I’ve been looking forward to thanksgiving this year for some time because we were going to head out west to visit Brendan and Mary. They just got some new digs in Idyllwild, Siren just got a new shop and we’ve been scheming on some big adventure in the mountains to the desert. The past few weeks have been a bit manic at school/work putting together our team proposal for the 2009 Solar Decathlon which is due next week. For some reason, I’ve been operating for the past few weeks on some sort of other calander and I swear someone decided to chop and entire week out of the month of November? All of the sudden, the thought of leaving town for a long weekend started to scare the pants off of me. Katie has been feeling the same way with her dissertation, teaching upper division courses and Voices. So we made the decision to stay put and stay home for Thanksgiving. Sorry Brendan and Mary, we love you guys and miss you. We owe you a trip up there.

Thanksgiving is always a good time for me because it marks my anniversary into mountain biking/cycling. That first thanksgiving day 9ish years ago, I put my bike in the truck drove down to Cedar Lake with no idea where I was going or what to expect. I remember pushing through the mud, wondering where in the world I was going and sitting by the lake. I still love to ride that singletrack even if it is only 3-4 miles rountrip. Back then it might as well have been 40. Between Cedar lake and the Kinkaid trails I learned how to ride a mountain bike. I learned what it was like to ride in mud and leaves. I learned about rock gardens and slippery moss. On that trail I learned about crashing hard and stitches. Because of those trails I met two people who are hear and dear to me forever. Together we rode trail built trail, paddled across the lake in a canoe in a lightning storm in the name of the trail, parted ways and now we share each others trails.

That first day 9ish years ago was a solo effort and while I love riding with other people, there is always a little extra drive in a ride when I am by myself. This day was no different. I headed out this morning with a lot of options in my mind but one thing was for sure, I had to give the new marriot trail a go. I don’t know the actual name of this thing but it showed up late summer/early fall and the thing punches my ticket every time. The trail was built for the resort as a trail, guests could not get lost on. Apparently, over the summer, lots of folks were getting lost out in TMP and had to ask random folks for a ride back to the hotel. This trail is listed and built as a hikers trail with no intent on it being a mountain bike trail. While some disagree with the logic, I am really excited because it is perhaps the most technical trail out in TMP. 11 hearty switchbacks, all demand 100% attention and a hefty skill set to get to the top. The decent starts off mellow and turns to chop in a hurry, not nearly as many switchbacks but littered full of good sized squarish rocks. If you loose momentum, it is all over. I’ve been working through the switchbacks and on a given ride can clean half of them on the way up. I came oh so close to cleaning one of the nasty S turns today, hopped through and around the first turn, two pedal strokes up to the next, hop, hop, turn, turn, everything was going well, pushed on the pedals to exit the S and the rear tire slips, sending me down. Thanks trail, maybe next time.

After heading back down went over to the stone house and on through the wash. Did some rooting around in a side wash and found another trail which benchcuts west above a wash. High potential for good riding and some views of peaks you can’t get from other trails. Back down into the wash and up Golden Gate with good climbing legs. I was quite happy to dab only once on that climb. Here I thought about going up further, searching out another phantom trail that shows up in aerial photos but decided to enjoy some know technical descending and some fast singletrack. Came around the mountain and entered back into TMP just east of the shooting range. Back through the wash and out, take the road home. 6 hours of riding time and I was ready for dinner.

more pics…

Kelly came over and the three of us made pies (apple, pumkin, and veggie pot pie), mashed potatoes, green beans and cranberries. We opened a bottle of wine leftover from the party and ate outside.

Good night!