Saturday, November 22, 2008

Adventure Tour to Noble Canyon

In addition to coaching would-be cyclists and new bike commuters, Sunny Rides is branching out with an Adventure Tours Division!

We arrange your bike rental and make sure you have all the necessary equipment, then arrange the mountain bike or road bike adventure based on the information you provide about your style and skill level.

Last week, I took Eirik from Noway on a trip to Noble Canyon for a mountain bike adventure. He was here for work, and managed to set aside a day to go mountain biking. I gathered a group of people, because it's always more fun with a group, and we all met in Pine Valley on a Saturday morning.

We all load up in two vehicles and shuttle to the top of the ridge - another 2200 feet vertical and 20 minutes away by car. It's a very brisk 38ยบ outside at about 6000 feet elevation, and we all scramble for every piece of clothing we have brought. As I don a light jacket over the two jerseys and arm warmers I'm wearing, pull on my Buff and bandana, I comment to the boys that I feel like Heidi of the Alps, but none of them get the reference to the little Swiss orphan girl who was made to wear all her clothes for the trip up the mountain, and they probably think I'm just referring to my braids. Sigh. It's OK. I'm used to blank stares when I make obscure literary references anyway.

I had set up Eirik's bike down at the bottom of the hill, so all we have to do is make sure we all have the gear we want, lock up the cars, and hit the trail. While we're getting ready, Eirik gets a call from Norway and tells his friend he is on a bike ride in Southern California. He is suddenly a rock star.

Just before the ride.

We hit the trail, hardly taking note of the crisp air biting at our fingers and toes because the ground is tacky and the trail conditions are so good.

We get to the first of several technical sections, and I tell Eirik that it's a rocky technical section, but that if you keep to the right, it's not too bad. One of the guys cocks his head, "Are you talking about 'Widdowmaker'?" he asks.

I'd never heard that this section of the trail had any name and I shake my head, "I don't think so, it's really not that bad. You just have to keep your speed and keep your head up," I say.

I don't realize that I've just unwittingly laid down a challenge until one of the other guys (the one with pads on) says, "Well, since it's not so bad, you want to school us on how it's ridden?"

Oops. There's nothing I can do now but ride it. "Well, I don't know about schooling, but I'll show you the line I take," I tell him, and get on my bike to continue down the trail. As the trail winds back and forth and I gain speed, I pray that God will have mercy on me and that I'll be able to ride the slightly damp rocks without incident. I'm always nervous entering this section, but I usually do well, and today is no exception. I have a small bobble at the end when I look down at a root rather than at my exit, but otherwise, I ride the "Widdowmaker" clean. I stop at the end and look back at the guys, "Um, watch that root at the end."

Eirik riding down the rocky chute.

Noble Canyon is great because there is a little bit of everything - miles of singletrack, challenging rock gardens, beautiful wooded areas and open exposed areas. We chose to shuttle instead of climb because of the time required and the degree of difficulty it entails. It became clear that Eirik is a good enough rider that he would have been able to climb the Indian Creek Trail up to the Noble Canyon Trail and still have enough left over for the descent, but it's challenging (and fun) as a shuttled ride.

At the end of one particularly flowy section followed by a stream crossing, I look at Eirik's face, and he is positively beaming. "So," I comment, "it looks like you're enjoying your ride!"

Absolutely! Almost any day at Noble is a good day.

For more info on taking a bike adventure in San Diego County, please email me. We are still in the "ramp up" stages, but available for tours immediately. Whether you are here for business or pleasure, I'll work to arrange a cycling tour that fits your ability and riding style.

(Laura Drexler)

No comments: