August 8, 2010
After a great sleep in the Alaskan camper, James and I got a late start. We didn’t get up until about 8 am then we leisurely got ready for ride number two on the weekend. I had picked a short 16 mile ride with hopefully not much hike a bike to it.
It was nearly 11 am before we rolled out of camp. Today we started with a nice downhill road section so at least we were warmed up before we hit the first climb unlike yesterday. We scoped out camp spots along the river for next year so we’d be more centrally located.
The Johnson-Medra Trail started out buff and fairly wide. We passed a mother and son on their mountain bikes and very quickly the trail got narrow. We were following a creek up a valley and whenever we got next to the creek the ferns took over. I had to stop at one point to remove handfuls of ferns out of my cassette and derailleur. It only took 10 feet of climbing for the landscape to become less overgrown.
At mile 6.5 we started to climb in earnest and would for the next mile. It felt like much more than 1 mile because we pushed over half of it. The combination of tired legs, loose gravel, tight switch backs and steep grades forced us off our bikes every hundred yards or so. Luckily for us the scenery was beautiful and it kept us distracted to the task at hand.
Towards the top of the ridge we were able to ride most of the last bit. To celebrate our accomplishment of reaching the ridge we decide to have lunch in the sun. Mt. Stuart was peeking out from behind some clouds and all the while the sun was warming us. I was able to dry my gloves and my shirt some as we ate.
If we thought the ascent was tough the descent was even tougher. It’s one thing to have to push your bike uphill but downhill? That’s just wrong but it’s exactly what we had to do for most of the switch backs until we hit the tree line again. The combination of a poorly made tread, dirt bikes, water, and lack of maintenance had left this downhill in a sad state.
If I gave a section a try James would consider it but when I got off he didn’t even try. We only saw five people all day. Two were at one trail head and the other three were near the other trail head. While trying to navigate these technical switch backs we were in no mans land. Getting hurt was not an option. Knowing this is what makes rides like these exciting for me. There’s no room for error.
The next trail was much nicer, well for a bit. It started out a double track and soon it was filled with softball size rocks. I used so much energy and balance to keep upright it wasn’t even funny. I cleared the section with only one dab but man it was tiring. Probably more mentally than physically.
Trail 1393 which we had been on since leaving 1383 lead us to the junction of 1392.1, the De Roux Spur. This trail was the best of the weekend. Our final climb out of the valley we had been following was through a beautiful meadow. The best part the switch backs were all rideable if you had the energy left. Neither of us were able to clean the whole climb but next time….. This section was one of those you stop and just stare at the beauty around you wishing others could experience too but your happy you have it mostly to yourself.
Upon reaching our second ridge of the day we were rewarded with the descent we had hoped for the first time. De Roux Spur down to Boulder – De Roux Trail was full of flow and very fast compared to the other trails we rode most of the weekend. It was over before we knew it, leaving us wishing for more. It was only a few tenths back to the CG and we made the most of them. Knowing the trail somewhat from yesterday I opened things up. I enjoyed a fast but rough ride back to the trail head.
Due to the warmer weather the river was much more enjoyable today. After washing up it was time to pack and head home. It is safe to say both of us were thinking to next time as we packed up. De Roux had treated us very well.
Get out there!