Monday, April 14, 2008

Daley Ranch (through new eyes)

As the second day to our unusually unscheduled weekend, we decided to do a nice Sunday spin with the Manns at Daley Ranch. And we brought along a guest, an XC racer from Texas named Lisa. She helped me see this riding spot through new eyes.

Lisa got hooked up with us through our LBS. Our mechanic said she was in town for work and looking to go out for a decent ride. We immediately made plans to pick her up from her hotel and bring her with us. Right away, I could tell she was super nice and a very good rider.

We met up with Allison and Justin by 8:30, and it was already getting very warm. Knowing they had just done a long road ride yesterday and that Lisa's home turf (Houston) is pretty flat, we decided to keep the pace pretty casual.

From the first climb, she was so impressed with the scenery and wow, did we ever come up here on the most perfect day! The air was so clear that we could see Point Loma and the islands off Baja! The greenery was so vivid, the flowers were pretty, ponds were everywhere, and the mountains looked gorgeous.

I thought "wow, I really underestimated this place the last time I rode here." So, cheers to Lisa for making me pay attention to the beauty that is in our backyard. She said that she must drive 2-3 hours out of Houston to get any trails really worth riding on. I immediately felt very lucky.

I'm not sure of the fire-road names but we basically completed the huge loop around Daley. We threw in some singletrack (Burnt Mountain, Bobcat, and a few other) and had some good climbs and fun downhills. I brought the Niner out again and had a blast. On some of the sketchy dh (i.e. Crest trail), it handled remarkably well and was very, very solid.

We rode along at a nice pace, not too fast or slow. I felt really good today and did most of my climbing in middle. We stopped briefly at the Ranch House to rest and water up.

At Cardiac, we all gave it our best try. Justin and Dan cleaned it easily and all three of us gals, though we each dabbed, made it up the rest of the way.

On the climb where we had the infamous Sladnas ride climb-a-thon, I managed to clean it again. It seemed a lot easier this time around...maybe less loose stuff to get in the way...maybe the bigger tires...maybe stronger legs?

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...we had a great time (and for once in a long while, the gals outnumbered the guys-though I'm sure they didn't mind that!).

On the very last downhill before the pavement, you know...the sketchy very steep one...I was pretty skeptical about taking the Niner down it. I was actually a bit nervous. We got to it, and I rolled up on it, scoped my line and just went. The bike did great! It was really solid and I never felt sketchy. We all made it down in one piece.

We were done by 11:30 or so. The stats came out to about 14.5 miles and 2400 feet of climbing.

Lunch was one highlight of the day...Chipotle. We even got VIP parking. It was awesome to spend a relaxing day with friends and seeing the familiar through new eyes.


On another note, I did the whole Intermediate Yoga DVD yesterday for the first time...1 hr and 20 minutes. Wow, I felt pretty worked at the end, but it was definitely a good "worked". Will try to continue to shoot for once a week with that workout.

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