Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Ooph! Ugh! Ooph!

This image shows the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's view of the rocky terrain that lies between it and its intended target, the large crater dubbed "Bonneville." The landscape here is roughly two times as bumpy and more difficult to traverse than that crossed so far.

Me and my buddy, Mystery-the untameable Stallion-rode out to the LOC (Live Oak Connector) yesterday and cleared a modicum of debris from the trail. We rode some lines we hadn't explored in many years, if ever. Rickety stick bridges over a gully, steep off camber drops into creek crossings, this trail keeps you busy. To borrow from the rock-climbers rating system, the LOC is a solid 5.10 trail. Like the surface of Mars, it is quite bumpy. Perhaps that is why I ride it. I am training to ride on Mars. While S'quatch and his road bike buddies (whoever they are) wait for Martian roads to be built, I will be riding on pure Martian soil in the "Bonneville Crater".

There is a technique for riding a hardtail on terrain like this. You sit back, barely gripping the bars, and let the horse have it's head. Too much weight forward and that's where the Ooph! comes into play, as your gut makes contact with your stem.

No trail in town is more hated than the LOC. It will break a man down to trembling frustration. I once had to fix a broken chain deep in those woods, and as I worked I tried to ignore the carpet of mosquitos feasting on my eyes, flying into my nose, biting me under my helmet. The sweat ran free and salty into my eyes as well, and I worked at that chain stoic like a gravedigger. Believe me, the LOC has humbled me often. That's why I'm declaring it my new favorite trail.

See you out there.

Juancho-crunchy, not smooth.

3 comments:

sasquatch said...

I actually don't have any roadbike buddies. I'm a lone prophet, out there on the forsaken ribbon of pain, risking Erectile Dysfunction and half-full beer cans that whiz past my head.

Would I trade it all for just one day of mosquito bites under the helmet and the viny, rocky, bumpy, sludgy, stinky, gunky, putrid, trash strewn, homeless-village ambiance of the Live Oak Connector trail, which isn't even a real trail but a glorified drainage area populated by sneaky snakes and skinny racoons?

Tempting, but I think I'll leave it to the real men. I just want to ride my bike, you know, without the brush-clearing and the leeches.

juancho said...

You are a disgrace to man-apes everywhere.

hitops said...

I too will bypass the LOC. I fearlessly go only where others have cleared the way. But I'm a go for the Tour de Felasco, assuming my registration arrives in time.

Rode the Miccosukee Greenway solo Sunday, just to see if I could do it after recent spinal miseries occasioned by a wipeout on the basketball court. Took it like a tortoise, but finished the course, out and back, plus the Land Co-Op. (Bonus: spotted a couple of aging hippies in their native habitat). Yesterday I was back on the hardcourt (fortified by three ibuprofens), and am not too creaky this morning. So I think I'll keep with the back exercises and skip the MRI.

Road bikes: I generally play follow the leader with Sasquatch, but I'm waiting to see how long the honeymoon between beast and road bike lasts before making my move.