Joshua Tree, to The California Club to the Project Rwanda Ride to Sedona – time to breathe! The past few weekends have been action packed with good trails and good people and just fun times. I’m living life and loving it!
Unfortunately, I’ve been too busy having fun to even write about it.
A couple weekends ago, I wanted to make the most of my weekend and drove to Joshua Tree Friday night so I could try out a couple of bivies and sleep under the stars.
The view on the way down the mountain towards Palm Desert.
Then, I could wake up and make the most out of my Saturday and ride through the park from Cottonwood, on the south end, to Joshua Tree on the NorthWest end and back.
There’s ton of climbing from the bottom end to the top, taking you from the Colorado Desert (a sub system of the Soran) into the Mojave.
In the Sonoran you will find my favorite plant on earth… well so far! The Ocotillo. I saw a few blooming, which is pretty special. They grow and drop leaves as many as 5 times a year and… right after a rain, it puts out the cluster of leaves over top of thorns and at the same time the beautiful red blooms. I hit the ocotillo patch on the right day because there were many blooming shrubs.
Then, you pass through the cholla garden. Alson one of my more favorite plants – these cuddly babies make you want to snuggle up, but you gotta be careful because if you take your eye off ’em they’ll jump out and prick you in the ass! Really, you just have to look at them wrong and the darn pieces just jump off at ya!
After riding up through the park (approximately 50 miles and climbing from around 2500 feet up to 3500 with lots of undulation) then descending back to the south entrance, I rushed back up to Idyllwild to get things ready for a working Sunday and enjoy this beautiful sunset on the drive.
Sunday, I left early so I could take Dave to stay with his big white girlfriend 🙂 in Orange County. I knew it would be a late night, so I didn’t want to leave him in Idyllwild. Then, I headed to the California Club for the school’s annual fundraising gala. I was the AV kid (picked up some glasses just for the occaision) and had a fun time working with the AV company to put on a slideshow about the history of the school and another one showing our auction items – like a trip to Italy!
It was fun being a geek for the night (I guess I always am, but I love it) and I also got to have my 15 seconds in the spotlight (in a cute little black dress, I might add) holding the pearl necklace and raffle jar for the raffle.
Then, after a late night at the club, I headed to Carol Ann’s to crash out with Dave and his girl, Mackenzie. I only had a brief time with Carol Ann, but it’s always good – picked up this quote in her kitchen – “We must travel in the direction of our fear.” – John Berryman
Then, last weekend – even more fun! Of course, I try to maximize my weekends, from… say… 4pm on Friday to 8am on Monday. I ended up driving about 1,000 miles all together and riding about 100 (not so balanced on the ride/drive ratio, I know… but it was sooo good!)
I headed down Friday night to Carol Ann’s because we had to get up super early for the Project Rwanda Ride. We had friends visiting, Brett 001 and Pete. Carol Ann and Brett 002 and the other guys had all spent the day riding the Santa Ana River trail and we all met up at her house. I stopped for groceries and was able to cook up a feast for us all. My Japanese friend Junko taught me how to cook some delicious mapo tofu many years ago and I like to bust it out for fun night where we need flavor explosion.
We had a great evening and probably stayed up later than we should have, but again – sooo worth it. Then, we had to wake up at 5am so we could leave for the Project Rwanda Ride at 6am. My good friend Ian also met us at the venue – it would be his first organized mountain bike event, other than the 12 Hours of Temecula (which he did solo of course!) How fun!
It was a slow moving morning, but once we got on the bikes, we all got warmed up. This ride is very social, not a race, which is what makes it such a community event.
The weather was a little gray, but it kept us cool. The ride used to be in December and I have to say that I’m glad they moved it to the Spring – GREEN and FLOWERS!! It was totally appropriate because Brett 002 had proposed to Carol Ann the day before and she was glowing on this ride – what a beautiful thing.
The day was filled with beautiful scenery, 50 good miles of trail, happy people and great company. I had a great time visiting with Ian and #002 especially – these guys are always insightful.
After the ride, they have a barbecue and raffle and good times at Cook’s. I had to cut it short because I needed to maximize my weekend – of course! So, I rushed home, dropped off Dave and headed right back out towards Sedona. I was on a mission to pre-ride for this weekends race. I got a good part of the way there Saturday night then camped in the desert near Phoenix, woke up at 5am and drove on to Sedona.
I’ve never ridden most of these trails and need to be able to figure out the navigation with minimal effort during the race. I don’t want to be that “girl” who comes in 3 hours after the race is over because I took a wrong turn and had to hitchike back to Sedona after ending up in Phoenix.
I took maps and all the cues/beta I could get, but it was still a little confusing. Fortunately, I met up with Johnny when I was loading up in the grocery store parking lot and he offered to show me as much of the trail as he could. We were able to knock out a good portion of the route and I had a great time with him.
One reason I was really happy for a pre-ride was because I now know to change out my darn tires – not Crow-land. This race is sooo technical and pretty scary actually. I thought, during my pre-ride of actually bowing out graciously, before even going. It’s gonna be difficult to even finish this. Not because of all the climbing or hiking. But, because of all the exposure and huge drops – you could kill yourself there! I’ll definitely be going into it with a different mindset, now that I’ve pre-ridden. I’ll be going into it trying to just ride as much of it as I can. I probably wrecked about a dozen times and have bruises on all four quarters of my body. I just want to make it through this craziness.
Johnny was a sport and waited for me on the technical and I waited for him on the climbs – it worked out well for meeting some local in a parking lot and actually being able to ride together. He’s an auto mechanic in Sedona, so I’ve now got a connection should the black duv decide to act up there.
I got home around midnight, with just enough time to get some good sleep before starting another work week – runnin a little low this week, but high on a good life surrounded by wonderful people.