Well . . . it wasn’t 14 hours of riding Idyllwild, but it did take 14 hours…
With all the long distant marathon bike races nowadays, “Leadville 100″, “24 Hours of MOAB”, “12 hours of Adrenaline”, etc, etc, etc, it made sense it was time I did a long haul. So I did. I got up at 4:15 in the morning, drove 3 hours and 15 minutes to Idyllwild, rode for 3 1/2 hours but logged literally 6 hours and 9 minutes of logged time (that means we were out there for 6 hours but only rode for 3 1/2. Why you ask? Cuz we got lost! Actually several times! …and, then drove 3 hours and 15 minutes home through San Bernadino / Pasadena / Santa Clarita stop and go freeway traffic. Got home at 7:00pm that night. Thus the 14 hours of Idyllwild…
Why you ask? Cuz we got lost! Actually . . . several times!
Okay, so it all starts with an offer on STR by scan (that’s, scan “The Man”; I call him Scan “The Man” Fran-sisco) to come on down and meet him at Hurkey Creek Campground to ride some sweet, sweet Idyllwild Singletrack. Well I gotta be honest with you. I never even heard of Idyllwild until last year. What the!?!?!? My sheltered life!
3 Hours and 15 minutes later, one Carl’s Jr. Breakfast Burger with extra Ketchup on it precisely one hour before ride time (don’t ask me why, it just works for me!). I show up right behind a dude called “strobe” (oh the nicknames) on STR. We both pull into the parking area after we give the rangers 3 bucks each (really, that’s not bad and you don’t have tah have a Wilderness Pass). Right off the bat I notice Strobe is riding a Single Speed. I’m thinking oh crap! I have nothing but bad experiences with SS’ers cuz they ride so dog gone fast!
We talk a while until Scan gets there and then “Aaron the Giant.” I’m waiting for him to get out of the car because I’m thinking this guy is huge. No. It means that his name is Aaron, and he rides a Giant! Clever, that one is…
We suit up (naturally I’m the only guy in Lycra) and we take off. Also to discover later, the only guy with out a dropper seat post. The air is crisp as we head out at a parking lot elevation just over 4400 feet and we jump right on this climbing singletrack and I’m thinking we are heading out to epic-ness.
Okay, so we made a couple wrong turns, and, we did have to ride on some asphalt, but it was steep pavement!!! Scan said we forgot our road bikes, I told him I forgot my attitude… Mind you we all have GPS equipment and Smart Phones with GPS Aps on them and yet we kept getting lost. Strobe kept stating that we were so many feet off the course but couldn’t tell us what direction. Scan was constantly whipping out a map and discussing it with Aaron the Giant, and I’m thinking the whole time how come I don’t have a cool nickname.
By about 1:30pm I’m secretly beginning to have doubts about my comrades, and maybe bailing back onto the street and backtracking the trail we came in on. We were heading back (again) on a singletrack when this mystery dude comes out of nowhere all dressed in white on a bike. He’s cooking along. We try to ask him questions and he just bolts by stating that we need to follow him, go to the big boulder and make a right, look for the rabbit hole that Alice fell in, or something. I think I made that last one up. He was kinda a jerk! Was he on a STRAVA mission? So I named him Richard, Dick, for short.
He was kinda a jerk! Was he on a STRAVA mission? So I named him Richard . . . Dick, for short.
So we attempt to chase him (he’s flying) but he’s long gone. We try to decipher his instructions, and, we did indeed find the elusive singletrack! It was literally 500 feet past where we gave up the first time.
Revitalized by this great discovery, we dive into the single track I believe is called “Snake Skin”. Oh…..my…..gosh! It was amazing. Steep, seat in the middle of my chest steep, boulder drops, tight twisty, ducking overhead logs, dropping into ravines, hopping over boulders, climbing boulders, pedal strike everywhere to be had, fast technical descents, dropping into canyons to fly up on the other side on some crazy bank corner and then diving back into the canyon. Thank goodness I had my weapon, the Yeti AS R5c! It really performs on this stuff. I found that Aaron the Giant is a pretty fast descender, so I often heard his skids and vocal sound effects of technical singletrack negotiation in the background.
Thank goodness I had my weapon, the Yeti AS R5c!
Once done with the first section we make a left, and putt over on a fire road only to hit another singletrack named “Missing Link”. Oh, by the way, “Richard”, the dude dressed all in white, out of nowhere reappears from behind (he was prolly lapping us). He comes flying by me, out of the saddle, and I swear when he smiled at me, one of his teeth did that bling of bright light. He stayed outa the saddle and literally flew up a hike-a-bike section. I looked at Strobe, he looked at me, and Strobe just said, “Well, yah gotta give the guy props for killing that climb”. It was like he had an anti gravity belt!
So after that, we hit yet another singletrack called “Tunnel of Love”. All of which these singletracks rocked on a level outside the realm of reality! By this time it’s getting late and unfortunately we got split up. There is such a network of trails over in the Idyllwild area that it is crazy not to go there and spend a couple of days. Aaron the Giant and I rode into the Parking Lot to discover that Scan and Strobe accidentally took another more direct route to our parked cars, and were already there.
There is such a network of trails over in the Idyllwild areas, that it is crazy not to go there and spend a couple of days..
I get a few goodbye pics and load up and head out with Scan leading the way. Was it worth 6 1/2 hours of driving to go do a 3 1/2 hour ride. Uh yah! We only live once. I met new ride buddies and got chance at some excellent new dirt! Super Mega Hero Dirt, to boot! Go ride Idyllwild!