to write anything witty. Got out for a quick 9 holes at Northwood today and stunk it up pretty bad. Whooped again by an aging chain smoker; at least this weekend should get skinned by mega-fit warriors...this I can stomach. Speaking of success, remember when Jordan was skying from the freethrow line? Check out this world record slam dunk. On to this weekend's event. We will begin at the Lake Sonoma Visitor Center on the Eastside parking area (gravel side). There will be sign ins as usual this year and we will start at 10:00. We will ride in a clockwise direction "around the lake", only briefly on the lower part of the Billy Cross loop,and finish at the VERY top of Bummer Peak! If it's hot remember to bring plenty of water. There is no water on the ride, unless you drink from the horse trough like my sister and others, and there is no way to make the loop shorter. Any way you slice it...it's a long day. Fun, but long. Here's a map that you can contemplate while pretending to check your client's emails or try the Army Corps. If you ended up here looking for Kabush's video from the Old Caz Hopper...Here it is! Woops, I mean Here ya go!


At 10:21 AM , Blogger Dario said...

Lake Sonoma Grasshopper

Ah yes, the dance between pleasure and pain - between flowing singletrack and heinous climbs, between feeling strong and managing self-induced suffering at the brink of implosion of nuclear proportions - the yin to my yang, the hammer to my nail, the hopper to my better judgment. Why do we put ourselves in this predicament?

Because we love it!! How could we not? Over 25 miles of singletrack with 100 of your closest friends (I finally have friends…) - up, down, up, down, flow, turn, hop, skip and a jump, then climb, climb, climb up Bummer Peak (actual name) – if you’re not in your mid-20s, don’t worry, the gradient is!

Lake Sonoma proved itself a hopper-worthy venue, marrying pleasure and pain in equal (and epic) proportions. A true mountain biker’s course, it took us around the lake on virtually all singletrack, virtually all ride-able, virtually all as sweet as forbidden fruit. Of course, many of the usual suspects showed up, including Max “you’re gonna wish you didn’t try following my wheel” Plaxton, Colonel Roger “rippity doo da” Bartels of the Red Army, Aren “no endurance limits” Timmel, and a variety of others just waiting to dance the seesaw of joy and suffering.

Having never done this loop prior, unanimous advice from those in the know was that I should to try to follow the Colonel, as his knowledge of the trails and conditions bordered on back of the hand. Try, indeed...as Yoda said, there is no try, only do or do not. We started up a gradual paved road and I stuck close to Roger and Max, warming up at a surprisingly humane pace. We turned left and the humane society met the abattoir, with Roger out of the saddle sprinting as though it were 100 meters to go to the finish. Max followed like he was just stretching out his legs, so I figured that’s my ticket to ride and I launched myself into the abyss. Whole Athlete junior sensation, Will Curtis stuck to my wheel and five of us had separation as we entered the singletrack.

The pace went from warp speed to ridiculous, and I realized that my body was not operating at 100%. Mandatory throttle control took over and I settled into a pace that kept me in the pain cave, but enabled me to see out. I rode solo for a long time, with Red Army Sergeant Chris Brown not far behind. Not wanting to make a wrong turn, I waited for Chris at an intersection and we rode together for many miles, sharing equally in singletrack bliss and climbing agony, while he expertly kept us on course with his local knowledge.

Lupine and California Poppy in full bloom, blue sky unmatched except by blue lake water, Red Tails calling, Piliated Woodpeckers hollering, and…oh yea, back to the suffering. The course ends in true hopper style, with a silly “little” climb that separates the cyborgs from the humans (you terminators out there know who you are…) up “Bummer Peak”. Aptly named, this finishing climb would never have my granny in a group home, a most valued member of drivetrain society. If you didn’t save a little something for this treat of a hill, you were walking. Chris and I turned onto the climb, and he proceeded to tear his chain in half. Confirming that he had a chain tool, I embarked on the sheer rise to self-destruction solo. After what seemed like a year-long courtship with my lowest gears, seeing Kim and her clipboard was a most welcome sight, as I rolled through in 6th place. Will was also top-10 with a solid 9th place. Ouch, that was fun! Thank you once again.

Peace, love and suffering,


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