My last ride of the year was at Santiago Oaks: Chutes + 3 B’s on the Redline Mono 9. Last week we installed a chainring I had on the Mono 9 so I could ride again. Of course the day after we did the install the chainring + bolts arrived from Redline. I’ll be picking it up tonight.
Santiago was a short ride set up at the last minute. Thankfully my buddy Wayland is always up for those types of rides especially since it starts less then a mile from his backyard!
Santiago Oaks is a pretty technical trail with great technical singletrack and some steep fireroad climbs. Adding to the technical difficulty today was a special feature known as the “howling wind”. The howling wind was not only noisy as it pushed along, it was also very strong. You know it’s going to be windy out there when weather.com doesn’t give you a picture of the sun or clouds but rather the words “Windy” replaces the picture. It was windy indeed.
Riding in the wind is a particularly tricky proposition especially when there is a lot of exposure. I didn’t really think too much of it until I got to the top of the 3rd B (we jumped on the trail at the bottom of the 3rd B) and started getting pushed around by the gusts. My eyes scanned the trail we were going to ride and I have to admit to you that I gulped a time or two. There is some nasty exposure on this trail and a wrong move could hurt badly. Add to this the STRONG wind blowing the wheels and having to adjust for that… adjust incorrectly and you’re on your way into cactus, rocks or just down the steep hillside. All I could think of was that I needed to stay on my lines.
Thankfully, we made it through the ride safely. No falls although I did chicken out of one tough move. Wayland, being the beneficiary of my life insurance policy (or so it would seem), pushed me to go back up and try the tough move. I cleared it but only after stopping for a break in the middle to umm… recheck my line of course! We also found some new single track that gets us around riding some boring fireroads.
By the way, I broke over 1,000 miles for year 2007 on this ride!