Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Adventure on the Winsor Trail

Winsor Meadows
Had an interesting outing on the mountain bike this summer. Up at the crack of dawn with the plan of motoring up Winsor for the first time this year. Arrived at the Chamisa trailhead, rockin’ some Aerosmith (great band or best band?)*, when it became clear that a key piece of equipment didn't make the trip - my mtb shoes. Generally speaking, this wouldn't be a huge deal if I had been wearing shoes of some other type, however this was not the case. No, I had left the house wearing flip-flops for some strange reason. Effin’ flip-flops. FLIP-FLOPPPSSS!! [KAHHHNN!!] Desperation and denial stabbed at my mind: Can there be any imagined scenario in which Aerosmith wears flip-flops? No. fuck no. Not one. Well, there’s a lesson there. 

This is how this works - I have a sleeping 2yr old at home, so I have a short window at the break of dawn to run/ride/(ski sometimes) or, with searing remorse and regret I can rollover and go back to sleep. This being the case, driving back into town to get my shoes meant no long workout and probably no ride till the following weekend. An hour of running would have to replace cycling the Winsor as option A, and my mind that day was not calibrated toward running it was geared-up for cruising in the mountains on the summer’s first ride along the creek up the Winsor. 

So this happened…  >>>
There is literally a skull on my sock and a bell on my handlebars

Can’t possibly be the first time this has ever happened to someone heading out for a ride, am I right? This must happen all the time! How do folks generally resolve this kind of problem do you suppose? I reasoned that they probably just hope for the best, ignore the discomfort of missing gear, and ride - very carefully keeping an eye on toe-crushing rocks and tree branches. A very real danger that I'd simply never considered since it would otherwise be reckless to ride Chamisa/Winsor in open-toed shoes. (Sidenote: I have biked around at a party shoeless before. This is such a bad idea. I cannot caution strenuously enough how this should not be tried). 

Below Pacheco Canyon
Back to the current shady cycling story...Aside from potentially seriously injuring myself, my secondary concern was the possible embarrassment of seeing people see me riding along like a jagger in socks and flip-flops. Not a real danger, I calculated. Nobody’s going to be out this early on the middle stretches of Winsor. Wrong. I saw 23 people that morning [KAHHHNN!!]. 15 cyclists, 6 hikers including a woman who stopped me to ask if there was water up-trail for her dog, and 2 runners. I’m certain of this figure because I counted each one, my face screwed-up in a sideways cringe of awkwardness at each addition. 

It all worked out for me in the end, although I couldn't handle the steep climbing that leads up to NORSKI. I did see two ptarmigan (grouse) in one section, got too excited then veered off trail crashing into some bushes. There were also a few slips in technical sections where I pedaled out of my flop and had to avoid the pedal-whip-into-the-shin hazard. A very acceptable level of harm, all things considered. And it all makes for a good story as well as an important takeaway to share with others - that a cavalier attitude toward footwear has the potential to ruin your entire week. You’re welcome.

Old crossing at Bear Wallow, now much improved
Guerrilla-built drop above Pacheco. Since removed by the NFS
Firecracker penstemon
* I kid, i kid. Zeppelin will always be the best band, Halen a distant second.

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  1. Ramones. C'mon, man.

  2. Strong recommendation, however even in a tie-breaker (and Zeppelin wins on music alone) Zeppelin would crush the Ramones in a gang fight. I might have accepted the Specials although their weakness in gang fight skills would be similarly problematic.



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