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Annadel - September 12, 2010

Distance: 23.0 miles Ascent: 2,615 feet Moving time: 2:43 hours

Anna pushed us to explore a few new areas and pushed everyone to commit to a ride at Annadel. This required a two hour drive and is well outside our normal range, but this proved to be a great suggestion.

Our full group of six got an early start and had no traffic problems getting there. We started in Spring Lake County Park. They had plenty of parking and reasonable facilities. After completing our pre-ride rituals, we headed up Canyon, a wide gentle fireroad that starts to slowly climb and increase the number of rocks embedded in and on the trail. This served as both a good warm-up and a prelude of things to come. We stopped at the Spring Creek junction to adjust Marion's pedals and I chatted with a couple of women who promised me a cold beer if we could ride the entire route we planned. The fireroad turned to singletrack as we continued and got steeper and rockier, but still pretty managable.

We continue climbing up Marsh and onto Ridge, which turned out to be a pretty fun trail. After a short break at a picnic table and a chat with another group of riders, we continued on Ridge to the other end of Marsh. This took us to the top of Lawndale. This was a fast, flowy trail through the forest and one of the best trails in the park. We shot down as fast as the conditions and our lack of Annadel experince would allow. I was disappointed to hit the bottom, hoping that the trail would go further.

We headed up Lawndale Road and Shultz Road to the Shultz trailhead where we saw a couple of deer. Shultz is a rocky singletrack climb that wasn't particularly steep but the combination of large and small rocks made the climb interesting. We took a short breather at the top before continuing on Pig Flat back to Marsh. This time we passed by the Lawndale turn and continued on Marsh past the Two Quarry junction down to Buick Meadow.

This took us to the another fine downhill run on South Burma, Richardson and North Burma. Unlike Lawndale, these trails were very rocky but this added to both the fun and the challenge. The grade on these trails was not particularly high, making it easier to maintain the proper speed to navigate these trails quickly while being sane. We headed up Live Oak which started with a pretty tough but thankfully short climb up a rocky trail but ended up a bit more reasonable. We used Rough Go to connect to the top of Spring Creek at Lake Ilsanjo, a pretty lake. By this point, a few people in the group were tuckered, so we decided to head down the easiest and most direct route. We headed down Spring Creek, another rocky descent, back to Canyon and the parking lot. I was disappointed to find the two women were gone and there was no cold beer to be found.

We had a lot of fun on these trails. There was less overall climbing than some of the local trails, but there were lots more rocks than any of the local trails including Rocky Ridge at Santa Teresa. These rocks made both ascents and descents much more challenging. The lakes and the marsh were also pleasant additions. It was great to ride entirely new trails (to us) in an area that is fairly different. Generally, the hikers, equestians and bikers were polite and considerate. Unfortunately, the only exceptions were at least two mountain bikers. The first scared some older hikers on Spring Creek with a high speed skid just in front of them and then continued on without a comment. We apologized for him, but the damage was already done. The second buzzed by Anna in the parking lot with a quick "On your left" just before he strafer her on the way to a drinking fountain about 15 yards further on. What an ass!

We needed a bite to eat after a day of riding. I found a reference to a BBQ place that seemed to be close by, but it was long gone and replace by something else. We followed Iphone directions from Don and Anna to several places that were closed (is Santa Rosa some kind of ancient European city where the shops close on Sunday afternoon??) or just "not right". Finally, Mike took charge and quickly took us to Superburger on Fourth Street. This tiny, oddly shaped restaurant on the corner is unchanged in many ways from when it opened in 1952. We sat at the counter and ordered burgers, fries and drinks. The burgers were very good and very filling, the waitress was cute, the cook was serene (according to Anna), and we all really liked the original worn styling. Joe Bob says "Check it out!"

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