As RL mentioned in a previous post, 7 of us made it out to San Juan to ride the bottom half of San Juan Trail. This trail is my cup of tea. The climbing was not fun but it paid off with a nice singletrack descent that had some technical elements in it including lots of exposure, switchbacks and baby-head sized rocks. As RL mentioned he, Priscilla and Joe decided to turn back because of knee issues, too much exposure and being a great guy, respectively.
Wayland, the 2 Davids and I continued up to Cocktail Rock and after a short respite that included meeting a pair of Sam‚Äôs and another dude named Weyland (really small world), the four of us headed back down. 3 of us were on fully rigids while one of the David‚Äôs was on a gorgeous deep blue Titus Riddler hardtail.
Very interestingly enough going down was just as difficult as going up but for different reasons. Climbing was difficult (for me) because of my lack of endurance. I love my local loop, but what it misses is one significantly long/leggy climb, a gasser as I like to think of them. San Juan is an out and back 6 mile up/6 mile down trail.
Elevation map via geoladders.com
Thankfully the first 1.5 – 2 miles were the steepest with more than 10+ switchbacks. After that the switchbacks become sparser and the trail mellows out to a more conquerable 4-6% grade. But, what this 2nd part of climbing lacks in steepness and switchbacks, it more than makes up for it with rocks, ruts and exposure‚Ä¶ lots of exposure. Get off your bike and walk across life threatening exposure.
Interestingly enough the switchbacks that I had a tough time with ascending were equally if not even more difficult descending. I did discover that I am much better at left turn switchbacks as compared to right turn switchbacks. What surprised me was that for parts of the trail that had ‚Äúwalk across life threatening exposure‚Ä? on the way up, I mostly just rode through on the way down.
All of us made it down in one piece (with a few stretch/pee breaks) and of course I had a ticket to greet me. ūüôĀ Bummer as I did not see the Adventure Pass signs.