Monday, October 8, 2012

Kennedy Trail

Yesterday I took the mountain bike out for a ride up the Kennedy Trail, and over El Sombroso.

View Kennedy Trail in a larger map

I didn't have time for a long ride, and it has been a long time since I visited these trails. Plus, I had a score to settle.

I got out at about 9:30, and trudged up to the base of the climb. I was thinking back to one of my first rides in the area, when I rode to the top of Kennedy Road... and then back home. Back then, that was plenty. This time, the same route just took me to the start of the real ride.

Midway up Kennedy Trail
The Kennedy Trail is very steep, and sufficiently broken-up and dusty that it's impossible to stand up and ride without spinning the back wheel. You just have to sit there and grind. I felt pretty good, but was still going very slowly. I was happy to stop at the mid-way tree for a rest.

After the midway point, there's a steep climb followed by a long flat section. After that, this ride for me is a series of ramps I can't seem to climb. The tread on my ancient tires is pretty good for riding on the street, but doesn't have enough bite for some of these hills. Plus, I think my geometry is off. And I'm pretty weak, to cap it off. Given all of that, I spent a good portion of the ride walking up hills.

Looking north from the Kennedy Trail

When I got to the top of El Sombroso, I went up the side trail to the highest point on the ride. At this point, I had to confront some demons. The last time I descended El Sombroso on the Wood Road toward Hicks, I fell three times in the loose shale. As you might expect, that shook my confidence in my meager descending skills. So this time, I prepared. I lowered my seat, and made sure I was wearing a couple of layers of clothes to combat road rash.

Wood Road
I think my earlier problem was that I had to use too much front brake, which caused the front tire to dig into the soft surface. This time my rear brake was working correctly, so I didn't have to rely on the front to keep me from hurtling off the cliff. Plus, it looks like they've graded the road since my last trip here, because it certainly didn't seem as rocky. Nonetheless, I descended gingerly, and stopped a few times to plan my line. I arrived at the bottom of the steep part without incident.

At the end of the trail I crossed Hicks Road into Quicksilver park, basically continuing on the Wood Road toward the mercury furnaces it once fed. I rode up to English Town, then descended on the Mine Hill Trail, which previously I've only ever descended. After that it was home on the Alamitos Trail.

Elevation profile
A short ride yesterday, just short of 30 miles. I'm glad I managed to slay, or at least wound, my descending demons. I'll have to try this again a few more times to get comfortable.

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