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.