Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Solstice Revisited

Marin's Solstice trail has somewhat plagued my riding conscience for the past couple of years. I've only ridden it once before, not long after I got the Nomad. I managed to fall and smash my ribs before we'd even hit the steep stuff, so the rest of the ride went downhill from there (though not in the "rad" way I'd anticipated.) So I limped away, tail tucked between my legs, having skulked down most of it on foot and feeling shamed that it had beaten me. Since that time, the previously illegal trails which lead to Solstice have been made bike legal and strava times have been popping up from the likes of Aaron, Chris and Dave. Time to get back out there. A rematch was long overdue. So this past weekend I met up with Dave and we climbed the (somewhat) newly created 680 trail so that I could face my demons.

In truth, the vision I had in my head compared to what Solstice is actually like was quite distorted. A couple of year's riding confidence (including some decent downhilling) helped to put the trail's steepest, techiest sections in perspective. Rooty, rocky and definitely challenging, a quick walkthrough scout confirmed that it was all totally doable, perhaps not at breakneck speed, but nothing to worry about. We did the loop twice. By the second lap my brakes were cooked. I could barely stop the bike. But we had a great run, and we even met Mountain Biking Marin's Celia Graterol, who joined us for the final descent. Good stuff. Solstice still has a couple of features I wanna master, but the rest of it is fun, a little sketchy but nice and steep. My perception has changed. Which pleases me. It's a good sign that my riding has progressed.

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