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Quicksilver/El Sombroso - February 1, 2009

Distance: 19.7 miles Ascent: 3761 ft. Moving time: 2:47 hours

I'm back! After a week of hobbling about followed by more time slowly working my strained calf muscle back to health, I am on my bike again. I tried a couple of long, slow rides around town just to make sure things were OK. Surprisingly, walking felt worse than riding. However, I wanted it to recover before stressing it. I did a mid-week ride in Fremont Older just to test things out and everything was OK on a real trail, so I was back for our usual Sunday ride.

It seems like we are all suddenly getting old in a hurry. In addition to my muscle strain, Anna has been in therapy for knee problems and now Don's leg is bothering him. Getting older sucks.

In spite of all of my moaning, we had an unusually good ride today. It was another beautiful California winter day with clear skies and a temperature of about 70 degrees. We met at Quicksilver at climbed up the hill to English Camp, where we stopped to make sure no limbs had failed on the way up. Each of us agreed that we weren't feeling 100% and that we would probably need to turn around part way up the hill to El Sombroso (Woods Trail). We set off across the valley to the Jacques Ridge entrance to Sierra Azul and continued to feel OK, so we headed up the hill. Ken suggested that we ride up to the "shale section" and then probably turn back. We made good time up to there and decided to keep going. My calf felt a bit tweaked in this section, so Don took the lead and guided us up to the summit at a pretty good pace. We all made it, but had to turn around so Ken could get home to host a Super Bowl party.

We had to control our rate of descent in several places due to "ball bearing" gravel that seemed very loose. This caused our front tires to slide out in several corners, making the downhill ride a bit more exciting. Even with the reduced speed, we descended 1000 feet in about 9 minutes before things leveled off a bit. We continued backtracking to get Ken back to the cars as quickly as possible. There were quite a few people in Quicksilver (more than I have ever seen...the main parking lot was full and there were a lot of cars in the overflow lot where we parked), so we had to watch our speed there too.

My legs felt pretty good. Other than the minor pain on the shale section, they felt good the rest of the ride. I'll have to ride a bit more this week!

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