Off Road mid-season report. With eight rides remaining this year our intrepid dirt riders are considering other venues in addition to the standby Rail Trail, which by the way, will be officially opening the new five mile upgrade segments sometime in July offering Santa Fe almost nine miles each way of class 5 multi-user trail. Also in July the bid to upgrade 1.7 more miles, segment 4 will be posted. Segment 4 crosses through the El Dorado community from Avenida Vista Grande to El Dorado Road. Completion of this segment is expected spring of 2016. The dirt riders have had as many as thirteen Tuesdays riders and as little as three Saturday riders. The first three rides were rained or snowed out.
One optional dirt venue adventure in the works is an outing to the Valles Caldera National Preserve, officially administratively transferred to the National Park Service on October 1, 2015. Distance from El Dorado to the Bull Pen staging area and home is 155 miles. Before an open invite to the club at large is offered, we thought it best to send an exploration party to veni vidi vici the riding realities. It is dang good we did too.This past weekend three senior riders, beginner, intermediate, and experienced stalwarts went a-scouting. They came, they saw, but perhaps did not completely conquer in the traditional sense, but lots was learned on the exciting if somewhat perilous journey. Our beginner, Meriwether Levy, valiant and ballsy scout, reported he walked more than pedaled the uphills, which was half the total recon; however, in the true spirit of outdoor adventure, he was thrilled with the trip and was glad to participate.
Meriwether Levy- “This was not a ride for SOB beginners. Wash outs, lots of rocks, part of the ride on single track, or no trail to speak of. I had an added challenge of vertigo, which is difficult to pedal on the side of a steep hill. Half the ride was climbing which I feel was too strenuous for a newbee. Even though I walked much of the climbing sections I enjoyed it. The scenery was fantastic.”
The nine mile recommended beginner’s loop is not a senior’s beginner’s loop. In IMBA nomenclature it is mostly blue circle, intermediate difficulty, with spots of black diamond, advanced difficulty, climbing, and washout terrain. Sacagawea Martinez, our indomitable intermediate scout, now understands the purpose and value of full-suspension designed mountain bikes stating at trip’s end her body felt every single terrain rock, root, and hole vibration. Sacagawea Martinez- “The terrain was mainly rough and in many places the only evidence of a path was freshly mowed narrow swath of grass. We rolled over rocks and downed trees. There were some sandy areas that caused a small fish tail experience. The switchbacks often were sharp twists and steep in grade requiring rapid fire gear shifting or torture standing out of the saddle. While I am generally good at anticipating steep grade and down shifting, initial experiences proved challenging to watch the immediate challenges of ruts and gullies and upcoming steeper grade. All in all a lifetime experience. Hats off to Steve for organizing. The views are awesome and grand! GoPro directorial debut.”
Sacawagea Martinez with Caldera Recreational Supervisor Lance Weinbrenner.
Expedition perceptions of experienced scout. Beginners would have an exuberant outdoor experience provided their route stays on the main preserve dirt roads a choice of approximately 25 miles, no hazards, minimal climbing grades, and several staging areas or choices for re-groups, or a picnic lunch in the outback or on the porch of a couple cabin structures. Intermediate and advanced level dirt riders would have an unlimited energetic and joyful adventure on endless trails and high country lumber roads, provided they stay within their capabilities. For example, regardless of route, stick to a time limit, perhaps 60-90 minutes out and head for the barn. Fall and its brisk weather would be the best season, September, perhaps as late as October.
Bull Pen, SOB scout staging area 700 or 800 feet below expedition route.
Meriwether Levy and Longmire