Man, the things we do for our kids. I got up at around 7AM and loaded up all my gear in the truck while Will was still sound asleep in the tent. All of Will’s biking gear had been staged in the tent last night. I drove down to the bottom of the mountain at 6,400 feet and started a 6.5 mile pavement climb back up to the campsite at 8,200 feet. Will certainly has it in him to do this climb as he had tackled Palomar Mountain earlier in the year which encompassed 4,700-foot climb over 11.1 miles. I wanted this ride to be more about fun than fitness today so I cut out most of the climbing for him. The climb back to camp was not a steep one and I found it pretty easy to keep a pretty descent pace even with 2.6 Stick-E rubber tires. I thought about taking the McGill trail up but I wanted both Will and I to experience a “new” trail together. When I got back to camp, Will was already up and making himself some breakfast.
I had left a few things back at camp so I would not have to climb with them, mainly my camera. While I was getting that stuff in my camelbak, Will (who had already gotten geared up) commenced to start talking a little smack about Dad being a fiddle-fart. So, I set him up. I snippedly told him to “Go on ahead, you know I’m just going to catch you, even though I already climbed over six miles this morning”. Well that was all it took, Will took the bait. He casually said, “See you up the road” and pedaled off at a normal pace. I yelled at him as he rode off, “Don’t start off too fast or you’ll be sorry!” The hook was set. Just when he thought he was out of view (but not quite), I saw him drop the hammer. Nothing left to do now but reel him in a few minutes after the pace, grade and the thin air above 8,200 feet get done with him.
I finished up what I was doing and got rolling. After a couple of turns in the road and Will still being out of site, I was impressed. One turn later and I saw him, hunched over his handlebars on the side of the road. The voice of Phil Lidgett came through my head, “Oh my, the young rider has cracked! There will be no hopes for a mountain top win for him today.” Will got to rolling when I neared, but his pace was mighty slow and he complained of not feeling good. We took an extended break for him to recover and I could not help but get a devilish grin on my face, when I told him to come on and stop fiddle-farting. I wish I had my camera out to catch the look on his face when it dawned on him that he had fallen for a parental version of a Jedi Mindtrick.
After he recovered, we soon left the pavement to continue climbing on a fireroad up to the Mt Pinos summit at 8,830 feet. It was a fairly mellow climb and the views were pretty nice even with a bit of lingering haze from the NorCal wildfires.
From here it was a mostly downhill affair back to the top of the pavement where we hooked up with some pretty nice and mostly buff singletracks that included the Harvest and Southridge trails. These bits of goodness took us back by our camp and down to the McGill campground.
From the McGill campgroud, we picked up the amply named McGill trail which was an absolute heavenly bit of singletrack that worked its way down the mountain. The grade was never steep and it was virtually buff the entire distance. I rolled through hundreds of Kodiak moments and only captured a few.
This picture provides very little justice to the view.
Will had one of those moments of inattention that caused him to take a soil sample on a switchback. After the initial uggh following the thump, he chuckled and dusted himself. He then went back up the trail and nailed it the second time around.
The blissful descent was over far too quickly and we were soon back up at camp and packing up. Will has not learned much about repairing flats and other mechanicals yet so a solo descent down the McGill trail was not on the table. I did let him ride the road down. He thoroughly enjoyed the speed-fest coming down the mountain on the pavement. We spent the rest of the day getting home and chatting about what a cool week we just had. Once home it took all of about 15 minutes before Will was out the door to skate and hang with his friends and basically get back into his busy routine. I’m sure as the teenage years roll in and along the competition for his time will get tougher so I am really thankful to have the time with him now. ¦lt;/p>