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Soquel Demo Forest - December 12, 2010

Distance: 12.8 miles Ascent: 2,136 feet Moving time: 1:53 hours

It was cold and foggy at home this morning, just like it had been all week when it wasn't raining. We needed to get out and were tired of El Sereno, so we headed up to Soquel Demo Forest. We were surprised to leave the fog behind as we headed up the mountain and discover sunny, cloudless skies. The ground was wet with a few puddles in the usual places along the side of the road, but the number of parked cars indicated that lots of other people decided today was a good day for Demo.

From the parking area at the bridge, we headed up the road and braved the usual cold air along the creek before starting the climb. Anna was off like a shot on the climbs today. We headed up Cusacks which was in pretty good shape before hitting the fireroad again. We then headed out Ridge which was also in good shape, but there were a few places where my bike suddenly shifted about 8 inches to the side as I slid off unseen rocks or roots. The helipad looked like it had been graded fairly recently, but we lingered only long enough to snap a few pictures before heading to the picnic table. After a brief break to enjoy the views, we headed to the Tractor trailhead. We kept our speed in check due to intermittent boggy sections and a few roots, but had a great ride down the hill.

Once down, we had the long ride back up Hihn's Mill back to the parking area. Anna was in fine form and fast on this climb. I couldn't hang with her, but I did feel better than I have the last few weeks. I was well off my best pace, but at least I didn't feel dead.

We enjoyed the weather as we drove home until we rounded a turn and saw a puffy white blanket of fog covering the entire valley. A few hundred yards more and we hit a wall of fog. The sunshine and clear skies were suddenly gone and we were plunged into gray cool mist. It had a noticeable emotional impact. Fortunately, we still had the ride's afterglow to warm us.

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