February 14, 2004: The shit
This ride was the shit -- in a couple of different ways.
First, for the expecting fathers, the good shit. The day was awesome: partly cloudy, mild temp, light breeze, good visibility. JB and I had reservations for dinner at 6:30 at Outriggers in Montara, so I had basically all day to get a good, long endurance ride in.
I consulted the Rides binder and resolved to rip up to Pacifica and explore the Sweeney Ridge trails, which I have never ridden before. I decided to see if I could beat my time to the Pacifica gate on the Hoo-E (1:10:00) today on Blue Sugar. I thought I might be a little slower on Blue because of the whole hill thing, but Blue Sugar is an amazing bike, and I could feel the difference in weight and balance as I ripped up Old San Pedro to the saddle. Damn, Blue Sugar is a nice bike. It's like having a Corvette. When I took it to the shop to have the rear triangle replaced, guys in the shop were oohing and aahing over it and asking me questions about it, and today, as I rode past the hucking forest at the bottom of the Pacifica side of Old San Pedro, a couple of downhillers yelled out "Sugar!" as I rode past them. Whatever. Unlike most mid-life crisis suffering geezers that drive Corvettes, I completely understand that this bike is way better than I am. Anyway, I pushed hard up and over the saddle and clocked into the Pacifica gate at 1:08:30.
From the Pacifica gate, I rode through the Linda Mar neighborhood of Pacifica across Highway 1 to the paved bike path that runs up past Rockaway Beach and on to Sharp Park. Checking the maps, I decided to take the Mori Ridge Trail up to Sweeney Ridge. "A steep climb on a service road through lovely coastal prairies," Mori Ridge Trail is a staircase of steep climbs covering about 1000 feet in elevation gain in about a mile and a half. Taken separately, each of the climbs, averaging about 250 to 500 yards, is doable, but riding them one after another in a string of 15°+ rocky climbs makes this one tough pull. Skeggs is probably tougher, but I had already ridden 18 miles to get to this set of hills. Just getting up the driveway to the trailhead in the Shelldance Nursery parking lot was a helluva pull.
Despite the mileage to get there, I was feeling pretty good when I started the climb. I had both front and rear suspension locked out, and I made a couple of stretches I didn't think I would. But I couldn't quite make it all the way to the top. At the last shoulder I had to rest before tackling the final steep, steep climb. When I resumed, my momentum and my legs had been broken, and I ended up walking more than half of that last climb. With Bonzai and Romulus pushing me, I might have summoned the strength to eek it out, but not solo.
At the very top of Sweeney Ridge there is some kind of old military installation; I think I've read it's a NIKE missile site. As I caught my breath, I decided to explore the site, and, turning down one of the paved paths, was confronted with a woman taking a piss right in the middle of the path despite the presence of a porta-pottie not more than 25 yards away. Personally, I'd rather go outside than in a porta-pottie too, but HEY, take it into the bushes, PLEASE!
Views were awesome in all directions: the Bay, the City, the Farallones, Pt. Reyes, Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo, Mt. Hamilton -- the gang was all out today. Further south on Sweeney Ridge are two stone monuments. One commemorates the Portola Discovery site where the Spanish "discovered" San Francisco Bay in 1769. The other is a granite cylinder dedicated to Carl McCarthy, an active supporter of public ownership of Sweeney Ridge. Thanks Carl!
From the monuments, I rolled south and picked up the Baquiano Trail to get back down to Highway 1. The Baquiano Trail is clearly signed at the top, but about 1/4 of the way down the ridge, it splinters into several smaller offshoots. By the time I was halfway down the hill I had lost the main trail and ended up slip-sliding down some 25 to 30° singletrack before finally coming out on 1 near Fassler Avenue. I admit it, some of the downhill was so steep and treacherous that I had to walk a few sections. Once back safely at sea level, I bombed home the same way I had come out.
Now the bad shit -- this goes out to Krusty, who I know will enjoy the following.
At the Pacifica gate on the way out, I dismounted to squeeze through the opening in the gate. Unfortunately, somebody's dog had taken a fresh Jonathon Mandukis in the narrow path around the gate, and I squished right into it with one of my shoes. The smell was brutal. After kicking, stomping, and scraping for awhile, I thought I got most of it off and proceeded with the ride.
Ah, but no. About two miles later, I was riding some singletrack south of Rockaway Beach and chainsucked my chain. On Blue Sugar, when chainsuck occurs, the chain gets wedged between the rings and the swingarm and the only way to fix it is to take the chain apart. So I set about the task in a nice, secluded patch of iceplant. As I worked the cranks around on the upturned bike looking for the master link, I became overwhelmed by the smell of dog shit. "Oh man," I lamented, "I can't believe I stepped in it again!" I looked around but couldn't see any shit, so went back to working on the chain. But soon, the smell was ridiculous. What the fuck! I took a couple of steps back to survey the scene, and oh shit! Both pedals were covered in shit. Both hands were covered in shit, the bottom of each shoe was covered in shit. The ground where I was kneeling had streaks of shit from my shoes. My head was reeling and it seemed like I was coated in stanky, wet dog shit. Oh the indignity! I did my best to breathe while I finished the repair, then basically took a bath in the iceplant. I got most of it off, but let me tell you, every time I ate or drank for the rest of the ride, I could smell that shit on my hands. As I ate my PB&J, it gave new meaning to the term shit sandwich.
No animals today. A long ride like this is best done with partners. By the end, I was mentally numb and my legs were aching pretty bad.
|Mileage: 37.51||Time: 3:43:51||Avg: 10.0||Max: 32.5||Weight: 173.5|
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