Monday, 19 July 2010

Annadel - 71810

Bike Monkey Magazine recently announced they’re organising a XC race to be held at Annadel in September. Another race on home turf! We decided to prepare by hitting Annadel State Park this past weekend. We, being myself, Jase, Aaron and Scott. We also bumped into our old riding compadre Jaime in the car park who joined in for a while. Our last ride here was a complete wash out – literally. We hit the top of Marsh and the heaven’s opened. Our riding gear was totally inappropriate so we cut the ride short. Skip forward a few months into the baking heat and the whole place is dried to dust. Perfect!

We started out climbing Canyon towards the base of the Marsh trail. A relatively gentle climb made tough by the blistering heat. We continued up Marsh and made our way to Lawndale. A varied trail with a good mix of technical, rocky sections but always fast and sweeping. We had to spread out from each other to stop the dust clouds masking jeopardy. As Jason put it “at one point all I was doing was chasing dust and a shadow.”

After the grin inducing Lawndale we hit some more technical climbing towards Ridge. It’s been long enough since I’d ridden here to notice I was hitting these sections with far more confidence and skill than before. I put that down to time well spent climbing Tamarancho’s technical sections. Ridge trail was, once again, epic and sweeping. Very rocky in sections but the Nomad, as always, ploughed through where a delicate line couldn’t be threaded.

We finished the ride with a spirited blast back down Marsh and Canyon towards the carpark. Always a great way to end a day’s shredding at Annadel. One of the many things I love about the trails here is the descents. They’re long, fast and rocky with plenty of up-ahead visibility. You can hit the cranks and leave off the anchors with full abandon. The climbs are satisfying too – blistering heat aside. They never get that steep and the payoff seems to go on for miles. I’m coming to really appreciate the all-mountain geometry and set up of the Nomad too. It’s made for trails like this and eats them up when I have the confidence to let it.

The day’s riding was satisfying and fun, but not without its casualties. Scott’s front tyre was near to disintegrating the whole time. Haemorrhaging tubeless goo we slipped a tube in there, but he still had to ride with caution. Which pretty much meant the Trail Genie rode at a pace closer to us mere mortals. Aaron’s bike switched to single speed halfway through as his derailleur cable broke. I too had gear issues, but a quick lesson in bike maintenance from Spangles and they were good as new. I did get heat stroke though. A wicked combination of not quite enough water in the camel sack and the Santa Rosa sun cooked my brain to a medium rare. Still, good conditioning for the upcoming So No Mas ride….. 35 miles and 8000ft on shadeless trails in 100 degree + heat!??!? In a sick way, I can’t wait!

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