It started off just as Ray and talked the previous night “If Sevada’s fork is fixed he’ll be there and east coast bad boy Luke will definitely be there”. As we assembled in the morning there they were, just as Ray called it!
We started off and I was wondering to myself what the heck did I get into! That is one steep ass mountain! Next I hear this wind howling against the mountain (trees) and that was more freaky stuff to remind me how high I was. At this point we have made the climb to the Upper Merril (I believe); Ray recommend we try the upper so we know what it’s all about. I’m thinking to myself I’m as high as the sky and he wants to go higher! Like all obedient students we follow the Sensei.
This trail was narrow, loose and cliff side; I started to make rookie mistakes of grabbing the bars a little too hard and being too cautious instead of flowing. The trail pulls whatever knowledge I have about riding and puts it down, telling me “what you got sucka”.
We started in on the middle Merril (I think) and I tell you this ride is breath taking! We got to this open area I believe around Inspiration point at there was a hillside drop, next thing I know Senor Luke launches off this thing like he’s running from the devil (see Gallery) into 6inches of just loose sand! I don’t know how he stood up after landing. As we started coming down toward Echo Mountain (I think) I started to get arm pump so bad that on one of compressions my arms just gave way and I went over the bars, I think that was my arms way of saying “Get off the bike you fat ass”! By this time we are all flowing and it couldn’t get any better and we came up to Echo House, once again our east coast bad boy Senor Luke tries a slick move to climb the stairs and pinch flats his rear tire, I don’t think he’ll be doing that again. As we departed Sevada finds that his Canadian bike has come down with Rocky Mountain spotted fever and needed a doctor. Luckily we had Dr. Herrera on hand! He actually had pivot bolt come undone on the crank side of the bike and it just started to hit the small chain ring. Dr. Herrera performed surgery on the spot! It would have made MacGyver proud since we did not have the right tools.
We are on our way at this point and I have to say the climb from there to Chaney trail had to be scariest, talk about cliff side! We get to this infamous Sunset trail! What a delight! Talk about needing switchback skills, I made it out alive! The second half of this trail that drops into Millard was as sweet as it gets (I think I ‘m beginning to understand Doug’s zeal when he talks of these trails).
Now the icing on the cake! Dr. Ray addresses us one more time that we will traveling the OG trail of El Prieto (I’m just happy to be on any part of El P). We start going down and as always I have problems with the first two right hand switchbacks. We get to this point where you drop and make a left hand switchback and there is this humongous cactus (you know which one) and me being Mr. Cactus boy somehow manages to hit it with my helmet! Talk about chills! We get down the rest of trail in one piece and all smiles!
When we got to parking lot, it literally felt like I just woke up!
This ride was another reminder why I signed up for this club, that Chilao ride on Labor Day was just as kick ass!
I just want to take a moment and thank you Ray for the awesome ride down from Wilson.
p.s. We need to do again before winter. As a matter of fact we need to get a group together to do Big Bear in October.