For a couple of years, I've heard rumors about new trails behind Hawes that link into the Hawes network and cross over into Usery. I'm prone to dismiss rumors since there have been far too many times that I have heard about new trails and they're either far too rugged to be ridden or their jeep trails.
In spite of this, on Saturday, with a heavy dose of skepticism, The Gov, Scott B and Dave Baker hooked up at the bottom entrance to Usery Park with the intent to link Usery and Pass Mountain to the backside of Hawes. The weather was perfect and everyone was in high spirits with the exception of the fact that Dave thought that Pass Mountain was going to be a disaster. As it turned out, Pass Mountain was a mother of an awesome climb but entirely "passable" (pun intended). Honestly, Pass Mountain was a great prelude to what was to come. Unfortunately, the Gov had to bail since he was on a limited time basis with a wife at home with a sick one. Mad props to him for making it out and even more mad props for clearing Pass Mountain on a single speed. The finishing touch to the Usery side was a side track off onto Clint's Trail instead of the heavily used Bulldog Canyon. Shout out to the guy at the top of Pass Mountain who recommended it.
Once we crossed over from the Usery side to the Hawes side, we picked up the NRA connector. Years ago, we would ride Twisted Sister from this area and all I remember was not being in the flow and having the deathgrip on the bars most of the time. Totally different experience here. Climby, undulating and just enough tech to keep it from being boring. Probably my favorite trail of the day. After NRA, we immediately dropped into the long descent into Wildhorse. Smiles for miles. The only concern we had was that all of the fun downhill we were hitting was going to lead into a rather long ascent back to our cars.
While we were stopped on Wildhorse, several people rallied to give us advice on where to ride and what to do from where we were at. We linked back on Stinger and Scorpion Alley, but from the advice we were given, we were left feeling like we had just scratched the surface. We had a long climb back to the car but we had a relatively mild grade to climb. We stayed on the trails most of the way back up to NRA and jumped on the road back to the park entrance where we picked up Chainfruit, Moon Rock and Levee back to our cars.
From there, it was beers, chicken wings and whiskey back at Dave's place. Thanks for hosting our shenanigans on Saturday, Mr. Baker. Epic sunset and an epic end to an epic afternoon of riding.
Bella came home in a sour mood after getting in a fight with her best friend. She was clearly in need of some dad time and a ride and asked me if I would go out with her. Never missing an opportunity for a ride, we agree to try to link a ride to some canal trails that we've ridden before but never from our house. I knew the ride would be a bit ambitious for her but I felt confident she could handle it.
Every time we ride, I'm reminded of how much faster she's getting and how much she's growing. We wound up doing over 14 miles which is by far the biggest ride she's ever done. Arguably the best part was that a girl that complains about just about everything didn't complain once, even in the face of a nasty headwind on the way home. Her hoots and hollers in the video below should serve to tell you how much fun she had and how much fun riding bikes are in general. I'm already looking forward to the next time she wants to go get muddy and drag her old man out for a ride.