Goat Camp Goodness Goes Bad

Sunday was a climb up into the White Tank Mountains west of Phoenix.  This area was incredibly awesome with the vibrant colors of spring going off.  The trails of the White Tanks are extremely diverse.  We did a loop that included some burly climbing on the Mesquite Canyon trail before things mellowed out to mostly smooth benchcut singletrack interspresed with technical bits.  There were some impressive views along this trail.  From the Mesquite Trail we connected to the Willow Trail and enjoyed some more springtime desert goodness.   From the Willow Trail we connected to the Ford Canyon Trail which had us busting out a switchbacking climb up to the junction of the Goat Camp Trail.

Greg on Buttery Smooth Singletrack

The Goat Camp Trail had been on my to-do list for a long while as people who are much better riders than me have all said it is one of the gnarliest trails they have ever been on.    The trail did not disappoint.  It starts off really scenic and pretty as you work your way over a couple of ridges before coming to the final descent.

This is where things get incredibly technical.  The opening descent is a steep loose monster that is quite shaly with big chunk a plenty.   Our guide and all-around awesome guy for the day, Greg, described it best when he said “If you touch your front brake just a little too much, the earth opens up and swallows your front wheel”.    The middle section gets more firm undertneath you but the trail is just impressively rugged.   It is hard to put a pucker factor on this section.  It is more like a continual state of colon lockdown.

Kevin at the top of the Staircase

There is a really tricky feature known as the Spiral Staircase.   There is a bit of a chunk gate to get into the feature followed by steep left handed roll down into a really tight righthander that exits into either a spine roll or a chunky set of stairsteps.  JD impressively flashed the entire thing after a quite look see of the line options.  I kept having problems at the bottom as I could not get through the bottom right hander smooth enough to get onto the spine roll.

Below the Spiral Staircase is another just mean section known as “Jack Hammer”.    It was somewhere along this section that I blew a move and went off the bike and unfortnately smacked into a sharp-edged rock with my face.   OUCH!!!!! I knew it was bad as soon as it happened as I could feel the left side of my face move in the “wrong” direction and then go numb.   Behind me was Kevin and when he gave the question we all get asked sooner or later “Are You Okay”, I had to respond with “No, I’m hurt bad”.

Here a Carnage Shot (WARNING: It is quite icky …)

Like myself, Kevin has been offically trained on Wilderness First Aid and he did a great job sizing up the situation and getting all the supplies out and starting the work of patching my lower and upper lips back together with some steri-strip wound closures.   I know the poker face and measured repsonses  medics are trained to give in situations like this and I knew Kevin was concerned.  I’m sure some of you are already thinking “Did he film that?”  Yes, I was filming when it happened.  It is mighty hard to see you own face so I used the camcorder with the screen flipped so I could see the damage myself.  It was not pretty at all.   After getting patched up, Kevin and I walked down the rest of the trail.  It was not too far before we JD and Greg where waiting for us.   I could see the concern in thier eyes as well.

Kevin Patching me Up

We had some gear spread amongs a couple of cars, so JD and Greg went on ahead to get everything setup for my exit.   I walked some more until the trail got pretty tame in comparision to the rest the trail.   I made a point of going very gingerly as I did not want to elevate my heart anymore than needed.    On the way back we came across a few hikers who gave some quite truthful responses like “Holy S#$T” and Oh My F#$king God!

Once off the trail, I got my chamois off as I knew I would otherwise have it on for a long and end up with a bad case of monkeybutt.    JD got me to the ER straight away.   This was the first time I had the term “Though and Through” used outside of a CSI show on TV.   Both the upper and lower lips where lacerated in that manner with the lower getting the worst of it.    I walked out of the ER four hours after arriving with 19 stitches (some inside and some out) and a hankering for a smoothie!

Jerry thankfully had taken a catnap while waiting for me and he drove back to Orange County so I would only have to deal with about an hour of driving from the OC down to North County San Diego.  It was way freaking late when I got home.  Even though the Novacaine of long since worn off, a good portion of my face was disturbingly still numb.

After some stitchwork

It has been a few days since the crash.  I had thought about posting earlier about this but was just not feeling up to it.  The good news is that I can tell the nerves are starting to heal and the feeling is starting to come back into most of the area.  The bad news is ……The feeling is coming back into the area!   The inside of the left side of my mouth feels like a have a cold sore the size of a quarter and few of the bits of spare change.

I’m already shopping for a full-face helmet for my technical trail excursions. :-)

-Bill

More SoMo Fun

What a great day we had on South Mountain today.   We started at the Pima Canyon trailhead and climbed the Mormon Loop to National and took that up to the Buena Vista trailhead.  There was plenty of green on the mountain.

Catcus Flower 

 From there we took the Geronimo trail down off the mountain.   What an awesome bit of technical singletrack that sees far less traffic than National.  We then did a quick bit of street riding over to the Mormon and started a very technical and brutal climb back up the mountain.  It was an excellent series of slogging, sessioning, and bike-a-biking.   From there we took National back down to the Pima Canyon.  

Greg

After some quick showers we were off for some Italian food and libations.   Good Stuff !   

-Bill

Opening Day in AZ

So I was up O-dark:30 this morning on my way to hookup with Jerry for a burn out to Phoenix.   By 1PM we had made I-10 rip and were hooking up with Kevin and Greg for a quick fternoon jaunt on South Mountain.   I’m in the middle of enjoying evening barley wine so just a couple of words and pics. 

 SoMo

 Upper National

Greg

 Greg on Upper National

Garage

My kind of Garage

More to Follow….

-Bill

Hole In The Ground – Truckee CA

Okay in keeping with my current trend of taking nearly half a year to get a video out here is the video of the “Hole In The Ground” trail near Truckee in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California.    The music might be a little cheeseball but I dig both the tune and the lyrics and it just seems to match the flow of the trail that day.  This group also has a special place in my heart.  On New Years Eve 1988 (Maybe 89), I went to a concert at the San Diego Sports Arena where I saw a group called the “Love Tractor” open up for “The Red Hot Chilli Peppers” who in turn opened up for these guys.  Great freaking show.

Hole in the Ground

Nostalgia aside,   Right Click on the image to download the 115MB video that runs 8 minutes and 25 seconds long.   You may also want to read up about my Summer Roadtrip in Norcal.

-Bill

Wilder Ranch Video

Okay it is raining in Southern California and off the bike for a little bit so I might as well finish up on some projects that have been languishing on the hard drive for a while. 

Heath at Wilder Ranch in July 2007

 Wilder Ranch in Santa Cruz is a really pictureque and fun place to ride, but hard to capture on video properly.   Much like the Demo Forest video, the light was harsh on the day I shot this footage back in July of 2007.   The sunny stuff came out good, but the shady areas like the Enchanted Forest Loop, turned out poor overall so you will not see too much of that in the vid. 

Right Click to Download the 61MB video that runs 4 minutest and 29 seconds  (WMV format)

Soquel Demonstration Forest Video

Demo 2007 Video

So I finally got around to putting together the video from the Soquel Demonstration Forest near Santa Cruz that I got to enjoy on my Norcal Summer Roadtrip this year.   The lighting was quite harsh on the day of this ride so a good bit of this footage not ideal.    I almost decided not to make the video at all, but what the heck there was enough for a shorter video.    This was my second time there and I still did not manage to get on the Braille or Tractor trail.   I’m riding those no matter what next time.   The video is 4 minutes and 34 second long and is 58MB in size.  Right Click on the image below to download.

-Bill