Monday, 2 August 2010

Pine Mountain

Its been a couple of weeks since I headed out in search or dirt. I did the SF Marathon last week. I've been guilty of putting riding before running. But as it turns out bike fitness can get you through 26.2 miles of pounding pavement. Still, I was itching to get back onto the fat tyres so, this first weekend in August me and Spangles hit Pine Mountain. Seemed fairly straightforward. No tricky singletrack or technicals to contend with. Just a fireroad slog in the Cali' midday sun. We have the So-No-Mas ride on the horizon so wanted a hot, exposed ride with grueling climbs to help us prepare. Pine Mountain took our request and raised it. We were soon to discover she's a vicious beast indeed.

We decided on the classic Pine Mountain loop. This part of Marin is steeped in mountain biking lore. It's where the pioneers of the sport first realised that bikes + dirt trails = fun! Those early shred enthusiasts clearly liked the rough stuff. The loop is fairly short at just over 13 miles but you hit a lot of steep, rocky climbing. Its so loose under foot that a couple of particularly technical sections have earned the nickname "The Bitches." But this was ok by us. This is what we came for. The descents were pretty much more of the same - steep and loose. There's no single track here, its all fireroad. But its fast, sweeping and, in one memorable section, a total roller coaster. This was fun!

Once we hit the San Geronimo trail it was time for another beastly climb. Both me and Spangles are getting fairly strong at the climbing but the heat - and maybe residual marathon fatigue - took its toll on me. It wasn't long before Jase pulled ahead and out of sight. The next time I was to see him is an image I won't forget in a hurry. At around the 8 mile mark the trail gives way to a fairly steep, but insanely rocky descent. Big baby head rocks constantly shifting under the Nomad's tread. The long travel and slack head angle soaked up any nerves and left me enjoying the ride. Forcing myself to keep my eyes ahead and let body and bike deal with the immediate vicinity, I spotted Spangles waiting patiently halfway down the trail. "That's a weird place for him to let me catch up, his bike is parked all funny, man this suspension is plush, that rock looks like it'll give me some decent air, hey Jase what's occurri.... HOLY SH*T!"

"Ere mate, do you have your first aid handy?".....

Luckily, I did. And the poor fecker needed it. Standing, dazed and wild eyed, staring through a T-zone caked in bright red ooze. Moments before, on his much lighter S-Works Stumpy, Jase had buckarood himself, orbit first, into one of Pine Mountain's finest skull crushing rocks. We both kept calm and went through all the proper procedures ; assess damage, clean the wound, apply dressing, take a picture for Facebook... Ah, exposure not quite right, take another picture... Now try one with a thumbs up... Smile! Within 10 minutes he was back in the saddle claiming "ah, its only a face..". What a trooper!

A few miles left to go and then we were back to the car. Leaving Pine Mountain with some much deserved respect and a little DNA. After a couple of hours in A&E Jason was right as rain. Plus he'll have a scar to prove his mountain biking stripes. A couple of lesson's well learned though. We're planning a Northstar trip in the very near future. Suddenly those nice full face helmets don't seem overly extreme after all..

1 comment:

  1. Heya! Jason sent me the link to your blog so I could see how "awesome" his accident was.. and I was immediately blown away by your photography. Really beautiful work!

    Well done! :)

    Now please.. try not to hurt jason any more until we finish this film, we kind of need his brain intact.