Wednesday, June 2, 2010
fresh tracks, long hard loop redux
Waay back in '07, when I first started exploring the fun combination of a new to me bike mapping site, www.bikely.com, combined with a GPS I already owned but didn't use much, Greg, Matt Thom and I tried a loop that looked possible on a map, but in reality was not a through road. The road we were on ended at a house. We then continued along a trail, over a stream, (see above) in an attempt to follow the trace I had drawn and ended up in the backyard of another person, who thankfully wasn't home, and then back out out to the road (Denholm if you're curious) and on up to Paugan Rd., our destination.
I learned then to always confirm maps with satellite pictures if you are not sure. That way you don't lead three friends on a wild goose chase, 60 km away from home on very deserted and remote dirt roads.
So I keep looking for ways to loop this route, and finally found something with potential. The road was not on maps, but was in the pictures. Just because you could see the road is no guarantee that one can take the road. It could just be a gated driveway or any of a number of other unpassable things.
So, with slight trepidation, I left with three companions again, strangely none of the original group were able to join us...
I made it clear to all involved, Jamie, Chris and Steve (aka The Colonel), that I had no idea if this would work, and it could lead to the mother of all backtracks.
Long story short it turns out actual pictures of the area are much more reliable than maps.
The road I spied coming off of Paugan was indeed a passable, not gated road. Albeit a narrow one lane one, but a road nonetheless. What I was unable to see from the satellite picture was the fact that the new road we were going to follow would be the hardest dirt road I have ridden around here. Three 20% plus climbs, including two 22% monsters in succession left all but one walking. Oh and super loose.
The walls were truly awe inspiring. Coming off the first climb, which I baaarely made, onto a short flatish section, I slowly raised my head off the stem (that i had been biting) glad to have made it up without spinning out, and saw the next up. It was so steep as to be almost comical (almost).
But in the end we were able to find a new loop, and ride some awesome roads. These roads are too steep and isolated to include in one of our events, but are perfect for a five (or more) person squad.
map here http://bikeroutetoaster.com/Course.aspx?course=138449
Steve has some pics I think, so as soon as he stops moving I'll get him to send em on.