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El Corte de Madera Creek - July 18, 2010

Distance: 10.0 miles Ascent: 2,049 feet Moving time: 1:28 hours

We went to El Corte de Madera Creek because Mike hadn't been there and we thought it might be a bit cooler. Don optimistically talked of perhaps needing sleeves since it might be cool there. Even though we got an early start (well, on time at least), it was still surprisingly warm and a bit humid when we got to the CM03 gate to start the ride. I was hoping for a great ride since we were the only cars parked at the gate. After everyone completed their pre-ride rituals, we headed out Sierra Morena and quickly came across two small groups riding the opposite way. This was a sign of things to come.

We dropped down El Corte de Madera Creek where we came across a group of about eight coming up as we approached the bridges. We made our way around each other, but it kind of interrupted the fast downhill flow of the trail. We continued on to find some hikers and some more bikers. Everyone was polite and accommodating, but it definitely felt more crowded than usual.

While regrouping at the North Leaf junction, Mike noticed a strange metallic noise as his rear wheel turned. We did a quick check of the usual suspects but found nothing. A closer inspection of the rear brake caliper revealed a broken retention spring. Mike removed the pads and spring, confirmed that the spring was toast, and re-installed the pads and we headed off on North Leaf.

We continued on to Methuselah and Giant Salamander. After crossing the creek on Giant Salamander, we started climbing up the steepish singletrack on the very steep hillside. I was leading and going uphill slowly and thinking that someone could be coming down. In just a moment, I heard a noise as I approached a blind curve. I yelled out and ducked into the hillside just as the lead rider of a group coming down the hill slid around the corner. One or two riders following the downhill leader ran into the back of him. Our bikes connected, but there was no rider injury, bike damage, or tumbles down the hillside. I think the nerves of all involved where the most shaken items. We made our way past them (on foot) and continued the ride. We still came across some other rider groups and hikers, but none of these encounters was as close.

We climbed Timberview and rode Crosscut and Crossover before climbing out on Gordon Mill. These sections were comparatively uneventful. This route seemed easier than some previous rides and several people commented that this was much easier than some of the other routes up from the bottom.

We stopped at Alice's to re-hydrate, re-fuel, and recount the ride. Everyone had a short but good ride!

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