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Soquel Demo Forest - July 6, 2010

Distance: 15.2 miles Ascent: 2,488 feet Moving time: 2:05 hours

The Tuesday night crew hit SDF, a rare mid-week destination, for a post-holiday ride in the crisp mountain air after three days of heat (several people started with jackets on but they came off pretty quickly). The group of ten grew to thirteen as late arrivers skipped some of the early trails and joined the larger group. The route was the usual: Highland, Buzzard Lagoon, Cusacks, Santa Rosalia, a couple of side singletracks, Canadian Bacon, Ridge, Braille and out on Hihn's Mill.

I was coming off of several days of heavy landscaping work in the heat (including earlier in the day) and was a bit concerned that I would have enough energy. However, I started off pretty strong and things went well for a while. The first mishap occurred on one of the single tracks. There is a sharp right turn than heads into a gully that I messed up on. As I turned to the right at the top, my front tire dug in, flexed to the side too much and suddenly stopped. The rest of me kept going, so I went over. I discovered later that I had scraped up my left hip a bit. This might have been my first tubeless tire burp, but I ended up with gravel stuck between the tire and the rim, quickly letting all of the air out of the tire. I had to push the bike through the gully to the end of the trail. We tried filling it with air before realizing that there was still gravel letting air out. We got it cleaned up and I was on the trail again pretty quickly with most of the damage being done to my pride.

I took another spill while following two other people on Canadian Bacon. On another short, steep downhill they stopped. I was in the middle of the downhill and tried to slow to a trackstand while they cleared the trail but my balance point was a bit off for the amount of incline, so I took another slow-speed fall. Two in one ride!

Fortunately, Braille was uneventful. I think I was being a bit more careful because of the previous falls, but I made it down without even a near miss. However, the climb up Hihn's Mill was where my energy reserves ran out. I made it, but it seemed like a lot more effort than other recent rides. I was glad to get back to the car!

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