The Bikin' Fools
A quick girl scout romp
The ride started out slow, gained momentum and finished with great pizzazz. It was a gray day, nearly ideal for biking. The temperature was in the high forties and the sun hid behind a thin layer of clouds. The air seemed thick with moisture but it would not rain.
The ride started out at the RLS parking lot. The trail dips nicely downhill for a couple hundred yards then joins the old, abandoned toll road. This tame downhill provides a nice warm-up for the ride. At the bottom of this two mile romp, the trail leads through the girl scout camp. From there the climb to the Oat Hill begins along Van Ness creek. It was here that both riders felt a little sluggish. Neither had been burning up the trails recently and the lack of much riding made itself known in the lethargic performance. The condition of the trail was nearly perfect. The ground was moist but not at all muddy.
So often it seems that one should be going faster. Yet the reality of the sport leaves one slightly slower than the mind would like. None-the-less, the two made good time up the road. Wildwood passed quickly, no stop was made at the tin cup and Auriah's by-pass soon carried the riders to the water crossing. It was here that Jim managed to dab in the water. He would have been better off simply walking through the stream. His wet, cold foot provided a distraction. He didn't notice the rest of his body.
The ride continued without break to the signpost, Pocai, Cougar pass, the wind cave and the Oat Hill all the way to the Holmes place. Still not stopping, the duo shredded the upper section of the mine road. This part of the ride gave Jim a chance to thoroughly check out his new Pscho front shock. The five inches of travel allowed Jim to float over the rough terrain much like a motorcycle. One has to be amazed at the technology of modern mt. bikes. It was at the view rock that the two finally stopped to take a break. It would have been another ten minutes to town, putting this ride in the category of a record dash across this route.
This ride was a classic example of how the mt. bike can change the mindset of the rider. The riders both started out in the doldrums. The early part of the ride was hard work and not much fun. The bodies resisted the effort and made the going tedious and uncomfortable. By the time the two reached the signpost, things had begun to change. The endorphins had kicked in and the body was fully warmed up and responding to the ride. The tunnel of terror and the short downhill before Pocai provided positive juju for the mind and body. By the time the two reached the Oat Hill, the ride had taken on a positive bent. Now the riders were experiencing an elevated sense of the world. The cross-country part of the ride was delightful. The challenges were flashed and the spectacular scenery was noted in quick glimpses. It was not the sort of day when one feels like stopping and soaking up the natural beauty. It was the going that provided the joy.
It may have been a record time had the two not stopped at the view rock. The transit to that point had been extremely quick. So quick that one had to be amazed at the bicycle's ability to stay together as huge bike abuse occurred time and time again on the very rough and challenging Oat Hill. The faster one goes, the more stabile the ride. However, the bike has to pay the price for soaking up all of the bumps.
As the two headed down from the rock, they had decided to take it easy. That lasted maybe a hundred yards. The shredding began again. There was more bike abuse as the two rocketed down the hill. Now the riding was easy and relaxed. This mode offers the best of all worlds. It took only a few minutes to process the rest of the ride. On the way down the two terrorized a few hikers. The high speeds and twisty nature of the Oat Hill provides little warning for those on the path. Although this situation is scary for the hikers (surprise factor), it isn't dangerous to anyone.
At the end of the ride, both felt exhilerated and high. There was a world of difference between the mindset before and after this event, even though it was somewhat routine and familiar. Jim's new technology performed better than expected. A debt of gratitude is owed to PMS. (Palisades Mountain Sport) for providing at reasonable cost, all of the components necessary to participate in the sport. Many local riders would not have the access without such a great bike shop.
The ride provided a brief respite from the rest of life. All of the problems, concerns and current political disaster faded into the background for this small window of time. It provided the riders with some fuel to maintain sanity in an othewise crazy world. For a couple of hours, the world shrunk down to the small parcel of land behind the Palisades. There, far from view, the two riders broke the surly bonds that keep the spirit from soaring. They felt the joy and awe that is available to beings who take the opportunity to exceed the normal bounds and dwell briefly in a glorious adventure.