Wow! What fun!
I took my maiden off-road voyage on my Peugeot today. The weather was perfect: 72 degrees. No wind. Sunny skies. When trying to figure out where to go, a quick internet search brought Florida Canyon to mind. I don't know why I never thought of it - it's only 2 miles from home. This is an off-road series of trails that is very typical of Southern California desert terrain. There are few trees and no shade, not a problem this time of year.
There are lots of little trails going this way and that, so it makes for a perfect place to practice my very beginner MTB skills. The trails consist of very hard packed dirt, and many of them have millions of small rocks, loose and not loose. There is some sand every once in a while.
Here's what I learned:
It's a lot harder than it looks!
I have to really concentrate to (hopefully) find the best part of the path. I can see how you can really clear your mind on the trail, because I had to keep focused on what I was doing, and couldn't really think about the usual clutter in my brain.
Harder doesn't mean less fun!
I did feel like a kid again (with the occasional moment of terror and flash about whether my insurance would cover a nasty fall!). It was a blast, especially on the switchbacks and little ups and downs. The path ahead wasn't always very clear around a corner because of the vegetation.
My hands were a little sore from time to time...
I had to grip the bars pretty hard to maintain my balance. Not a big issue, but way different from the smooth, silky ride on Ruby Roubaix.
I have to have a talk with my Bike Butler
He forgot to pack the water bottle. The trail was dusty and I got plenty thirsty.
The bike done good.
For a twenty-something bike, it handled well, I didn't flat (thank God!) and it was so much fun riding over all those bumps and rocks and such. It's such a different mind-set from trying to avoid potholes and road trash. On this bike, you just plough through the rocks and it keeps on taking it.
I'll need a neckerchief in the summer.
Hardly any bugs today, but in the summer they're going to be out in droves. Or whatever they are out in. I'll need some protection over my mouth or I'm going to be eating a LOT of bugs.
This spot is perfect for training.
It's so close to home, I can ride out the front door, take a couple of miles on the street, and be there. There's enough choices in trails that variety is easy. I do wish there were some trees for shade, however!
So here's some pics:
A typical shot of the trails:
A fork in the trail. Which way did I go?
One of the easy sections:
And last, but not least. Florida Canyon is adjacent to the San Diego Velodrome. After my ride I paused to check out how the big boys do it. This is a tiny crop that I shot into the sun, without a viewfinder, just before my camera's battery failed. Ain't the best shot, but it will have to do!