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Old 10-08-2012, 09:44 AM   #16
Slowred
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Outstanding Video Nightstalker!
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:10 PM   #17
Yardstick
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I was feeling a bit under the weather all week and planned to ride with Mrs. Yardstick Saturday on our 990, but then the idea of a singletrack ride came up. How could I resist?! We could do the 2-up thing on Sunday, right? So I committed.

Some email conversations with Jrproper got the ball rolling on a loose plan for the ride. I wanted to revisit the supernatural, self healing hill that Slowred and I ran into on the Sycamore Death March, only with a fresh knobby! And I wanted to check out some trails I have traced in Google Earth. Friday afternoon/evening I switched from a partly worn MT-43 trials tire to a fresh knobby I have never tried before.

Later Friday night I went from feeling under the weather to having a full blown ear infection that had me in serious pain and walking sideways into walls. It was too late to cancel and I figured with enough anti-inflammatory drugs in me I could at least do a shorter, easier ride. If you read the RR so far, you know that didn't happen!

We started out on the main trail to/from the Mesquite wash area. I felt okay and forgot about the pain and lack of balance pretty quick, especially when we came up on a group of riders practicing for the slow races. That piece of singletrack is not built for passing, but we needed to get around this group. No amount of my pitiful horn seemed to grab their attention at first. I finally laid into it; MRREEEPPRPRPEEEPPEEEEEPPPEEE! I think it's full of mud or corroded or something. They found just about the least opportune places to pull over and let us by, finally!

Somewhere along the wash to connect to the next section of singletrack I could feel something was not right. The bike was dancing all over and hard to control. It was either that new, untried tire or my ear infection. I kept thinking it was the tire and it just needed to wear in a little. "It'll get better!", I told myself.

Further into the trails and I was still struggling. Occasionally checking the steering damper settings. Still, I was making the hills and felt like I was keeping an okay pace for the fatigue I started with.


Tony lost some momentum on a hill and slowed Nightstalker, who is hiding in the bushes generating dust here.



There he is!



Regrouped!



There's Nightstalker hiding in the back.



I wanted to find a place to check my tire pressures, thinking maybe the gauge I used that morning was reading low and the resulting high tire pressures were the cause of my tentative riding. At the end of the next piece of singletrack we ran into my "brutal riding buddies". My tires did read quite high. But that didn't fix the problem.


We pressed on and found our way into "Jungle Wash".



Last time I was in this wash it was on a KTM 625 SXC. The 530 is like cheating! I think I'd skip this one after a rain, though.
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:17 PM   #18
Yardstick
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I got to the jungle part on my 625, but I didn't make it this far!



There are some interesting obstacles in there.



I keep thinking it's too bad we didn't get pictures of the really hard stuff.



This is the nice exit after having to run a little ledge and push through a staghorn cholla.



The other option was to stay in the rocky wash bottom.



Finding the Jeep road at the end of Jungle Wash was a relief. Until....
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:21 PM   #19
Yardstick
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Still fighting the bike and starting to hate my new rear tire, I ran up the hill to catch the rest of Jrproper's climb.






Then the series of Nightstalker coming up!


























I have three videos of Tony coming up that I need to stitch together. That may take a while.
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:31 PM   #20
Yardstick
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Then came the long version of that hill! I don't think it was as technically challenging, but it was LONG! After a few bad bounces and still fighting the bike, I wanted to stop and take a breather. There just wasn't a good spot for it. I slowed down and just cruised to the top at a leisurely pace.

Tony came up next.



Then Nightstalker.



Then Jrproper.



We made our way back down and hooked up with the end of Lost Hills. Fortunately the Jeep road bypassed a lot of the really hard stuff.



Lost Hills is a rarely used, very overgrown kind of trail in this area. Nightstalker followed by Tony and Jrproper. This part was a surprise. So much water had cut through where the trail crossed washes that there were little drop offs and step-ups in a few spots that used to be challenging all on their own!



Choices, choices! I wanted to check out the supernatural hill, but since I hated my tire so much by this point and we were all feeling the fatigue, we took the bypass to Log Corral Rd.
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:52 PM   #21
Yardstick
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I took a wrong turn coming out the bypass and noticed something was really not right with my bike as I turned it around. It was as if the engine was missing occasionally or something was hanging it up. Once on Log Corral Rd I took a closer look. My chain was drooping more than normal and the chain side adjuster was almost bottomed out! WTF?? Then the realization hit me... I changed my tire... which meant I had the axle out... which meant I... torqued... the axle nut? Aw CRAP! Out came the tools. My finger-tight axle nut made it almost 23 miles! Even more amazing to me was that the loose axle didn't take me out on one of those rocky hills with my compromised balance from the ear infection!

I started actually appreciating my new rear tire with the axle locked down.

From Log Corral Rd the overheated Nightstalker took the "easy" way back to the trucks. Tony and Jrproper follwed me back on Pickaxe! Which turns out to be ~2 miles shorter than taking the highway!



This is the easiest section of it.



There are lots of short, steep, rutted downhills with loose rocks, followed by short, steep, rutted uphills with embedded rocks.



Sometimes the downs put you in rocky washes.



Here's Jrproper crossing some boulders coming out of one of those.



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Old 10-08-2012, 02:57 PM   #22
Yardstick
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More rocky wash on the Pickaxe trail.



And some fun sidehill action!






My GPS showed 34.3 miles for the day. It wasn't quite the "Death March", but close enough. It definitely didn't help my immune system. And if I didn't know it before, I think I learned my lesson about working on my bike when I'm not feeling well; Just leave it alone!
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:54 PM   #23
Psycho18th
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That looks like a great ride! I haven't run sycamore in a long time. I'll have to get out there sometime.
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:54 AM   #24
Montek
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wow

awesome video. looks like the heart rate was up in the target range
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