Monday, December 17, 2007
Criss Cross'll make ya...
I found out how small Aliso Woods is yesterday when I tried to mountain bike for an entire 2 hrs at high speed. Entering from the Mormon church entrance on the Aliso Viejo side I got a little warm-up before hitting Mathis and climbing up it to the Top of the World (Laguna entrance). From there I bombed down the ridgeline fireroad and down Rockit, which turns out to be pretty bone-jarring the first time you've ridden it on a hardtail in months! Glancing at my new SigmaSport Onyx watch (sponsor plug) I noted that I had only burned up 40 minutes and would definitely need to rethink the remainder of my planned route!
Sooo, what's the longest closest climb I could come up with? Well, back up Rockit, of course! Five minutes later as I turned the corner to the trail's namesake battery of babyheads, I tried not to smirk as a family-type group of five and a few others making their was down looked at me in amazement: Who goes UP Rockit? Nut-jobs like me, that's who!
Back at the top I stopped for a drink of agua but had to jump back on the pedals when a 40-something couple started down the trail. NOT that I'm prejudiced, but they just didn't look like they were in the same forties that "The Hurt" is. I couldn't tell if he was trying or not, but I was already putting time on him before the singletrack. My second time down the trail right in a row difinitely gave me an advantage, and even though he had full suspension I never heard from him, even when I had to slow down for my second painful trip down Babyhead Boulevard. Trying to keep my bones from shaking loose, I was impressed to see two guys making their way up. Were these guys complete nut-jobs? I hope so, I need the company!
Back at the bottom once again, my hands and feet aching, I focused on getting back up to speed heading out Coyote Run. As I crested a little rise, a little boy (7?) riding the other direction asked his dad behind him "What do I do Daddy?" I had already pulled over so he told him to keep going. The dad was also towing his daughter in a trailer behind him. Sweeet!
Out off of Coyote and onto Wood Canyon fireroad I quickly arrived at Cholla. Left right left right...etc etc...switchback madness. Back onto the West Ridge fireroad and aaaaaaaaall the way back to the Top o the World.
A quick look at the sun about to plunge into the ocean and I shot past the picnic tables and onto the pavement on my way to Meadows. Once "The Muther Of All Climbs" when it was an almost straight line, it has now been castrated with switchback upon switchback and though it's still a good climb it's now suitable for descending as well.
Back onto the valley floor and I still have 15 minutes to kill! I speed up the canyon to the bottom of Mathis and hook a left onto the (relatively) new Dripping Cave Loop. A nice bit of singletrack with a mix of ups n downs and a lot of sandstone. The recent rains have made the foliage super moist and green, and the trail between the rocks is fantastically tacky. It's not a long enough, though, so I race back around and do it again!
Back out to the canyon fireroad I swing right and begin the cruise back to the truck. 5:00 and the sun has been down for 15 minutes and I just beat the last pinch of light as I roll onto the pavement.
Even though I almost quadrupled back on myself, it was still a fun ride. :)
For something seriously wild, check out the following site I found that has a history of the park, and a trail map and photos that are probably 10 YEARS OLD! (Before thousands of identical stucco houses and a toll road were built on two sides of the park) Wacky stuff!