Hello Fellow Cyclists,
Last weekend’s trail work day and ride were both successful, and, well, rained out. I arrived Friday evening just as it was getting dark. Chalres, M., Steve J,, and John M. were already there and had ridden the loop earlier that day. They were there for the trail work on Saturday, and were out on a work-release program from their regularly scheduled domestic duties. There were other campers at Tolkan that night; all of them had bicycles with them.
It was crystal clear that night, and quite cool; Encouraged by present company, I didn’t bother pitching my tent, and slept under the stars. It was breezy, and cool, but I burrowed deep in my sleeping bag and slept well to awaken to bright sunny skies.
Other trail workers/mountain bikers started arriving shortly before ten o’clock. By ten, there were about fifteen or so of us ready to roll. There were tools previously stashed along the trail. All we had to do was ride there and get busy. Most of you reading this already know that one of the most fun sections of trail in the entire present loop is that between Tolkan and the northern Bear Creek crossing; it was an awesome prelude to a fun day of riding, trail work, and advocacy.
From the Bear Creek crossing, we climbed through about the first four or five switchbacks (of the twenty-five-or-so) on the section known as “Prince of Pain” before we stopped to start work. Our mission was to clear fallen debris and rock from the the trail as we worked our way up. The idea was to help make the trail more accessible and rideable to a larger proportion of riders. We covered hundreds of yards in a relatively short time. It was demanding work, but went so much faster than cutting raw bench; I felt really good about what we accomplished, and I suspect all concerned did too. Throughout the day, riders kept filtering through. All who passed by complimented us on a job well done, and seemed genuinely grateful for the hard work involved in building and maintaining trails.
We all managed to work our way back to Tolkan Campground by around four o’clock or so. I finished the day’s work with a climb the rest of the way to the clearing at the top of the “Prince”. From there, I turned around and rode back down the way I had come. It was the first time I’d ridden down this stretch to the creek; it was a blast, and well worth the effort.
We had a nice crowd for the barbecue. BLM folks hooked us up with some hearty grub and shared some really great insight into their recently published business proposal (i’d leave a link, but the BLM website is shutdown… yeah, it’s silly). As the evening wore on, the low clouds had turned to mist, and eventually produced a steady Seattle-like drizzle that gathered in the trees waiting to drop in big fat splatters that would fall in bucket loads with every gust of wind. It wasn’t yet completely dark outside when I retreated to the shelter of my van for a restless night’s sleep.
Sunday morning the wind and rain were still busy. I stayed until ten a.m. to see if anybody was going to show for a sloppy, wet ride. Nobody showed. I was actually relieved; I had nothing to prove by risking getting smacked by a falling tree or branch, and had no plans to ride at all.
Our next “Harvest” ride will be Saturday, October 26, 2013. We’re riding Elk Camp Ridge. It’s just out of Gasquet off highway 199. Details and directions will be available shortly. Barring any sloppy weather, it’ll be the best one yet.
Ride safely and often.