Sunday, July 15, 2007

West Mag-nificent

Had a wonderful ride today on the West Magnolia trail system near Nederland which is a funky little mountain town about 25 minutes up Boulder Canyon. Nederland is probably best known for it's former resident Norwegian Trygve Bauge who was keeping his grandpa frozen in a Tuff Shed in the back yard in an innovative attempt at DIY cryogenics. There was much brouhaha but in the end I believe grandpa was allowed to stay though Trygve was deported because he refused to get a green card and insisted on thumbing his nose at the INS. The town responded to the controversy in the only sensible way, by starting a festival in grandpa's honor called Frozen Dead Guy Days. So do you want to move to Nederland yet? I sure do.

Where was I? Oh yeah, my bike ride. Jonny planned for us to meet up with his cycling friends but assured me he would ride with me because there's no way I can keep up with those speed demons. You think I'm kidding? We meet up in a parking lot and the group today includes Ann Trombley, Olympian and former national champion who literally wrote the book on mountain biking. Somehow these people are under the delusion that I'm going to ride with them. 'We'll go slow, we'll wait for you'. I laugh, they can't be serious. I can't even keep up with normal people. Nonetheless we all start off together and they do go slowly, chatting away and trying to encourage me when we hit the single track-'Oh this trail is hard to start off on, it'll get easier'. They humor me for half and hour and then finally Jonny convinces them to go ahead. Phew, I felt awful having them wait on me. They were all so nice about it too but I felt bad nonetheless.

The trails up there are beautiful, lots of singletrack through the woods occasionally opening up into meadows full of wildflowers. I made it up a long steep climb but had to walk some parts of the descent. I'm such a wuss when it comes to the downhill. Eventually I started riding over some of the rockier stuff because I was fed up with getting off and walking but some stuff was completely unrideable. The trails were very near where the offroad tri will be next month so I think I've got a good idea of what they'll be like. The only problem was that after about 2 1/2 hours of hard riding we'd gone only 9-10 miles. Hopefully the trails for the race will be a wee bit easier at least for part of the course. Otherwise it could be a long 12 miles.
As luck would have it we met up with the rest of the group on a trail toward the end of the ride so we were able to go for a post ride lunch. They had done some trail called Blair Witch and as appealing as that sounds I'm glad Jonny decided on a different route for me. Unfortunately the trails aren't mapped so I can't go riding there on my own or it really would turn into a Blair Witch incident. Jonny's been riding there for years and only recently feels comfortable finding his way without the group. I'm considering a GPS but somehow I think that would only lead to some misadventures.

Yesterday I took the road bike out for a cruise on the scenic and hilly Peak to Peak highway, starting in Nederland and heading back down Left Hand Canyon 12 miles or so later at the creepy mountain town of Ward. Ward is a superfund site because it sits on a bunch of old mine tailings. It's also the place where old vehicles go to die though it seems over the years that the big automobile graveyard that greets you on either side of the road as you come into town has decreased in size. Anyway, it was a much tougher ride than I was anticipating primarily because I keep forgetting I'm not in the shape that I used to be in and I keep fully expecting to be able to handle the hills the way I used to. I was out about 2 1/4 hours, maybe 35 miles or so and I was toast when I got home. I had food, a shower and settled into a nap at around 1:45. Rolled over, looked at the clock and was shocked to see that it was 3:45. So much for all the stuff I was going to get done. I need about a month off to catch up with my life.

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