Monthly MUni Group Ride #2 - 7 started, 3 finished!

It wasn’t all that bad. First of all, though the weather forecasts were iffy, it
turned out to be an absolutely beautiful February day in Gold Country, with the
high temp. in the mid 60’s and the sun shining. I got a start on my MUni riders’
tan! The riders: Ted Howe Andy Jennings (actually riding with a group!!) Brett
Bymaster Bruce Bundy Geoffrey Faraghan Nathan Hoover John Foss

We drove up to Auburn to ride some of the trails at the Mammoth Bar OHV area.
Before we actually started our ride, one rider was down, and the rest of us
added a new rule to our list of ways to stay healthy on the trails; don’t just
follow Bruce Bundy. Bruce rides down stuff I’m scared to walk down. I have a
built in sensor in my brain which I can call a “chicken switch” for lack of a
better name. If my brain says “chicken”, I usually don’t try it because part of
me will chicken out and reduce my chances of making it anyway, and increasing my
risk of injury. But in my younger days, I didn’t have a chicken switch, I
crahsed more, and I filled my personal database of things not to try.

Anyway, Bruce and Brett were riding down this more-or-less vertical piece of
rock at the beginning of the trail. Brett’s wheel had a bad landing, went
skidding out from under him, and he came down hard on his back and backside. His
hydration backpack may have saved him from more serious injury, but he was
hurting enough from the fall to stay out of the ride, and wait at the cars.

The rest of us took off up the Confluence trail. This is the trail we come out
on at the MUni Weekend, across the river from where the Novices ride. But this
time we were riding up, not down. This makes it a lot more challenging. At one
point we stopped to help a poor mt. biker fix his flat (he borrowed my pump). He
was riding a very high-tech downhilling bike, and oddly enough, he and his
friends rode by us twice more that same day! They must have had a shuttle
service, which I later saw was a giant honking Lincoln Continental Mk IV from
the 70’s, with four muddy bikes on top.

We rode into the Mammoth Bar OHV (off-highway vehicle) area, and used a map
and directions that had been provided us by Brett. Motorcycle traffic was
light, possibly because of excellent weather conditions for the motocross
track down at the bottom by the river. The motorcycles (and ATVs), as long as
they saw us, were quite polite, but it’s a little scary wondering if one is
about to come zooming around the corner behind you. Also they’re loud and they
really, really stink.

The motorcycle trails were great. A different kind of dirt, and very steep
downhills to get scared on. Andy Jennings and Ted Howe both had places to be, so
they separated from us early and headed back. The rest of us (4) continued. Less
than 1/4 mile later, my tire exploded with a very loud BANG! It was not a simple
tube blowout, my tire bead had separated and the actual tire had a big tear in
it. Not fixable, so I walked down to the car we had strategically parked at the
OHV parking lot. I then pulled out my spare uni (always carry a spare), and
attempted to meet the guys coming down.

Some hosts we locals were, the one guy who had actually ridden the trails before
dropped out at the very beginning of the ride, and eventually only the three
out-of-towners were left on their own. But they had a great time, and I want to
go back and ride those trails more. And Brett is fine, though he thinks his
Camelbak may have saved him from a broken tailbone. Wearing hydration on your
back can be good protection!

For next month, we’re a ride with the Sea Otter Classic, a big bicycling event
that’s sponsored by Bicycling Magazine and a mess of other companies. We want
to show off there and get seen, and perhaps even compete in their slalom
event. See the web site: Saturday, March 20,
tentative plan for a ride in Santa Cruz (just us on the local trails there).
Sunday March 21, we go to Seat Otter. These plans may change, so contact me if
you would like to join us.

Stay on top,

John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone