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Aaron explodes out of the woods

Refurbishing the Wild Lilac

Jim and Eric had planned for a road ride. However, several hardcore mountain bikers appeared ready for a ride on this Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The plan quickly changed to a spontaneous trail maintenance ride down the Wild Lilac, finishing with a dash down the Oat.

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Truck disgorges a load of fun

Lucy was in town for a visit with the O-Boy, Morgan was in the area before his winter departure, Cirrus was off work and Aaron was available for this notable event. The six met and the shop and tried to convince Dr. J. that the therapeutic value of a ride would outweigh his responsibility to his work. Work won. The six packed into Jim’s truck and made the drive to RLS.

It was a new ride of Aaron and Morgan. This particular jaunt is one of the Fool’s favorites. It bypasses much of the Forbidden Ranch and ushers the riders into the back country behind the Palisades. The trail is know by only a handful of people. It is mostly traveled by mountain bikers with a few hikers leaving tracks each year. It is not officially in the park and there is no maintenance other than what the bikers perform. Several years ago, Auriah made a pass down the trail with a machete, clearing much of the way for many months.

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Dog happiness: Runnin' with the pack

However, several sections had grown over and the unrideable streambed needed some work. Jim and Eric had previously worked the worst section making it feasible if one could keep the magic line. On this day the six would transform the little known trail to a delightful and interesting ride.

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Azul sheppards Jim down the trail

Six riders rode up the hill, over the top and descended to the turn-off from the Table Rock trail. Shortly into the stealth trail, the clippers came out and relieved the narrow areas, making this park much more fun. After a short break at the pass, the six descended into the valley. Once off the top drop, the crew began a furious effort on the trail that would last for a couple of hours. When finished, nearly all of the tight spots along this scenic single track had been addressed.

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Trail crew hard at work

In addition to simple trail work, the free riders build a couple of kickers along the way. As if that weren’t enough, the crew found the energy and resources to make a log bridge across the giant redwood tree that has thwarted riding for all of the years that fat tires have transited the wild lilac. Now it is possible for a strong, skilled rider to clean the entire length of the trail. (with one exception near the pass).

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Cirrus shreds over the new bridge

Lucy kept the troops awake by jetting off the edge of the world at the big drop at the bottom. Outside of slightly tweaked ankle, she managed to regain enough composure to continue with the ride. The day was nearly perfect for mt. Bikin. The temperature was cool, the sky clear and the ground was perfect with recent light rain. The group stopped at Pocai for lunch, then jetted back to Calistoga with a scintillating run down the Oat. It was a great, spontaneous day that will bode well for those who know of this cool, secret trail in the hinterlands of the Maacama mountains near Calistoga.

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Don't try this at home!