Monday, May 16, 2016

damn conditioning

Major has my number. At home, we speed along the trails, and have many discussions about not going too fast for trail conditions, or rushing down hills, or running home. But trailering out is another story. He knows that the trailer means fun, and he loves to go explore. But he doesn't want to do it quickly, he might miss the sights! (unless someone else is along, then it's a competition). So conditioning is a challenge, but I was up for it.

lovely single track

We headed for the Olmstead Loop trail (which isn't just a loop, there are lots of options), and I'd planned in my head a series of trails. Including down the river via the old Auburn dam site. I hadn't tried it before, and was up for a new adventure.

The trails starting off were still glorious green, with wildflowers too. The most fun was a really swampy tree-covered section that Major charged through, scaring some people on the other side, who said as we came out "we thought someone was drowning in there!" (really, and you just listened?).

swamp land
soft grass and antenna towers in the distance
tree tunnel

We crossed hill and dale (well, hill and creek) not very quickly. Trotting on single-track was fine, but open roads were just slow, and there are a lot of roads. And lots of rocks on downhills to slow us even further. Major waded into Knickerbocker Creek and tried to walk upstream instead of continuing on the trail, but I got him turned around and we headed back out. Shortly after that I did notice my glove was feeling tight and bothering me. I looked down and saw my wrist was super swollen! Something must have bitten me. Well, I'm five miles out from the trailer, I don't feel sick, might as well keep riding! The sky was also looking a little ominous…

down to Knickerbocker Creek

In the creek, what's behind us? Mountain bikes.

see Major, it says "no" we can't go back right now
gathering clouds

To head down to the dam site trail, first you cross the asphalt dam road, and you need to follow it a little bit, then you come to the switchbacks. I have no idea why I didn't consider how steep they would be: they literally go down the face of where the dam was to be located. The trail was really rocky and I got off to walk, dragging Major to his death down the hill after me.

switchbacks down to the river far below

being dragged, but with a snack

scarred dam hillside

I'm standing in it, isn't that enough?

But that was the way we came?!

But at the bottom was the lovely river. That Major had no interest in except just to stand there. I was content with that, looking across the river at the fascinatingly scarred hillside, glad there is do dam to drown this amazing canyon.

Then we had to go back up. I thought at least it was more gradual and not so many switchbacks. Ha! on the gradual. At one point my GPS said we were climbing a 38% grade, then that improved to 25%. But Major was better in this section, I think he understood that the top of the hill was the destination!

just a bit steep

it just keeps going up!

Once at the top Major had a bit more life, especially after I let him play in the pond, then "chase" a runner in the distance. Use that competitive spirit to my advantage! The sky was now filled with puffy clouds, and the trailer wasn't far.

perfect pond

can't tire of this view

chasing down the runner (no, we didn't catch him, dude was quick!)

Back at the trailer, my GPS said we accomplished just under 14 miles with 2,300 feet of elevation gain in a bit less than three hours. Slower than an endurance training pace, but I was happy with it due to the rocks, elevation, and Major being Major. He was just happy to be back and snorkeling in the lovely water trough! Hopefully we can get out and explore, a bit more quickly, for some upcoming rides soon. Just don't call them conditioning where Major can hear you!

snorkeling, bubbles, fun!

helpful stats


  1. OMG!! I love the last pic a lot. Made me laugh. Your trails are wonderful.

    1. Thanks! Major loves to snorkel, I think it makes all those miles worthwhile to him!

  2. pretty pretty trail!
    I love the
    "we thought someone was drowning in there!" (really, and you just listened?).
    - The Equestrian Vagabond