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Santa Teresa - February 20, 2009

Distance: 12.2 miles Ascent: 1654 ft. Moving time: 1:13 hours

I thought that I had been off the trails long enough to let everything dry completely, so it was time for another trail ride. Since I had not been able to complete my last ride at Santa Teresa due to a severe calf strain, I decided to go back and ride "the horse that threw me." The climb up Stile Ranch was fun. I noticed that there was more loose rock this time, probably the result of all of the loose dirt being washed away in the rains. The trail was generally in good shape and I was enjoying being the only person on the trail.

I got to the bottom of Rocky Ridge and suddenly things got very wet. I thought this was just a short section, then just the section by the creek. I also thought it was just "dirty water" type mud, but it turned out to be very sticky mud that clings to anything it touches. My chain and derailleur were encased in mud in no time at all. I thought about turning back, but that would have required going back through the same mud patch. Surely the trail be in better condition just a little ways up, I thought, but the trail turned out to be muddy quite a ways up (though not to the fence crossing). This made riding tough since my tires had collected as much sticky mud as they could hold, I was having chain suck problems, and wet spots made some of the rock crossings difficult. I finally made it to the fence crossing, where things got better and I made it to the top will few other problems though my tires still weighed several pounds more than normal due to the mud.

At the top of Rocky Ridge I discovered that the abandoned communications building has been demolished. I think this building used to hold electronics for a microwave transmitter, but it had been abandoned years ago and vandalized and covered with graffiti for some time. All that is left now is the concrete pad. Based on the tractor tire prints, this seems like a pretty recent change.

Since I have been trying to incorporate new routes recently, I decided to try something new (I also wasn't going to descend Rocky Ridge due to the mud). I had never noticed it before, but there is a gate just south of the communications building. I had looked at this in Google Earth, so I decided to explore a bit. The paved road (Country View Dr.) ends just beyond the gate, so I gave it a try. It seems like this road was built with the intention of building expensive homes in this area, but the only buildings are toward the bottom of the road. This was a nice ride with a few ups and downs that ends at McKean Road, so I rode back to Fortini Road and my car and called it a day.

By the way, it took about an hour to get most of the mud off of my bike and clean the drive train. This is another good reason to stay off of overly wet trails!

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