Tuesday, June 12, 2007

CDA NF Metric Century

Click on the picture to see how horrowing the trail is down Hells Canyon and how bald my rear tire is (and no it is not supposed to be a semi slick tire)

Yesterday I went out to the CDA national forest to plug away at routing a 100 mile course. This is the first time I have been back since all of the snow has been gone. I started and finished at DOMA coffee in downtown CDA. The 2200 foot climb up the pavement to Fernan Saddle was a bit boring but the trail over Burnt Cabin Summit made up for it. I checked out Spade Mountain Lookout. It is sad to see an old fire lookout in such shambles. Vandalism has made the building an eyesore and a potential danger.
In designing this course I want it to be easily navigated, rideable yet challenging for even the most honch rider. I am making an effort to employ as much singletrack as possible but it can be difficult considering that in this area singletrack is mostly downhill specific. The singletrack trail off of Spade mountain falls into the downhill only category as well as the aptly named Hells Canyon. Hells Canyon drops from 4200 feet to 2600 in about four miles. The trail starts off steep with roots and rocks and then mellows out for the last half. Stream crossings and dense old growth forest make it the most impressive ride in the area. I would really like to strap a camera on a rider who can clean the whole descent. If I had a camera on me yesterday it would have looked more like Blair Witch Trail than anything else. This kind of riding is not my thing but I recognize that this section of trail has to be in the 100 mile course.
The climb back up on a gradual forest service road was surprisingly zippy. I was able to ride 11 to 12 mph for the length of the 6 mile climb.
Working my way through West Canfield Butte was a bit tricky because I ended up on some dead ends that annoyed me. Eventually I got tired of back tracking and walked down a section of the hill to reunite with my route.
Altogether I rode for 6 hours and got in just over 60 miles. The climbing was ridiculous with something like 8000 feet including the two 2000 ft. grinders. I have the next extension of this route figured out but may have to wait to try it. My bike is making the worst noises I have ever heard from a drive train. I washed the mud off off of my bike just to look for cracks around the Bottom Bracket. At the very least my BB is toast but I know that distressful noises are coming from other locations as well.

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