Geraldine and Karen, along with Geraldine's daughter, Juliann, planned a short gravel ride for today. I got to go too! Geraldine lives very near Capitol Forest. We met at her house, and rode up Waddell to C-9000. It was raining rather heavily, but I was wearing my new Endura rain jacket.
Juliann remarked, at the beginning, that this route was all uphill. While it may have seemed that way, because it was a loop, it couldn't be all uphill. However, we did do quite a bit of climbing (according to Strava, 1857 ft in 14.3 miles).
C-9000 is closed to traffic. Therefore, the road has more loose rocks than the other gravel roads in the forest. It not a problem until it gets pretty steep. On the first steep part the three of us "old" ladies had to walk, while the "young" mountain goat girl managed to get to the top without resorting to walking. Okay, this young mountain goat girl is going to Cyclocross Nationals in two weeks!
As we continued climbing, the rain started to turn to a rain/snow mix, then full-on big fat snowflakes. We didn't hang around long enough to see if it was going to stick. One must keep moving so as not to freeze one's butt off!
We came to the end of C-9000 and turned to come down a singletrack trail. This is where the adventure really began. First of all, Cross Bike Hal would have no problems. Gravel Bike Hal, on the other hand, was not so easy (read--a little bit scary!). The main issue is the fenders. The toe overlap with the fenders is horrible. The slightest turn, and my feet hit the fenders. Plus, with the gravel tires, there is more slippage in the soft stuff (be it mud, or a blob of wet leaves). It all makes for less confidence coming down the singletrack.
Not long after I got Mama Cass, I did a ride with Derik, DJ, and Trisha. We ended up doing C-9000 and this singletrack. Of course, it was summer. I remember pretty much freaking out on the singletrack then. This time? Not so much...well...less freaking out. Except for one part. The others rode it. I chickened out and walked it.
Then we came to a creek. More adventuring! Here's a photo Karen took of me fording the creek.
Believe it or not, my feet stayed dry! Love the boots and gaiters!
Then there were a couple other hike-a-bike spots before we got to the part clearly designed for mountain bikes. We walked the trail next to the precipice of death (okay, maybe not death, but definitely the precipice of pain should one happen to go off the edge), and forded another creek.
There were still a couple of obstacles, but before long, we reached the paved road. From there it was just a couple miles back to Geraldine's, where we congratulated ourselves on a job well done!