The thermometer in my truck read 89 degrees when I pulled into the Anderson Truck Trail parking area yesterday afternoon. It was my first return to Anderson Truck Trail in a long time (October of last year). I should have known better. I forget how many times I have been out here in the heat and just gotten pummeled by it. As least I would not be alone. Almost everytime I have done something idiotic out here it has been with Steve. Steve has a way of bringing out people’s inner idiot. (For some, it’s not so inner) Steve is an Idiotic Whisperer if you will.
We both knew it was going to be a brain boil on the climb as we had both done the climb in even hotter weather. What we both needed was “I’m with Stupid” jerseys. Steve further added some beatdown potential to his ride by bringing out his custom Wolfhound singlespeed. This bike is a thing of beauty build to Steve’s exacting specs. The climb was indeed a brain boil as expected. There are a couple segments of the climb that are known to have “Dead Air” where the afternoon sun hits you from the left while heat is radiated from the rocks on your right and there is no breeze to move the air around. It is like you are in a brick oven and your head is the pizza. That was not a surprise as we knew it was coming. What was surprising was how the lines had changed over winter. In the past I knew all the turns and bumps like the back of my hand and basically had the descent wired. That was not the case now as the lines changed enough that I would have to recourt this mistress on the descent. I tried to make as many mental notes as possible of the new conditions.
I came into the day thinking about hitting a jump I had not pulled the trigger on before, the Halloween Drop. Throughout the climb I was visualizing my takeoff and landing. Short of any last minute mental flatters, it was going to happen today. Despite the heat, we climbed fairly well. It was not my fastest climb by a longshot but I have lagged much more in the past. I was mentally prepared for the Halloween Drop by the time we took a break at the top. Before long it was time to turn the bike’s downhill. Some new lines had sprung up since my last visit that I was up for trying.
A little bit of rock wall ride.
Steve navigating the Wolfhound onto the rocks
Part II of the new section was a gnarly bit of rocks. Steeper than it looks and a bit tricky even on the full suspension rig.
Steve did some good rock surgery on the Wolfhound
Steve on “The Diving Board” letting the dog fly
I had not even thought about doing the Diving Board. I have done this a bunch of times in the past. My thoughts had been on the Halloween Drop. I passed on the jump but later while grabbing the shot of Steve doing the jump, he went into went Idiot Whisperer mode and the next thing I know I’m doing the jump. I did not stick the landing. I was way too overconfident and as far as I can tell I had my weight too far back on the landing which allowed the front wheel to slip out on the off-camber landing and I did a nice little thump and slide on the hardpacked decomposed granite. Ouch! I had managed to exfolilate a nice patch of skin my left thigh and whack the meaty part of my right palm. I always find it interesting how you can take the top layer of skin off of your body and the clothes between you and the ground remains intact. These were pretty minor in the scheme of things but it was still somewhat painful. (Glad I had protection on my other bits.) Anderson can be a finicky bitch who does not take kindly to you staying away too long and courting too many other ladies. She gave me a nice little bitch slapping.
So my little spill messed with my mental game enough that I decided to keep the tires on the ground. Anderson has plenty of on-the-ground technical goodness so I was still not getting off easy and I hit all the rest of my usual stuff.
The Flying Dog – aka Wolfhound
I was not the only one who had been visualizing a Halloween Drop launch, Steve had been mentally stewing over this with the Wolfhound. Steve said this was not going to be a multiple run in thing. One run in only, the trigger was going to be pulled or the anchor was going to be thrown out. Steve pulled the trigger, landed like a cat and yelled and giggled for the next five minutes. We are pretty sure this is the first time someone has hit this on a hardtail.
A different angle of the 911 roll. I was digging the moon rising.
On our way over to the final descent, to add insult to injury, some kind of flying insect went into my mouth and as I was spitting it out the thing bit/stung me on my lip. It was not as full on painful as a regular bee sting but my lip immediately was tingling and I felt some puffing up starting. Yes Anderson can be a finicky bitch that does not take kindly to being ignored for months and then thinking you can just show back up and make lots of heat in the sheets.
For the final descent I had learned my lesson, court the lady, stoke her through curves and let her tell me how fast you can go. It was a blissful descent with lots of newness from all the changed lines. The tradional post-ride burritos followed. I’m sure I will have some interesting technicolor body artwork develop off the next few days but it was not a bad Wednesday at all.