Slow, Look, Lean and Roll
Why is it that I have this urge to publicly proclaim my incompetence? The best answer I can come up with is that I somehow think it qualifies as an "adventure."
My Christmas list this year was biased towards motorcycle stuff. I finally got an air pump that fits into my tool bag. Hope it works! Another item was David Hough's book, Proficient Motorcycling.
After reading the chapter on delayed apexing, I was itching to get out and try the technique. I needed twisties! So I hatched a plan to head up Flagstaff Mountain and see if I could find the link to Magnolia Road. I'd tried to make the link before, but always got repelled by private property signs. Info from a local list confirmed that there is a public right of way that is OK to use.
So I started gathering gear. A while back, Esteban posted a list of tools
he takes on his rides, which includes a 20 foot long piece of webbing. I thought that sounded like a good idea, so I dug out my climbing gear to find some webbing. Well, I had a big coil of webbing about 60 feet long.
Dang it, I'll have to cut it, then finish the ends. I've already spent too much time getting ready... forget it! Let's go! Daylight is wasting. A choice with interesting consequences later...
Off to Flagstaff Mountain. It has lots of corners of varying characteristics.
Slow, look, lean and roll. Hey, this is fun! Just make sure you're not leaning over when there's a sandy patch...
I threaded my way through Lakeview Estates with their barrage of private property signs, and eventually found the road over the "pass" south of Twin Sisters Peak. It's definitely a high clearance road, but probably doesn't require 4x4 capability.
Suddenly, there's a yellow pickup stopped in the road, totally blocking it. He's got a tire and tools on the ground behind the truck.
Looks like I've got a few minutes to take in the view. Here's looking east towards the plains though Eldorado canyon.
Luckily he's just finished up changing the flat, and is on his way in a couple of minutes. Heh, it turns out to be the local DHL carrier.
Now that's validation that this is a public route!
On to Magnolia road. At the top of the descent, a sign informs that adequate snow tires or chains are required. It's a north facing hill so lingering ice is a distinct possibility. As it turns out, liberal application of sand was the hazard of the day.
At the bottom, I ponder my options. This was the end of my intended ride, but I'm really enjoying this delayed apex stuff. I'm here, the roads are here, the day is beautiful, why stop? On to Sugarloaf! The Switzerland trail will probably have some snow. That would be good practice. Then I can head down Four Mile canyon back to town.
Indeed, the Switzerland trail has packed snow, and a few shallow drifts. Going slow, I experiment with power, breaks, and turning. I go down once and begin to tire of the snow. A numbered forest service route catches my attention. It appears to descend a gully into Four Mile canyon. Hey cool, a short cut! Jeep trail becomes quad trail, becomes donkey path, becomes foot path, becomes eroded overgrown archeological path... but a path nonetheless, and I'm going to ride it!
About 200 yards from the bottom, a single tree grown across the trail forces me into a stand of trees.
The vegetation is getting pretty thick (more water at the bottom of the canyon, you know). I scout ahead on foot to make sure there's a viable route to the road. I decide there's a ridable route, but it isn't pretty. Boulders, dense willows, snow, rosehips, and a small ravine are between the bike and the road, but it's nothing I haven't done before... so I think.
There's even a warning I choose to ignore...
The last obstacle is the ravine. It's about 6 feet deep and about 50 feet wide. Nothing I shouldn't be able to handle, right? Well, this time around there are a few additional factors. It's a warm winter day, which means the creek in the bottom is a mixture of ice and water. The ground is mostly frozen and unyielding. Patches of snow and dead plants detract from available traction There are willows everywhere, limiting line choices for gaining momentum. And I've got a real winner end of season rear tire.
But the road is so close! Six vertical feet and I'll be on my way. *sigh* After thrashing about in the ravine for over an hour I surrender and start packing to walk out for help. At this moment, the first car I've seen passes, stops, and backs up. The window comes down and the question is levied. Yes I'm fine. This is no accident. I'm in this ridiculous position by my own conscious choice. My turn to ask questions. They don't have rope and aren't willing to dirty their fine clothing by helping me push the bike out, but they will give me a ride to town. Man, I should have packed that webbing...
They dump me off on the Perl Street Mall. I start calling friends, working my way to those further from town. After a few dead ends, my buddy Tim comes through, but it will be a while before he can be in town. So I get to do some window shopping in my motorcycle costume, which draws a couple of comments. Come on now folks, there a tons more yahoos here on the mall more strange than me.
Tim shows up, tow rope in hand, and we head back to the prison. Luckily I find the spot in the dark and Tim gets his shots in. Look how close you are! Haha!
After brief discussion, we choose to attach the rope around the forks below the headset, and manually pull the prisoner onto the road. A few grunts later and it's free.
I dress for the night ride back to town, followed by dinner of Tim's choice. Thanks man!
At the bottom of Four Mile Canyon as I slow to turn into Boulder Canyon, I suddenly recall the opening of Proficient Motorcycling: the story of a fatal head-on collision in Boulder Canyon. Great, and I'm riding it at night! Slow, Look, Lean, Roll. Stay out of the no zone...
Here's the overall route:
And the elevation profile: