Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Palm Desert Day 3

The guide books say that Palm Desert has the best mountain biking in So Cal. If you would have asked me if I agreed with this statement on day 1, I would have spit in your face and laughed.

Ask me after day 2 and I might have agreed. But if you asked me after day 3, I would have given you a "Hell Yeah".

Day 3 started out with Jamie and I making a quick trip to the local Kinko's to print out a full 11 page description of the trail complete with color photos (which actually came in handy because the first trail sign we came to was laying on the ground and had 2 arrows pointing in different directions. We actually found the picture of that sign on the print out and figured out which way it should be facing). We also printed 2 pages of topo maps with GPS coordinates. As we drove to the Kinko's in our golf cart, we let a local mountain biker draft off us as we picked his brain about the trail we were about to ride. I remember him saying...."it's probably not a good idea to go up there without a local showing the route. It's easy to get lost". Gulp.... Great, I thought. Better find a way to carry a 3rd water bottle this time.
We ignored the local's advice and decided to ride the trail anyway without bringing a local. My memory is already starting to fade but I think the trail we rode on day 3 was called "Palm Canyon". It was described as mostly single track that rolled along about 30 miles and dropped us into Cathedral City. We asked Jill (Tony's wife) to drive us about 20 miles up highway 74 and drop us off at the top of the trail head. I'm normally against any kind of shuttling but the route was described as having a lot of downhill with about 2,000 ft of climbing. So it wasn't like we were getting off easy.

Immeditaley, we found the trail and started to realize what a great day this was going to be.

This trail had it all. Tight single track, switchbacks, river crossings, technical rock sections, and amazing views. The trail was fast and not knowing what was around the next corner made it totally exciting. But the best part of this ride was when we saw the only other mountain bikers of the day. They were on freeride bikes and one guy was missing half his front teeth. We stopped and talked for a minute and realized one of the guys was the same guy we saw in the bike shop on Day 1. He was trying to get us to hire him as a tour guide for the weekend and kept mentioning something about him being a "Freeride Champion" and a pretty big deal over in Germany. We ignored him and figured that was the last we would see of him.
When he saw us on the trail, he looked down at the single speeds and said "Dude, you guys are hardcore. Look at you....all in shape and everything".
The trail eventually dropped us into a wash and turned into a 3 mile sandy climb. It was like riding on the beach but uphill. It was hard because you had go fast enough to keep the momentum in the sand. If you stopped, it was hard to start back up again. Head down and legs burning, we made it up the climb and back onto the Dunn Jeep road. I knew what was ahead. The Hahn Trail. I pulled up along side Jamie and made sure he knew it was a race to the top of the jeep road. I'm pretty sure I'm 1 for 50 against Jamie when it comes to a sprint finish to the top of a climb. I think we have about the same gearing on our SS but for some reason, he can generate twice the speeed.

After 3 days of desert riding, I was amazed that none of us had a flat yet. The trails were lined with cactus and thorns. We were all riding tubless with Stans which was the right way to go. We tried not to talk about it but eventually it happened. With about 7 miles to go, Jamie flated, then Jon, then Jamie again. Between the 4 of us, we had enough tubes and CO2 to fix the flats and make it home to the wives. Just in time for diner and a movie.

Special thanks to Tony and Jill for the invite. Good times!


Anonymous said...

The pleasure was all ours. Now how can we swing another trip down there again this year before it gets too hot?

KanyonKris said...

Good times indeed! And a good write-up.

tibiker said...

Not sure the wives would be down with another trip but I'm sure the guys would jump at the chance.
Thanks Rick for a great trip down memory lane.

Jill said...

This wife forgot to tell TP that she already has a few more trips planned to paradise this year. Don't worry, I'll leave some frozen pizzas in the freezer.

Anonymous said...

Ricky - Nice write up. It was almost as fun to read about it as it was to ride it! Thanks Parkinsons what a great weekend.