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Saratoga Gap - March 28, 2010

Distance: 16.7 miles Ascent: 3,175 feet Moving time: 2:31 hours

It is springtime and the trails are open again after their seasonal winter closures. The weather was good and we wanted to see an "old friend" that we haven't seen in a while. It was time to get out and ride Saratoga Gap.

To maximize our trail time, we started at the Gap parking lot trailhead and followed the trail out to the first wooden bench for our first photo break. The trail was in great condition and was fast and "swoopy". Even though we have ridden this trail many, many times, Ken still managed to get lost for a brief period. We continued on from the wooden bench with quick re-groups at the stone bench and at the bottom of Peters Creek before pushing on to the Christmas Tree farm. We made pretty good time to this point.

We continued on the trail, passing Horseshoe Lake and into the Skyline Ridge parking lot. At this point, we made the mistake of listening to Ken's suggestion/request to ride Table Mountain. We never learn! We crossed Highway 35 and descended Skid Road and climbed up to Steven Canyon Trail. A father and his young son were descending the trail from the Grizzly Flat junction, so we waited and watched them before starting down. The very young boy had some fear about descending the rocky trail, but kept going with some coaching from his dad. We went past him after a minor fall, but he was quickly back on his feet and riding again. We gave them some trail suggestions later.

We each sucked down a Gu before starting up Table Mountain. I tried crossing the middle of creek, but didn't allow for the deeper gully in the middle. This resulted in dismounting and wading across the creek, leaving me with wet shoes for the rest of the ride. Table Mountain was a little bit wet at the bottom and at one point in the middle, but was otherwise in pretty good condition. We re-grouped at the top of Table Mountain/bottom of Charcoal Road before heading up. As always, this was a long slog. I hope that Ken enjoyed this, because I didn't! We got to the top, caught our breath for a moment and then pointed our bikes back toward the parking lot.

It was a good ride, but I still don't like Charcoal Road. My left knee has been hurting lately on sustained climbs, so I may need to take it a bit easier and let it recuperate.

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