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Canada del Oro Night Ride - October 30, 2009

Distance: 10.22 miles Ascent: 2302 feet Moving time: 1:37 hours

They announced the last Canada del Oro night ride for 2009, so I had to go. Unfortunately, most of my regular crew couldn't make it and one had to cut his ride short, so I ended up riding most of the way myself. It was a beautiful night with nearly a full moon, so we started the ride with the lights off until we got to the point were the trees blocked too much of the light to see the descents. This was a lot of fun and made it a bit more interesting, but there is certainly a place for lights in the dark sections.

To add a new challenge, I decided to try going up Catamount. I don't usually ride Catamount because it is steep and not really that fun coming down when compared to the alternatives, so I think this might have been the first time going up Catamount. Trying to do it in the dark added quite a bit of challenge as I was using just my small LED light which didn't allow me to see very far up the hill. I did not have any sense of what was coming and a few of the tight turn with water ruts were made more difficult with the handlebar-mounted light. I made it (a few minor dabs), but it was steep. I only saw two other riders on Catamount, and they were riding down.

I rode the length of Bald Peak and made it up to the summit where one guy was relaxing and we were soon joined by two others. After a short chat, I turned on my big light and headed down. It was such a nice night that I did not bother to put on my jacket and just stayed in shorts and a short-sleeve jersey for the whole ride. The descent on Longwall was fun, the climb up Mayfair was short and the descent on Mayfair was a blast. The coldest part of the ride was the blast of cold air as I returned to the parking lot.

I had a nice chat in the parking lot with 3 other riders. I was amazed that they had come from as far away as Martinez to do this ride. I shared some brownies with them and with the rangers, we had a beer or two over funny stories and then it was time to head back. The early start (end of daylight savings time) meant I got home a lot earlier than the summer rides.

I am going to miss not having any more of these rides this year. I hope the spring rides start soon!

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