Wednesday, September 02, 2009

California Dreamin'

When I set out to partake in an activity, I usually assess whether or not the activity is worth blogging about. Does it have blog appeal? Does the activity inherently possess the ultimate essence of blogginess?

If so, I grab the camera as I head out the door and start formulating the post in my head as I drive. Today's post was to be about a really great ride I did, in a place I haven't been to in a while, and all the great memories the area would invoke: the 24-hour races, the cross-country races, the victory, the defeat, the heat, the cold, the dust and the mud, the friendships that were forged, and encountering Sasquatch in the night. I would expertly weave all these things together, and produce my greatest post ever. My epic. My Moby Dick. People from every corner of the world would be saying, "Did you see SS29er's last post? It was . . . awesome. It changed my life."

Then I arrived at the trail to find this shiny new sign, and everything vaporized.

California is crumbling: our economy, our jobs, our infrastructure, our government, our parks. The standard of living we were used to is gone. Our status in the world is gone.

So due to budget problems, the parking area that was free for as long as the recreation area has existed now has a day use fee. Is it two bucks? Nope. Four bucks? No, it's TEN freaking dollars. Really, how many people are going to drop a ten spot to ride around in circles on a boring loop? It's not like it's Tahoe, Crested Butte, Marin or Moab. It's a dusty damn fire road in Cool, California.

Schwarzenegger took 15% of my pay, but he wasn't getting my ten bucks, so I drove across the street to a church and parked. But when I saw this sign, I left. I thought they were just too damned pretentious. I mean, what makes them cooler than the next Lutheran church?

Then I drove a little farther and found this:

Park and ride. How appropriate. I find it very funny that this free, state-run facility is a quarter mile from another state-run parking lot that charges $10. Suck it, Schwarzenegger. Dirty bastard.

With ten extra bucks in my pocket, I went out and did my ride. It was not epic. It was not that fun.

I rode the loop from the 2007 24-hour race, which is about 11 miles. One of the trail sections built for that race was overgrown and obviously had not been used since then, so I took about 1000 star thistle thorns in the shins. So nice.

Most of the loop is wide, dusty, rocky, rutted fire road with the occasional piece of singletrack. The only thing that keeps the loop from being completely useless is the tough climbing. People usually get readings between 1200 and 1500 feet per lap on their GPS units, so at least it's good training.

On the next time around I avoided the trail of shredded shins and took a new trail that looked to be recently built. It was actually pretty good, and a nice departure from the crappy fire road. Unfortunately, the damn horses had turned everything into powdered sugar. Worthless beasts. After a couple rains it should be nice.

This section gave me a break from the sun, and I briefly forgot that I was riding the boredom loop in Cool.

Although I set out to do three laps, the boredom kept me to two. I wanted 30 miles but settled for 24.


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