Bill: Forgive me father for I have sinned. I has been over 3 months since I last rode my bike on any routine basis.
Father: Jesus! <Skies opens, bright light, booming voice…>
Jesus: What you say?
Father: No, No, No, I didn’t mean you. You know, it was the figure of speech thing.
Jesus: Will you please stop doing that crap! How do you expect me to listen up for you if you keep hanking my chain? This ain’t exactly an easy job I got here buddy. Keep it up and I will fire and brimstone your ass into the next eternity!
Father: Sorry about that, I’ll work on it.
Jesus: Yeah, you do that. <Skies close>
Father: Sorry about that my son. So three months off the dirt. What have you been doing?
Bill: Father, I let myself become consumed with my work so between my work and my family the biking fell to the wayside. I got out shape and gained more weight than I would care to mention and generally lost some of my passion for riding. I also drank lots of really good beer that I had not justly earned .
Father: What exactly do you mean by good beer? Be careful how you answer my son.
Bill: Oh, lots of Stone, Pacfic Northwest microbrews as well as some good east coast brews.
Father: East Coast you say, have you ever had any of the stuff from the Victory Brewing Company.
Bill: Oh My God Yes! (flinched while hoping the sky did not open up), Thier Wild Devil Ale is simply amazing!
Father: Je……(Stops mid-word, while looking skyward), Man that is some great stuff, Hate the name but love the complex flavor.
Father: So anyway my son, balance is very important in everyone’s life. Without balance, things are just not right. Take you for example, even through the fine mesh and dark shadows of this box, I can see you have turned into quite the unbalanced lard ass.
Bill:Jes….<Once again a skyward flinch occurs>, come on father try not to sugar coat it for me.
Father: My son, there is many paths that could be followed, but you must go into the San Jacinto Mountains. There you will not only atone for your sins, but you may refind the passion you have lost.
Bill: I will go my father.
Father: Oh and don’t pass on the Southridge and Snakeskin trails, those are some bitchin bits of singletrack! Now get outta here!
So bright and early on Sunday morning I went out to Idyllwild for a bit of riding with Bill O’Neil. I knew I was going to suck, but there are far worse places to suck at than Idyllwild. We did do the semi-slacker thing and left a vechicle down near Hurkey Creek and then drove up into Idyllwild to start the day with a run down the South Ridge Trail.
There was still some snow up top which was quite a treat. Just enough to look pretty. Right out the gate I knew this was going to be a pretty cool day as the conditions were as good as I have ever seen it here. Just the right amount of moisture in the trail to create that magical balance of traction and speed. Good Stuff.
We did not drop much elevation before the snow patches were gone and we were left with the sweet flowy goodness that I have long loved in this area. Oh yeah I did suck. I was huffing and puffing on all but the slightest of climbs.
The springtime action is in full effect in many places around here. After tooling around in the May Valley area when took the Missing Link trail down towards the race course. After Missing Link we decided that it we needed some more May Valley action so we took the most direct way back up into the area. We climbed Exfoliator. Now I have descended this trail dozens of time and it is an absolute blast…going down. Climbing this trail is a much different story. I was pretty freaking disgusted with what a wussy I had become during my layoff. One more climb up the fireroad and I would be return to turn mostly downhill back to Hurkey Creek.
Shortly after the climb we ran into some of the natives who were up for showing off some of the bits have not gotten on yet. I am always amazed at the high quality trails that “grow” out here. We were not disappointed but the additional singletrack goodness left me completely cooked and fighting off the early warning signs of cramps.
When it was time to head for the beer cooler, Exfoliator was indeed more more fun in the proper direction. The last hill to climb to get up to the top of “Rage in the Sage” proved to me my own little hell as I was cramping badly at this point and was lagging behind the other pretty bad. After that it was all downhill gravy and it was soon time to enjoy some properly earned brews. My legs hurt but I feel that fire in my belly again for mountain biking. Time to go get back in shape.