Sunday, 23 October 2011

Having a Ball...

This weekend I found myself in pastures new : Joaquin Miller State Park in Oakland. My first time venturing over to the East Bay and my first time riding with Paul - a fellow MTBer who I met at China Camp last week. Joaquin Miller is small, but has a fair selection of intermingled single and double track. Also, with climbs like "The Wall" and trails called "Sunshine" you know it's going to deliver it's fair share of pleasure and pain.

Paul is an extremely relaxed rider. Totally at ease on his steed it was very cool to follow as he wheelied and manualed through the lush redwood trails. We we're exploring somewhat as neither of us knew the park very well. We got a good couple of hours riding in though, and next time we'll be better prepared to link up the trails and find some good flow. However, one guaranteed fun descent is the Cinderella trail. The Disneyesque name is somewhat misleading. This is a gnarly, fast descent with rooty drops and awesome jumps. Definitely built for the brave, but you can safely ride it at whatever pace suits your mood. We hit it a few times and with each descent I tackled more of the jumps and drops with grinning abandon. Not all of them though. Incentive enough to go back and session it some more.

 I finished the weekend with a 'Rancho loop. My plan was to session some of the trickier switchbacks and features that always trip me up on our night rides. The Nomad was freshly primped and preened with fettled gears and new tyres (shaving about 3 stone off the bikes weight.) Unfortunately I wasn't quite as prepared. My head just wasn't in it for some reason. Tamarancho can be a cruel beast. At times it brings out the best in my riding but other days, like today, it seems to expose my worst. And it pokes and prods until I feel like I'm going backwards in my skills progression..... Once I'd fumbled through the technical crap and finally hit some flow on B17 my feckin' contact dislodged so I could barely see.... Aargh.... Frustration. Still. I was out in the sun, hitting dirt. And the final descent down Alchemist was a lot of fun. However I did end the ride kinda wishing I'd gone to China instead to hit the flow section. Ah well. Any time spent at 'Rancho is all money in the bank. Frustrating or not. One day I'll conquer that feckin' 8 mile loop......

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