March 6, 2004: Boy Scout and The Mile
Woke up this morning with brilliant sunlight streaming through the shutters. Sunshine, glory be, bring it on. Expecting a cloud bank lurking offshore or some other kind of cruel meteorological joke, I tottered out to the deck and peered through the hedge porthole to the ocean. Ah-WOO-ga!!! Clear as a bell, and warm, and almost no wind.
Ah, but rather than throw on my gear and hit the trails, I dallied, I lolled, I puttered -- and pretty soon it was 12:30 and I noticed a subtle change in the shadows in the house. Suspecting the worst, I rushed out to see a thin layer of wispy clouds over towards the point. Nothing of substance, nothing to worry about.
I rolled out the door at about 1:00 and immediately found a chill wind blowing out the north. Similar to Thursday, it was gusting pretty hard, making for a slow, energy-sapping, grind all the way up the coast. As per usual, I did a backside EG to a Fitzgerald flyby into a POST-McNee cutover with a San Pedro lowside to the saddle.
As I came into POST/McNee, I caught my first glance of the mountain in a while and despaired the sight of dreaded low, moist clouds along the ridgeline to the saddle. I could see clouds stacking up behind the ridge to the north. Sure enough, by the time I got to the saddle, I was in the clouds, and I would not see clear skies for the rest of the day. Fortunately, it was neither too cold nor too wet. But I did miss the sun.
I so badly wanted to see somebody above me on the trail as I climbed the switchbacks of Old San Pedro Mountain road, so that I could try to catch them. But no. As I rested at the saddle, two downhillers came walking their rigs up the hill from the Pacifica side and slipped off onto one of the side tracks that head out to Devil's Slide Head. I chatted briefly with a guy a little older than me riding a stock five-year old Specialized. He had come from Sharp Park and was at his turnaround point. Rather than follow him down, I decided to see where the DH'ers had gotten off to.
I never did find them, but I did make it all the way out to the downhill turnoff for the Devil's Slide traverse without touching down once! That included a flawless nailing of the Corkscrew. Halfway out to the face of Devil's Slide Head, there is a neck of trail (visible looking NW from the saddle) that connects the main mountain to the Head. A very washed out fire road runs straight up the face of the Head side, but it is far too steep and rutted to clean. About one third of the way up though, a side trail sneaks off to the right (the Corkscrew). This trail is about four feet wide and snakes back and forth up the hill in very tight switchbacks. I've made it a couple of times, but today I picked it clean like Tiger hitting a four iron out of a fairway bunker.
On the way back to the saddle, I decided to take a trail leading off to the northeast. I could see it coming out at the DownHill Forest down below, but I didn't recognize the trail and figured I'd try something new. About 200 yards into it, I realized that I had once tried to "ride" up this beast, a former fire road barely scratched into the rocky spine of the ridgeline probably about 10-15 years ago. Since then, its been ravaged by erosion and is now a road or trail only in the sense that there's no vegetation in a six-foot wide swath heading steeply down. As with coming back down from Sweeney Ridge, I ended up doing a significant amount of walking, er, scrambling. I don't feel bad about it though, because this trail had huge, deep crevasses; large, unrideable boulders; and lots of loose rock and DG, always pitched at angles of at least 10°+. If I hadn't walked, I would have crashed, and on that trail, a crash would have meant broken bones for sure.
So I finally get down to the intersection of the main trail, the ridgeline trail, and the DH Forest just as two boys in their early teens are walking their DH rigs up from Pacifica. I say, "hey" and we get to talking. Turns out the ridgeline trail is called "The Mile" and because they had seen me coming out from its lower terminus, it bought this old geezer a little juice with the younger crowd. Their first question was, "Did you fall?" Apparently, they do it often, but it wasn't clear if they do so without walking. They headed off into the DH Forest, which they called Boy Scout and I headed down. I should have followed them, seeing as how I've never explored Boy Scout. I'm starting to realize that the opportunities for riding with people are out there, I just need to recognize them sooner and take advantage. The lads also told me that the trails visible on San Pedro Point across Highway 1 from Boy Scout were once regulated by an outfit known as the PMA (Pacifica Motorcycle Association). They didn't know who ran them now, but said they thought it was legal to ride the trails over there. I'll be checking those trails out some time in the near future, you can bet on that.
From the Pacifica gate, I rode east into the heart of San Pedro Valley, exploring every cul-de-sac, dead end, and not-a-through street looking from some hidden gateway into the forbidden lands of the San Andreas Lake/Crystal Springs watershed. But no. I rode a lot of pavement and a lot of hills, including the one up to Frontierland Park, and rode the full length of the Weiler Ranch Road trail, the only legally rideable trail in San Pedro Valley County Park.
While riding the 1.5-mile roundtrip Weiler, I was thinking about how I hadn't seen an animal of consequence (sorry bunnies, gulls) in several rides. At the time, I was riding through a meadow in which I had seen deer on both my previous visits. I noted this fact and thought, "If I'm going to see any animals, it'll probably be a deer, here," and like goofy-grinning McCoy and his white rabbit in "Shore Leave" suddenly, there was a deer! Nice, but one lousy deer. Where are all my animals? Lots of people on the trails, but not many animals.
After noodling around San Pedro Valley for a while, I came around to the wind and set sail for home. At 20 miles, I felt good; at 25, I was tiring; at 30, I hit the wall, at 35, I moving pretty slowly; and at 40, I was in that fixed stare, slouched posture, slightly drooling, hunkered down cockeyed over the handlebars just trying to finish damnit stage (sounds like my autobiography). Not the highest mileage ride of the year (close), but the longest riding time of the year by many minutes. Woo-hoo.
|Mileage: 41.22||Time: 4:13:08||Avg: 9.7||Max: 42.0||Weight: 175.5|
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