Friday, July 31, 2009

The Century Mark

Once again down here in the Valley of Hell we're hitting the century mark on the daily temperature scale...

Every year I'm reminded that on the bike 2-3 liters fluid per hour is not enough and that more than that my body simply can not absorb fast enough to stay hydrated. I'm also reminded that riding early in the morning is a good idea as is night riding...I'm not sure why we reserve most of our night riding around here to the late fall and winter months.

The final option is to escape into the baby mountains we have here. At 6000-ft the temps are at least 15-20 degrees cooler, but riding up to that elevation from the valley floor (780-ft) takes a serious toll on the hydration status. The flora is always worth the ride though...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pinkham Ridge Trail

The Pinkham Ridge Trail is one of my favorite single-track trails in this area. It is short (by my standards), but fun and it provides some nice vistas.

Getting there requires some grunt effort since every possible route to the trail head is uphill which is at a wee 5000-ft elevation (for reference the starting elevation of Asotin is 780-ft and the starting elevation of Headgate County Park (up Asotin Cr. Rd.) is about 1500-ft. There are other starting places that are closer if you're truly that lazy. From Headgate Park it is about 18-miles via the easiest route (all uphill) to the trailhead. The trailhead is not labeled or easy to find and maps (including GPS) are not accurate - truly you just have to know where to go or be willing to do some bushwhacking and hike-a-bike exploring, which is how I found it several years ago. Now I have 3-rideable routes in from the top - no more bushwacking for me.

I've found 5-rideable routes to this trail and 8 different ways down (some of which could also be routes up, but I highly recommend against all but 3 due to the shear pain you would endure climbing them). You can loop this trail down into the Asotin Cr. Trail on 2-different trails down, but the down hills are very steep and technical until you reach the creek far below, so beware and make sure your brakes are in good condition if you ever decided to take this route (I do this route a few times a year just for fun and a good adrenalin rush).

The remaining routes (loops) down are not too technical, but do require some braking if you're fearful of too much speed. There is also the occasional log-hop (or stop, get off, and walk bike over the log) on the way down on 2 of the best single-track routes.

You do have to be aware that the the neighborhood bear may be on the trail (yep, I've met the bear family more than once) so making noise with a bell, talking loudly to yourself, or whistling (which is what I typically do) on the fast down hill is a good idea I've learned. I'm sure the bears do not appreciate the sudden surprise any more than we do, so unless you really get a thrill from running into bears make some noise.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Who's in My Domain?

Out on one of my standard wandering, indecisive, rides up in "my domain" I find someone has invaded my territory...Doug Goodenough was up here somewhere...I could smell him (yeah right, like my nose is that good, but his truck is beyond obvious)...

Instantly I was more decisive on the fork in the road I needed to take for toady's ride. I pedalled up South Fork Asotin Creek following bike tracks that were not mine (a rare thing to see on one of my rides up here), I was curious to say the least. I made a few irresistible stops to admire some of the scenery (aka flowers)...

Up on top (above the 5000-ft elevation level) I decided that I was not going to catch them anytime soon, plus there was an obvious rain cloud preparing to make a direct dump on the area I was I decided to bail since I did not have any rain gear (what can I say, the day started out looking rain-free). The downhill was ultra fast and I was not using much brake since I was trying to outrun the rain that was coming fast. At the fork in the road near where Doug's truck was parked I hung out beneath a pine tree to stay dry as a mild downpoor proceded to soak the area. I spent about 30-minutes there napping and eating (like any good cyclist would do). Remarkably Doug showed up with Bill Arnold (both were slightly wet) and smiling after having such a great ride (see there story and pic here--> Click).

I finished the day with 70+ miles of mountain bike fun, a smile, plus I didn't get wet and I got a nap in...can it get any better than that?