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Waterdog - December 7, 2008

Distance: 10.0 miles Ascent: 2,075 ft. Moving time: 1:45 hours

Went to Waterdog in Belmont today. Waterdog is usually fun since it has a lot to offer in terms of tight trails, switchbacks, a few tricky roots and other things to make it interesting. The weather was about 50 degrees, so we bundled up a bit more than usual. This made me a bit warm on some of the climbs and a bit cool when we stopped for any length of time, so this was probably about the right amount of clothing.

Most of the ride was on familiar trails: Lake Road, Upper Lake Road (out and back), John Brooks, Chaparral, Ohlone, Finch and Upper Creek to Hastings Drive.

Here, we detoured and crossed Hastings over to the Carlmont side. The top of the hill is behind the houses on the east side of Hastings. The hillside has a pretty extensive network of trails leading down. This area is a favorite of downhillers and stunt riders and they have built quite a few jumps and banked curves in a lot of places. Some of the jumps are moderate size that the riders are able to catch quite a bit of air. Others are gap jumps with both lead-in and landing ramps. These are often grouped into sequences of two or more gap jumps. We spotted a pretty large gap jump over a very large gully that was about 15 across and deep. We didn't even think about this as we are older and wiser (at least we would like to attribute our decision to these factors), but some people had put some effort into building this jump. We also discovered some large ramps on steep hillsides that seemed to launch riders into the air as the hillside drops away below them, allowing them to land about 20 feet lower. Not for us!

We noticed that most of the riders here either were shuttled to the top by their parent (!) or pushed their large downhill bikes up to the middle of the hill from the bottom by foot. Except for a short steep and loose section right at the bottom, we all rode the whole way back up to the top without too much problem. Go old guys!

We came back on the familiar trails: Raccoon Run, Elevator, Chaparral, Rambler and Berry. We all did a good job coming down the ramp at the lake (nice job Anna!). Ken was riding his Klein (rear hub on the Ventana is being serviced) and decided to try to ride up the ramp. He forgot that the shifting on old bike is opposite to the newer bike and stalled out on the way up. At first, he started rolling backwards and the tipped over and slid down the rest of the way. He was able to stop his slide by applying his helmet to a steel post with a very impressive thud. A quick check at the scene showed no serious damage to the head, the helmet or the post, so we headed back to the truck. We discovered a large lump behind Ken's right ear when we got to the truck. He seems OK and we were all glad it wasn't worse.

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