Mountain Facets

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by mike, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    The more the mountains change, the more they stay the same. From the comforting arms of their familiar features and trails, to the moods and ways less accommodating to humans. The span of this color is what keeps the mountains interesting – and, no doubt, is at least part of why we set them aside as monuments to our North American landscape.

    When the weather changes, everything changes with the weather

    As a lover of these mountain colors, it’s my duty to experience them regularly. It doesn’t particularly matter by which medium or mode. But as fate has it, bicycle is my most frequent method as of late. Four inches of rain in previous days was bound to facilitate some healthy “interest”…

    Fifty feet into the 4.5-mile singletrack of Holy Jim saw me navigating my bike through the creekbed on the well-worn line I always take. The line is not usually not submerged beneath 10 inches of water, though. So with mild trepidation I cranked it for the far bank and just made the dry dab there – but not before both shoes submerged and soaked through. Instantly I smiled at the cold water embracing my feet, which I would warm up and carry with me the entire ride. I though of Agate Creek Trail off Colorado's Monarch Crest, and how its mandatory walks through calf-deep water only added to the flavor of the ride. I hadn’t though about Agate Creek in months, so I was grateful to have the memory reanimated.

    A few areas on Holy Jim showed the tracks of previous days’ water drainage, but none from bike tires were seen. I dismounted or dabbed a couple of sections that normally are ridden through. Finally on Main Divide Road, evidence of the hardy on bike emerged.


    joplin1-8-16_1.jpg

    Peering over to the inland side of the Santa Ana Mountains showed the San Gorgonio and San Jacinto ranges wearing some fresh duds


    joplin1-8-16_2.jpg

    The northern aspect of the mountain looked brisk – and delivered


    joplin1-8-16_3.jpg

    Hikers, cyclists and drivers left their mark in the white stuff before my arrival


    Eventually I met two other bike nutters having a gleeful time carefully descending the slippery grade. Ascending, traction was perfect, as the snow was firm and not too deep. Farther up Main Divide, the road becomes steeper and loose with rocks. This section proved to be a little less difficult than in drier times – snow and ice filled the gaps between rocks, creating a flatter and more stable surface.

    I reached my planned high point for the day, leaving traces of human passage behind me on the road. It’s at this point the borderline-guilt sets in. The feeling that, this thing you are doing (or about to do) is so ridiculously fun that there must be some ordinance or policy against it. Maybe I’m confusing guilt with elation. Which is not unbelievable, since I seem to confuse suffering with satisfaction.


    joplin1-8-16_4.jpg

    The start of Upper Joplin


    I took UJ slow and easy. Full snow coverage turned to intermittent patches, and full shade to mostly sunny skies. The plunge down Joplin proper is often accompanied by a distinct change in weather, as it was this day. Snow patches disappeared, replaced by warmer and sunnier bits of trail.


    joplin1-8-16_5.jpg

    Hard to beat the locals to first Joplin tracks


    joplin1-8-16_6.jpg

    Water pumping down the Joplin drainage


    Descending Joplin Trail felt easily managed, despite the rough condition of the rain-ravaged trail. The hardest parts were easily dispatched, while the odd place here or there was a bit loose and extra-chunky, requiring a dab to keep upright.


    joplin1-8-16_7.jpg

    Looking back up the “saddle” in Saddleback from atop the climb out of Old Camp


    joplin1-8-16_8.jpg

    The Cadillac portion of the loop was a bit ravaged from the storms, but as fun as ever. A moment of respect to Travis M., who died in an off-roading accident near this point a few months ago


    joplin1-8-16_9.jpg

    The new bridge in Trabuco Creek makes a nice vantage point to the creek below


    The more things change…the more I can stay in the same location. Mandatory pre-dawn starts, sun-seeking missions, biting cold, sweat-soaked socks/shoes, painful wooden fingers, dehydration cramps, victories, failures, all the in-betweens. They all add tints to the mountain colors. They’re all there for one to see. You just have to look.
     
  2. knucklebuster

    knucklebuster Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Mission Viejo (South Orange County)
    Name:
    Dave
    Current Bike:
    Canfield The One '12
    Nice ride an write-up Mike!
     
  3. LLPoolJ

    LLPoolJ iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Moreno Valley
    Name:
    James Johnson
    Current Bike:
    Specy Epic, Stumpu and Enduro
    Well done sir. Great use of words.
     
  4. StrandLeper

    StrandLeper Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Timothy M. Ryan
    Current Bike:
    SC Bronson 1x/Pivot 429 1x xtr
    That worm looks like it tasted good. Thanks for bringing us along for the ride!
     
  5. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve Macko
    Current Bike:
    3 Times SC, Oh My.
    Very well done....
     
  6. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    '15 Intense Tracer 275c DVOish
    Wow....just..... Wow... :thumbsup:

    Is that a new bike?
     
  7. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Naw, I've had that gen 1 BronsonC for a few years now. I like it so much it became my only bike. It actually expanded my appreciation of bikepacking, heh, a trail bike. o_O
     
  8. ridinrox

    ridinrox Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Fullerton
    Name:
    Roxanne
    Current Bike:
    '16 Giant Trance Advance
    Very poetic Mike - you're my hero!! :inlove: ;)
     
  9. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
  10. rossage

    rossage iMTB Addict

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
    Excellent writing. I read it several times, and the words draw you in and keep you looking for more....like a new trail...
     
  11. BonsaiNut

    BonsaiNut Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Laguna Hills
    Name:
    Greg P
    Current Bike:
    Custom XTR 29er
    That climb up the back of Santiago from Holy Jim humbles me...

    The thought of you doing it on a regular basis is inspirational :)
     
    mike, Mikie and mountaingirl sara like this.
  12. DangerDirtyD

    DangerDirtyD iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    CA
    Name:
    Chicken Nugget
    Current Bike:
    2013 Trek Slash 9
    This should go onto SingleTrack Minds as RR of the month.
     
    Mikie and mike like this.
  13. DangerDirtyD

    DangerDirtyD iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    CA
    Name:
    Chicken Nugget
    Current Bike:
    2013 Trek Slash 9
  14. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    RR Gold there.
     
    rossage, mike, Mikie and 2 others like this.
  15. mountaingirl sara

    mountaingirl sara iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    So Cal
    Name:
    Sara Ford
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz 5010
    That was a great read! Thanks for posting @mike ! I can say I totally get you regarding the love of mountains:inlove:
    And the “confusing suffering with satisfaction” ...yeah slightly masochistic, in a good way IMO, there is strength of body and mind being gained through that beautiful pain :thumbsup:
     
    mike, mtnbikej, Mikie and 1 other person like this.
  16. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    :eek:How did I miss this ride report?
    That was awesome!:thumbsup:
     
  17. BonsaiNut

    BonsaiNut Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Laguna Hills
    Name:
    Greg P
    Current Bike:
    Custom XTR 29er
    It was great two years ago. It is greater today.

    I have only had the privilege to ride with @mike once. But I appreciate him as a kindred soul - one to whom nature's murmur is louder than any human speech. Sadly, our ride together was far too literal - he being in much better shape to tear up the mountain that day than I was. We spent the day talking about my lack of endurance (from me) and his reassurance, versus the beauty of what was going on around us.

    So Mike all I will say is "I get it". But I don't always show it.

    And I still have your gift...
     
    mtnbikej, mountaingirl sara and mike like this.
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