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Soquel Demo Forest - May 23, 2010

Distance: 14.3 miles Ascent: 2,723 feet Moving time: 2:07 hours

The gang was back together this week after separate rides last week, including Anna's first place finish at a CCCX race! Curtis also joined us, but oddly he hasn't been racing. We headed up to Soquel Demo Forest for a bit of trail riding through the redwoods. When we got there, it was a cool 51 degrees and sunny and the large parking lot was closed due to logging operations on the Redwood Empire land. There were lots of cars parked on the road but we found a good space and geared up for our ride pretty quickly. We headed up Highland and a slowish pace, catching up on recent happenings and solving the country's problems.

We held a very moderate pace up Buzzard Lagoon and then up Cusack's. The "rut" near the top of the trail has become very deep and narrow with a few roots growing between the sides, making it unridable unless the new track just to the right is used. The ride up Aptos Creek Fire Road with a couple of detours was pretty uneventful but fun. We regrouped at the junction at the top of the mountain and then headed out on Ridge. We made pretty good time out to the helicopter landing pad where we regrouped, but somewhere Curtis had fallen and scraped his forearm. Although it was dripping blood, the wound seemed to be more visual than serious and we continued on to the end of Ridge. Along the way, I took a small tumble in a rock garden and got a small cut on my cheek. Two bloody wounds in one ride is a new "best" for this group!

We headed up and then down Sawpit. Rather than leaving us in the dust, Curtis took some time to share some descending pointers with Anna. She came down the hill much faster than usual and really seemed to enjoy it. With the descending done, we headed up Hihn's Mill at a moderate pace chatting as we went. When we got back to the cars, everyone seemed to be feeling good...much better than usual. I checked our time when I got home and found that our ride time was similar to many other rides there even though we felt like it was a more moderate pace. We may be in slightly better shape, but I think the real difference was finding and holding a sustainable pace rather than hammering away for the first half or two-thirds of the ride and then dying.

We stopped at the Summit Market on the way back for a quick bite and to enjoy the sunshine on their patio. The weather warmed up into the mid to high sixties with a slight breeze and perfectly clear skies. We agreed that this was perfect riding weather (this may have also contributed to our feeling more energetic at the end than usual). We could see across the bay to Monterey from the top of Ridge, which is a bit unusual. We all had a great time.

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