RR: Chantry to West Fork and Back

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by Mikie, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Ride Report: Chantry Flats to West Fork and Back

    As I step into the shower, and the mud begins to circle the drain, the scrapes, and cuts, and bruises sting from the initial hit of hot water. I take that first big swig of the ice cold Fat Tire I drug in the shower with me, all I can do is get a big smile on my face and think . . . . . . “I’m a Mountain Biker”.

    …12 Hours Earlier

    Up at 5:00am, to be on the road at 6:00am, I’m excited yet, apprehensive about the ride for the day. I had been sporting a cold all week and it had just settled into my chest the day before the ride at Chantry Flats.

    http://app.strava.com/activities/92847980

    Despite how I felt, it was an invitation to ride with rossage, the “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” Jeff Spicoli of Mountain Biking. Bacon is like “Meat Candy”. I was right at the point of not going when rossage threw in at the last minute that “Tom the Bomb” was going as well. Oh crap, Rossage, hill^billy, and, now Tom the Bomb?!?!?!
    Ringing in my head was, “Small Chance of Success, Certainty of Death? What are we waiting for?”

    Cathy was dousing me with food grade hydrogen peroxide both diluted in large glasses of water, and, with a vaporizer pumping it in the air at night as we slept. You see, Cathy takes this more seriously than I do. Every time I leave for a ride she yells out the door, “Don’t come home, unless you kick their asses!” I love my wife. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t even have shown that day…

    Parked at Chantry Flats, I easily find rossage’s van known as the banana boat. It’s the bright mustard yellow one that has the Barcolounger in the back. Then Tom the Bomb rolls up with a buddy named . . . Tom, and then hill^billy rolls in, to parade up and down the street with his huge bowl of cereal out his truck window overhead.
    Ah... traditions…

    No doubt mistaken as the neighborhood ice cream van... candy little girl?
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    "Dude, we're rock this place" ~ rossage
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    The valley we are going to finish the ride down...
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    Under the bars look south towards L.A.
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    Tom the Bomb riding my Yeti midget mobile (for him...)
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    "They give him the surprised look and say, “Oh wow, uh, have a nice ride.” ...I knew I was in trouble."

    We get suited up ready to roll out; we see and talk with a couple of other MTB’ers as they are heading out as well. They ask what we are riding today; trail names roll off rossage’s tongue, they give him the surprised look and say, “Oh wow, uh, have a nice ride.” I knew I was in trouble.

    Now it’s Saturday, and Mikie does not know what it means to ride in L.A. So I had to get schooled that there would be 2 million mini ninja hikers on the first couple of miles of trail. There wasn’t 2 million, and really, it wasn’t that bad. EVERYBODY was very nice, as were we. It was all fine and dandy on the Chantry to Toll Road Climb trail section until we go to the Toll Road Climb...

    Tom the Bomb, Hill^bill, and T-2.
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    Rossage...
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    The Waterfall. A short steep rock drop with a twist corner right after. Hill^billy cleaning it.
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    He's a silly man. TtB!

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    I'm assuming it's called the Toll Road cuz it took a "Toll" on me. It was brutal. Brutal! Rossage is talking the whole time up this switchback trail climb from hell, it just kept ascending . . . and steep! I started out fine, but the off and on my bike, to hike then ride, then hike finally got to me. I was ready to hurl and I have NEVER hurled on a ride. The Flu was getting the best of me. Those guys drrr-opped me, and I mean bad. Tom the Bomb brought a buddy cleverly named . . . uh, Tom, aka T-2 (clever), and as I watched his rear wheel slowly disappear up the trail, I actually started thinking of doing a 180. Cuz the last thing I’m gonna be, is a boat anchor on my buds. When we finally got to the Chantry to Wilson fire road climb that would take us to the peak of Mt. Wilson, I told the boyz my thoughts of turning around and they would have none of it.


    “One for all and all for one,” says rossage, “I’ll drag you up by your short arm, if I have to.” I’m not really sure I know what that meant, but then, I don’t think I really wanted to know…

    On the fire road climb up to the peak of Wilson I felt MUCH better! Consistent grinder climbs are the secret to my success and this was perfect. I just grabbed rossage’s rear wheel and didn’t let go.
    At the top of Mt. Wilson it is amazing! I had never been there before. Looking out to see all of Los Angeles, and Long Beach, and Catalina was awesome. You gotta do this!


    Rossage joked that the restaurant might still be open at the top. We have always joked about their being a Starbuck’s or a McDonalds at the summit of our rides, so I just assumed he was BSN us. But their really IS a food shack at the top! What! Hill^billy bought me a Turkey Sandwich that came with Cole Slaw (which totally rocked!) With a large glass of water, it came to $10.00! A bit on the pricey side but there’s not much competition, and it was very good…

    So rossage says the good news is, that now the fun begins. The singletrack descent on the Kenyan/Devore trail will be a fun crazy adventure, and it was. Starting out as a “normal” bench cut singletrack, our whooping and yelling madness resumed as we screamed along awesome singletrack, but then it got less traveled and less . . . swoopy, and turned into very narrow, exposed, sections of washed out and sandy, to very narrow rocky ledges around tight rock walls (wide bars beware!). Now I love that stuff! T-2? Not so much. If you heard the story Tom the Bomb shared with us at one of the stops about T-2, I think I would have some issues with exposure as well…

    The video link to T-2’s experience:

    (T-2 provided it in his post below. Wow! An honor to ride with you brothah!)
     
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  2. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    T-2. Very Strong rider...
    IMG-20131102-00512.jpg


    Hammering switchbacks on trails heavily covered with a thick blanket of leaves (almost felt like we were riding on ice at times, it was slippery), we continued until we had to hop off to climb over fallen trees. These became more and more frequent as we dropped into the canyon. The poodle bush was getting thicker and thicker from the huge Station Fire that was a couple of years ago. Although I have never had a reaction to puddle bush, I have heard some stories and did NOT want to find out for myself. I know I hit it several times and so did others.

    The observatory, but we aint even close...

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    This is one of those pics that's suppose to show how steep it is, but doesn't? My heart was beating out of my chest and I thought I was going to eject my lungs...
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    Even T-2 was feeling it, but this is him blowing past me as I just stood there helpless, watching him.
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    Awwwwwwwww! Break out into sunlight. The angels sing.
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    Foliage turns to a mix of Manzanita...
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    T-2 in full smile mode with Tom the Bomb.
    IMG-20131102-00522.jpg


    Full on "Life Behind Bars" shot.
    IMG-20131102-00523.jpg
     
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  3. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Excellent View from the Observatory.
    IMG-20131102-00525.jpg

    Getting lunch... There really WAS a place to get at the top... Go figure.
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    Hill^billy grabbing some grub.

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    rossage and Tom the Bomb...
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    I love the warning signs of death! Actually i really do like the signs of death. makes me feel so ALIVE!
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    Let's do this!
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    We may stop for a minute, but not the smack talk of rossage! Ha hah! Non-stop! Wouldn't have it any other way!
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    "With no dropper post, leaning as far back as I could go, I still went over the bars. Luckily I did a forward somersault and somehow missed most of the boulder field I rolled into!"

    Dropping down one section of trail, it was so steep that if you tapped your brakes too hard you would just keep going, it ended in a rock drop about a tall as my bike was long. With no dropper post, leaning as far back as I could go, I still went over the bars. Luckily I did a forward somersault and somehow missed most of the boulder field I rolled into! My 2nd exit of the day! I would expect nothing less than laughs from my compadres… I got some cuts, scratches, and bruises, but nothing major. I had to loosen the steering stem and straighten my bars, but no major mechanical hits… I thought…

    Dozens and dozens of downed or half downed trees from the fire. It blew me away. i had never seen anything like it before. It made me sad...
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    Out on the flats.

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    The discovery of my damaged RD. Broken bike parts suck. But still smiling!
    IMG-20131102-00542.jpg
     
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  4. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    About a mile more down the trail, came the mechanical. Another twisted rear derailleur right into the spokes! Dammit! Thank goodness for carrying a spare hanger but the derailleur was toasted as well. Hobbling to West Fork campground we took a break and rossage did the “on the fly” bike repair to tweak parts into submission to get enough gears to finish off the 12 miles we had left. Thanks uncle rossage!
    Talk about laughing, man these guys are funny! Between the normal rossage BS, the combo of Tom the Bomb, T2, and hill^billy; I’m not sure if my ribs hurt more from riding or laughing. Having the Yeti now with enough gears to climb out, we headed out on a very long fire road grind climb to Newcomb Pass. I thought it would never end, and again I just hung on to rossage’s rear wheel. I was getting tired, but rossage talked the whole way and even sang to himself at some points, “Crazy Hippy!”

    Hey! Is that supposed to be bent THAT direction??? "Another one bites the dust"...
    IMG-20131102-00543.jpg

    Us. Thinking we are taking a cool picture. Ehhh... IMG-20131102-00544.jpg


    Hung in Yeti embarrassment. The Bike stand for rossage to make me go go...
    IMG-20131102-00545.jpg


    Looking back and even more north than we rode. Some mysterious place called "Red Box" is located in that pass.
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    At the top of Newcomb Pass we stopped again for a few minutes to gather up. The final singletrack was ahead of us and it was the whole reason for the journey. This would take us back to Chantry Flats.
    We had to ride this small section of trail to get to the Chantry singletrack drop to Chantry. Rossage took the lead since he had a Bear Bell followed by Tom the Bomb, I took off after TtB, hill^billy on my wheel, then T2. This took us to an intersection where 3 trails came together, but all I was interested in was the one that headed straight down, and that was the one we hit. Tom the Bomb took off first, I jumped on his heels with hill^billy right on my backside. Rossage and T2 covered the rear. Tom the Bomb was flying (as he always does), how someone so tall can be so nimble is amazing! This is a very long twisty, windy, switchbacked, rocky, singletrack, and the environment quickly changes from leafy covered smooth screaming fast singletrack covered in a full canopy of trees so dark you can’t wear sunglasses, to full sunlit rocky switchbacks, dropping off ledges of rock onto ledges of rock as you go into a crazy corner blind from thick foliage on either side. This is where you have to totally trust your ride buddies judgment. As well, you have a guy right on your rear wheel that’s relying on you! With the right combo of guys, there is no better feeling! It felt like endless singletrack. Every time I thought we were done, we still had miles to go. At one point on a stream crossing, hill^billy must have had enough of us starting and stopping and blew by us, Tom the Bomb took off after him. I followed Tom the Bomb along with T2. Rossage was stopped tripping on the scenery . . . Crazy Hippies!

    At Newcomb Pass. Apparently it is all miles of smiles singletrack from here... It was!
    IMG-20131102-00547.jpg

    Switching back and forth from sunny and rocky, to swoopy smooth leaf covered goodness, I tried to catch hill^billy and TtB, but they got too much of a jump on me. I also noticed we were starting to pass hikers again. The fun was almost over…
    Screaming through a couple of campgrounds most spectators whooped words of encouragement, while the Boy Scout Troop kids yelled something sarcastic. Huh?

    Dropping into the final section we ended with a very steep climb on pavement back up to the Chantry Flats parking lot. Although only about a third of a mile climb, it was steep, and it was brutal, after all the climbing we did. Rossage and I led, but he was dropping me towards the top. It was nice to roll to the car and hit stop on the Garmin!

    In route to Brew and Pizza! Looking out toward Los Angeles.
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    Changed into street clothes we hit a BJ’s for some pizza and a brew. I know I have never laughed so hard on a ride, wanted to puke my guts out, and loved an amazing ride, all in one day.

    Rossage, Hill^billy, Tom the Bomb, and T2 are a tough crowd. Amazing riders, and great friends, I know our next epic is going to be the Palm Canyon Epic. If you show, you better bring your “A” Game, your grit, and a strong sense of humor. Otherwise, these guys will eat your lunch on all fronts! Can’t wait til next time…

    This was another Rossage Epic adventure. The roster was perfect! Can't wait for the next time!!!
    Mikie

    Ross and Doug...
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    Tom and Tom. They are "Haulin' the Mail" even when they are sitting still! IMG-20131102-00553.jpg
     
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  5. rossage

    rossage iMTB Addict

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
    Great RR...f or the 1st half!
     
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  6. El Immigrante

    El Immigrante Member

    Location:
    SFV
    Name:
    Montalvo
    Current Bike:
    Ibis
    Berry nice! Ride Ive hit 3-5x and very dangerous!
     
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  7. rossage

    rossage iMTB Addict

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
    Mikie's days as a leg model are over. ...
     
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  8. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    No pics . . . no proof!
     
  9. T-2

    T-2 Member

    Location:
    Alta Loma
    Name:
    Tom Shaffer
    Current Bike:
    Carbon Stumpy EVO
    Mikie likes this.
  10. hill^billy

    hill^billy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Acton
    Name:
    Doug Lake
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB-66

    NICE RR Mikie! Chalk up another epic! Wish I could write one like that, better to leave it to you! Yes the chemistry was spot on, a good meld of all the elements of why we get crazy! What happened to those pretty leg pics I sent you? You got them did you not?

    image.jpg
     
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  11. hill^billy

    hill^billy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Acton
    Name:
    Doug Lake
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB-66

    DAMN TOM!!!! I had no idea that had happened to you! JUST WOW! So glad you shook it off and could ride more days! Just goes to show how much love you have for this thing we do. That's two guys I know now (Scottay) who climbed back on, despite all the discouragement that had to be delt out from friends and family. Very nice to meet you!
     
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  12. Maddog

    Maddog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Lancaster
    Name:
    Greg Madison
    Current Bike:
    Intense Tracer 275
    Great RR Mikie! What's wrong with being the boat anchor? Everyone becomes one sooner or later. Some more than others and none more than me! Embrace the boat anchor!
     
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  13. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Hah! Never!
     
  14. Hattrick

    Hattrick Newbie

    Name:
    Steve
    Current Bike:
    Ibis HD 140
    Wow, you are a lucky man to have not been more injured! I ride there solo at night...this makes me think twice if I were to fall.

     
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  15. BIKEMONSTER

    BIKEMONSTER Member

    Name:
    BIKEMONSTER
    Current Bike:
    Vintage Stumpjumper
    Bravo Mikie!

    Extremely well writen report I must say...

    Thanks for taking us along for the ride.
     
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  16. Tom the Bomb

    Tom the Bomb Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Alta Loma, Ca.
    Name:
    Thomas Cosgrove
    Current Bike:
    Niner rip 9
    Yo Mikey you rock buddy! Doug, Tom, Ross, badasss ride and badass friends. I laughed so much my jaw hurts today! No lie! Where would we be without ride reviews, memories . I started laughing again but had to stop cuz my jaw muscles hurt too much. That crazy trail we climbed was The Manzanita trail, I know you won't forget it. Sart, pce, Noble canyon, Mt. Lowe all on the list. Great RR. That 6000 ft of climbing was just about all done in the the first 12 miles! Gotta be a record for me. Epic Baby! :mrgreen:
     
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  17. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Saw this in the upper right pics and it brought back awesome memories! We need to do more rides like this! Kokopelli! Here we come!!!
    Balllllllz Baby! Haulin the Mail!
    @T-2!
    @rossage!
    @Tom the Bomb !
    @hill^billy!
     
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  18. hill^billy

    hill^billy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Acton
    Name:
    Doug Lake
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB-66
    Again, just a awesome report, awesome rides spawn awesome reports! To date that is the most climbing I have ever done, Unless koko was more? Good bump Mikie, thanks :thumbsup:
     
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  19. Tom the Bomb

    Tom the Bomb Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Alta Loma, Ca.
    Name:
    Thomas Cosgrove
    Current Bike:
    Niner rip 9
    Why is this here? confusing. Looks like a new post
     
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  20. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    @Tom the Bomb ,
    This is an old ride report, (I think my first ride in the Gabes evah!) It was written in the old forum software so all the "thanks" now "likes" are gone. One of the pics showed up in the upper right hand corner Pic/Slot Machine so I bumped the post cuz it brought back awesome memories. :cool:
     
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  21. Tom the Bomb

    Tom the Bomb Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Alta Loma, Ca.
    Name:
    Thomas Cosgrove
    Current Bike:
    Niner rip 9
    nice
     
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  22. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Picture slot machine!
    I wanna do this ride again @rossage!
     
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