I gotta start this by saying in all honesty. As beautiful as the day turned
out, I sure would rather it had been 40 degrees and pouring down rain. That
would mean poor Jim Forman and the mobile King 5 crew would be standing in a
blizzard on Snoqualmie Pass commenting about the soccer mom in her Excursion
thinking it would be safe to take the kids to play in the snow as the tow
trauck hauls it out of the snowbank in the backround.
Yeah, hard to get excited about biking when it should be snow season...
But, excited I am! Excited, tired, and beat to a pulp too. What a way to end
my daylight riding season.
Jeff and Armando met at the house and we carpooled out of the fog and to the
roadside pull out before Black Diamond to an awaiting Lisa, Kelly, Mark,
Mike, and Jason.
It has been brought to my attention that this may not be the best place to
park to ride. It offers very limited parking and is right on a very busy Hwy
169. However, it does offer immediate access to the newer "Blainz World"
trail network. I believe, although it takes a bit longer, it's probably a
better idea to park at the Lake Sawyer Elementary school on the other(West)
side of the network and ride in from there. There were 14 cars packed into
this very small site on this sunny fall day. Only 2 at Tiger summit when we
drove by both ways. Hmmmmmm.
Lisa and Mark took the reins and led us through an amazing southend system.
It is evident that the builders put lots of long term care into designing and
building this network. Often compared to Tolt-MacDonald park. The trail
system here would definately be compared as all Tolt could be. Low spots and
soft areas are cobbled and offer drainage. Smooth, fast, tight and twisty,
with loads of angled trees and headhunters to offer added technical
challenge. Fast, but technical and solid. this section shows why it's
increasing in popularity.
Off the ridge line into the the older, second growth area and towards the
lake itself. We swung around the west side in a clockwise manner. taking a
side trip so Kelly could show is the new sport of "Freecross" despite the
disadvantages of wheelie dropping in a cross bike. Hmmm, wonder if you could
put a Marzocchi Monster T on that RM Rail?
Across the clearcut and into "Ed's Woods" the grandaddy of tree farm trails.
Smooth and dry for this time of year. Around to the RR grade and heading back
towards the car on well maintained trail. One last climb up to the cars and a
huge apology to a now bonking Jason for the Bob version of "Social" pace.
We were out 4 hours at a good pace and there was more to be had. This is
truly a Southend gem and would be frequented more often by yours truly had it
not been an hour drive away. Both Jeff and Armando, first timers here,
commented that this place would be hammered from use if it was closer to
Seattle. It's that good. The builders and maintainers should be commended.
As we bid trailend adieu, Armando pops up with, "Let's Ride the Ridge on the
way home! It's on the way and we have some daylight!"
Oh well, let's do it!
So, we drag Mike Utterback along with us and add another 2 hours plus of
riding(and, falling, in my case) to an already long day.
Climbing out of the car at "Snowbalmy Ridge" to a 55 degrees in the shade
temp. We rode until too tired to stand.
Nothing a hot shower, a couple Aleves washed down with Rolling Rock won't
cure. But, I can forget about the sympathy neck massage.
Thanks all to capping an amazing season. Mine's over. Time to go outside to
hang the Christmas lights...
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