The Ride Before Winter

It was COLD on Saturday. But we knew that the coming days would be even colder. And snowy. Brent and I figured it might be the last day of dry trails for a while, so we felt compelled to get out there and enjoy it. We waited until 11:00 AM when the temperature warmed up to 32 degrees, and pedaled east towards the Centennial Singletrack trailhead.

Centennial Ride
Sweet Doubletrack

Along the way to the trailhead, Brent found half a $20 bill that was slightly charred. Seconds later I found what I thought was the other half! We made a pact to buy beer with the money if it could be turned in for a new bill. It wasn’t until I got home and examined the halves closer that I realized they were two different bills. They were both the right half of the bill. Maybe I had $40 now! And then I noticed they both had the same serial number. And the paper felt a bit funny. Counterfeit! Someone didn’t do a good job burning up the evidence I suppose. And sadly, the beer pact was broken.

Centennial Ride
I can’t feel the bumps!

We arrived at the trailhead, and began our ascent up the trail. The skies were gray, and we were pedaling into the wind. At times it was too cold to talk because of the wind chill. The sun poked out occasionally, but never long enough to warm anything up. It wasn’t until we started heading back the other direction that we got some relief. On the east-most end of the loop, we took a break and rode some sweet doubletrack. I rode my rigid 29er up the V&T railroad track, curious to see how bumpy it would be. Turns out it wasn’t something I’d want to do for very long. Brent gave me a crack at at the tracks on his full suspension Stumpjumper. It pretty much erased the bumps! You could easily ride the whole way to Virginia City this way I think. Put this on the to-do list for 2010…

Centennial Ride
Rocky No-Track

We did some fun downhill, but decided not to go all the way back to the trailhead. Instead we opted to make our way through the foothills towards Goni Road. To do this though, we had to cross a canyon. There was a trail going down into the canyon, but not much of one climbing out. We rode and walked through some very rocky terrain for the next half mile or so. Funny how different this terrain is from the Eastern Sierra just a few miles away.

Centennial Ride
The view above Goni Road

Once we found a road it was smooth going. The terrain alternated between smooth sand and rocks, and the long road rolled up and down over the hills all the way to Goni Road. This was my first time back in this area, and it was pretty cool. The landscape is quite interesting and it would make a great place for more singletrack. In the end, thoughts of post-ride beers turned to visions of post-ride coffee as we finished up the ride with a few chilly road miles.

Centennial Ride
Brent of the Northern Lands

As I finish writing this post, winter is definitely upon us. The snow has been falling for almost 24 hours now. Stay tuned for a series of winter riding tips!

9 thoughts on “The Ride Before Winter

  1. Jeff: I wouldn’t recommend riding between the rails- The V&T resisted the idea of a trail alongside the track, so they would frown on riding in the tracks. Trains (even steam) have a sneaky way of approaching without being heard (surprising). You wouldn’t believe it until it has happened to you. I walked along the tracks in Cupertino and I didn’t hear the engines until the horn was tooted. There- enough of being an old man…

    The last two photos were right over my work- is the route east reasonably passable for commuting use? It would beat riding the highway…

    Thanks for a good column!

  2. Yeah, you’re probably right. Those tracks might get into some narrow spots where escape would be impossible. Scratch that idea! It sure would be nice to have a good off-road route up to Virginia City though.

  3. Have you tried Jumbo Grade? It’s hikeable (and the side trip up to Mt Davidson is pretty neat) and appears to be a reasonable ride. All throughout that hill range, there’s all kinds of rideable trails/roads. Some of the climbs are heart-stoppers…

    How’s the route to the east from your photos? (overlooking Goni) Commute-able?

  4. i have tried that “riding the rails” thing here with my single-speed and it is painful. opting to wait until the rails to trails crew is done!
    i can see the coldness in those pictures and it does not make me want to venture out.
    sorry to hear about the snow storm but you will be free of the white stuff long before i am!

  5. hmmmm seems to me the seed of riding the tracks has already been planted…too bad if they don’t like it! Much like that T otally R ad T rail that from time to time is ridden despite cough cough rules.

    XD seems to me this ride was a complete waste of time if beer purchasing was scrapped over the discovery of a couple fake bills.

  6. There was no NEED to BUY beer. My beer fridge is always fully stocked. Coffee was just a better choice (with a little rum… shhh). I was still shivering at the over heated movie theater an hour later! Jumbo Grade is one of my favorite rides and I do believe you can get there from Centennial (as Jeff and I discussed). We are thinking about a spring recon ride to find the best way for those who may be interested. I have come down from VC into Moundhouse by way of American Flats with some bushwhacking. Trails can be “found”. Good ride, Jeff… We need to get back out there when it’s dry and ride that trail we “found”!

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