Thursday, July 28, 2011

trip to Tsali

I probably should have broken my last post up into 2 or 3 but I honestly didn't think I would write that much. The more I wrote the more the details started coming back to me. I hope it wasn't too boring and full of a bunch of grammatical errors. Usually Melinda will let me know if there is and will make me fix them.

Last weekend we took a short camping trip down to Tsali for a bit of singletrack action with our local mtn bike club. About half of the group made a weekend out of it camping at Tumbling Waters Campground and the other half drove down for the day on Saturday.

We usually opt for the Tsali campground which is located right at the trailhead but the last time we were there it seemed that the campground was in need of some maintenance. The bath houses were in bad shape as were the campsites and it was difficult to drive through the place with out dragging roof mounted bikes through the low hanging trees. Since we've had such a hot summer we decided to stay at Tumbling Waters for a little something different, that and the full hookups in each site for only a couple of dollars more. We've stayed there once before but it's been a while and back then we were still tent camping as were most of the rest of the crowd that weekend. This last weekend the place was packed full with large campers. They squeezed us and our little 16 foot ECO in between two, 25+ footers. The campsites were alot smaller than we are used to, putting our neighbors sewer hookup right next to our picnic table.

The close proximity was really my only complaint, Tumbling Waters and it's owners are great. The campground and bathrooms are clean, shaded and there is a nice stream running along one side of the campground. We really weren't bothered by our neighbors noise with the sound of the stream just a few feet from our site. Another nice thing about Tumbling Waters is that the owners cook breakfast Sat and Sunday morning free of charge for their guests. I would definitely go back but I might request a different spot, I could give up the stream for a little more room especially with two large dogs laying around.

Saturday after breakfast we loaded up the bikes and drove over to the trailhead and met up with the rest of the group who were day tripping it. We opted for Mouse Branch and Thompson Loop since the right and left are usually what we ride when racing there. The trails seem to be in a little bit better shape since the formation of a local SORBA club.

The ride was a nice casual pace for the most of the day and everyone seemed to be enjoying the trails and just having fun. I can't remember what sparked it, probably me, but a little smack talk started up towards the end of Thompson Loop. Before I knew it someone said something about a race to the end, probably Mr Dillow and of course I obliged. We cruised along for a bit until someone said go and we were off. Of course the prize for the winner, a cold beer paid for by the loser at lunch. Things started off kinda slow at first, I'm not sure if everyone as taking it too seriously until Andy stood up and stomped on the pedals leaving us all in the dust. That right there sparked a full on race and it wasn't long before Abby joined in on the trash talking. As we tried to chase Andy down Abby pulled ahead really digging deep as we flew along the singletrack. I jumped on her rear tire wondering how long she could keep her pace knowing the trail was getting ready to point up hill. I decided to wait and see before I made a move not wanting to waste all of my energy on the climb. I was aboard the JET which isn't an awesome climber but I knew we had a nice, long and rough downhill at the end. That's where I hoped to catch Andy. As we turned a corner and the hill revealed itself I guess Abby wasn't expecting it and she blew up allowing me to get by her with only Andy to chase down. By then he had put a sizable gap on us and I had a feeling it would be hard to reel him in.

The cool thing about the JET, especially after the recent upgrades is it has really boosted my confidence on the downhills, something I really needed. I really opened it up once the trail pointed downhill and tried my best to catch Andy. I made up alot of ground on him and reeled him him pretty close but ran out of trail and took 2nd. They always say races are won on the climbs and I'd say that's true. That's why the JET is my fun bike and the AIR9 is for racing, what little I do. Lately the JET has become my go to bike, I've had a ton of fun riding it.

Since I've already written more than I thought I would I'll stop for now so not to bore anyone to death and save the rest for later.

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