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Soquel Demo Forest - October 19, 2008

Distance: 18.00 miles Ascent: 2,546 ft, Moving time: 2:48 hours

The weather was great today. Autumn is here with a slight hint of coolness in the morning and a very light breeze. We agreed that this is perfect riding weather. In spite of the great weather, the number of people riding is down considerably from the summer crowds.

Highland Road is still closed, but there has been significant progress. Where there used to be a giant hole, the road seems to be close to ready. They have put in some supporting beams, but it also looks like they have installed some anchors into the hillside that now anchor the structure. It seems like this should be sufficient for minor slides, but the whole thing will go down if there is a major slide.

The climb up was pretty standard: Highland/Buzzard Lagoon/Pig and a few little single tracks. However, one of us got separated from the others somehow. This should serve as a reminder about 2 important group ride practices:

  1. Regroup at trail junctions unless everyone explicitly agrees on the route. This would avoid most separations, eliminating the need for item 2.
  2. If you get separated, retrace your steps to the last regrouping point. Don't keep going forward, don't go back to the start, don't try another trail. This avoids a lot of wasted time and "emotional wear".

Our descent was Ridge and Tractor. In addition to the usual fun, I filmed the rides with my VholdR video camera that I won at Sea Otter. The videos are too big to post (about 330 MB)...just your bad luck. While I have had the camera for quite a while, they did not have a mount for a vented helmet until now. I was pretty impressed with the video quality. I followed Ken on Ridge and had an open path on Tractor. I thought the video was more interesting with a person in the frame, but others may have different opinions. The camera is pretty easy to use in all you have to do is turn it on, put it in the mount, adjust the angle and rotation using the built-in lasers, and use the slider to start and stop recording. It is small and light weight, so I didn't really notice it on the ride. Since it mounted on top of my helmet, I have to be much more careful about trees and large branches that have to be ridden under and small branches and vines that hang out over the trail.

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