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Coe MTBR Fall Circus 2008 - October 26, 2008

Distance: 18.91 miles Ascent: 2,202 ft, Moving time: 2:50 hours

We participated in the Coe MTBR Fall Circus today. I don't have a final count on the number of riders, but it was somewhere around 80 riders split into 5 groups. The A and B groups did different routes starting and finishing at the Hunting Hollow entrance while the C, C+ and D groups started at Headquarters and finished at Hunting Hollow. We were in the C group, so we had to leave one car a Hunting Hollow, driving up to Headquarters and then driving back up to Headquarters after the ride.

We got to Headquarters a bit early for the 11:00 start time. 11:00 came and went before the first other rider (Travis) showed up. Eventually, they all showed up and milled around for quite a while before we got started. This is typical for large group rides, but I am impatient.

Once we got going, it was a lot of fun. This was my first time on Flat Frog...it was a nice singletrack that is a lot of fun. It is a huge improvement over riding all the way on Hobbs Road... I don't think I will ever ride the first part of Hobbs again. At the end of Flat Frog you still have to climb a section of Hobbs to get to the Middle Ridge trailhead.

Middle Ridge was a lot of fun. Very surprisingly, there wasn't that much dust for the number of riders going down the trail, even through a few parts were steep and or loose. People bunch up at the steep hike-a-bike, but got spread out again. Everyone had a good time and stopped for a regroup, snack and some rest at the creek crossing.

Fortunately, we didn't have to climb up Poverty Flat Road this time. Instead, we took Creekside from Poverty Flat to China Hole. "Took" in intentional here since there were several sections that weren't ridable due to fact that part of the trail is in a creek bed that is filled with 6-24" inch rocks. Between the rocks and the other riders, going was tough. We decided it would be safer to walk this part rather than try to ride it since it was pretty dicey if you had to put your foot down. Another part of the trail was on a narrow shelf over the creek that was falling away. Even walking here was a bit dangerous. We made it and got to China Hole, but there was no water.

After a short re-group, we headed up China Hole Trail toward Mahoney Meadows. This was a pretty long climb but it was going OK until I got a calf cramp. After a minute of rest and stretching, I started going again but had to be a bit cautious about that muscle since I didn't want a serious cramp in the middle of nowhere. Shortly later, the right calf tried to go too. I made it to Mahoney Meadow were I ate a couple of electrolyte tablets and rested a bit.

We rode up Mahoney Meadows Road to Cross Canyon and then to Grapevine Trail. This was a fun downhill singletrack with plenty of twists and rocks to keep things interesting. We have done this trail before, but it is a lot of fun.

Due to my leg cramps, I decided to skip the optional loop up Anza. The others did not remember how much climbing was involved, so they went up Anza while I took the connector to Coit Road and then Gilroy Hot Springs Road back to Hunting Hollow. My right leg tried to cramp again, so my decision to avoid the additional climb seemed wise for me.

After the ride, everyone met up in the Hunting Hollow parking lot to share drinks and food. This was a lot of fun. Each of us brought something. For me, cold drinks and banana bread hit the spot.

The temperature was about 94 degrees. As is often the case at Coe, my mouth was dry pretty much the whole time. I was trying to drink plenty of water and ended up going through a full 3 liters on the trail. I had 3 "beverages" at Hunting Hollow and 2 and a half quarts of water when I got home. I must have been a bit more dehydrated than I thought. Maybe I'll pee tomorrow.

In spite of my whining about the start of the ride, this was a lot of fun. We had a good time riding with other people than just our little group. It was also fun to bring plenty of food and drink to enjoy right after the ride. I think we will be trying this again next year, assuming the painful hill climbing memories fade by then.

This ride was organized by BigLarry on MTBR. He did a great job coordinating the people, the transportation, and the Coe rangers.

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