Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mountains and Valleys

When I loaded my mountain bike on my Kuat bike rack at 7:10 am Saturday morning my hands and feet were already going numb from the 36 degree temperature.......I was wondering to myself....."self" I said "why are you going mountain biking at 8 am in the morning when it is sooooo COLD!?".  Well, the answer is rather simple......all of my SoCal mountain bike buddies have families, still work for a living, and, as such, tend to cram a lot into their weekends, so they get up early to mountain bike........that's why.

This particular Saturday we had seven in our group.  We met at a middle school parking lot in La Verne, CA  located near the entrance to one of my all time favorite MTB* trails, Marshal Canyon.  This is a multi purpose trail (horses, walkers, riders), but most of the folks you run into early Saturday are mountain bikers.  I first rode this trail over 20 years ago......how is that possible?

Marshall Canyon started out as a bridal path for the local horse community, and without them this trail would never have existed, so as a courtesy we all show deference to the horses when we (walkers and riders) come in contact with them giving them the right of way.  This trail has a Northern California feel......pretty much the entire trail is under a canopy of large oak trees, as it follows Marshall Canyon Creek downhill for about 5 miles.  There are dozens of water crossings, and when you are done you will 'look' like you have been mountain biking.....your shoes will be wet, and your backside will have a lot of mud splattered all over it.

 Back row - left to right: Paul, Ryan, John, Meli, Brenda, Paul
Front row: Moi

Claremont Wilderness Park Ramada

By 8:15 we were beginning the 5 mile, sometimes steep, climb to the Claremont Wilderness Park Ramada topping out at just over 2,500' elevation.  From there it is a 5-6 mile downhill along mostly single track paths covered by oaks with a lot of stream crossings thrown in......it is a lot like a roller coaster.  As I keep adding on years to my age I am ever grateful I can still ride with these guys and gals, and that they still include me.

We were all back at our cars by 11 am, entirely unscathed.....the temperatures were just getting into the low 50's.....:-)  Next up for me was to drive 30 miles back home, shower, change and then head back to San Dimas, CA to meet up with my long time childhood friend, Tom Carrozzo.  We first became friends in 7th grade, and have remained friends over all these many years.  Tom, among his many talents, is an ordained minister, and he will be officiating at my daughter's (Sharon) wedding on the 17th.  Ironically, Tom's father, Al, married Elaine and I back in 1971.

We, along with Sharon and Rod, met up with Tom at Clayton Brewing Company (located in San Dimas in the Pomona Valley) at 1 pm, and spent the next two hours reminiscing and talking about Sharon's wedding.  This was our second visit to CBC**.....we had lunch there with my sister, Jill, and her husband Elliott almost a year ago to the day.  Yelp gives them a solid 4 stars on 210 reviews, and we would agree.  Great selection of brews, and excellent food.....just as it should be.

We exchanged 'until next time' hugs, and were on our way home a little after 3 pm.  I spent the remainder of the day  watching NFL playoff football, and then read for a while before heading off to bed by 10:30.....a very tired, slightly sore guy with a big smile on his face.....another day lived well......

Thanks for stopping by!

* MTB = MounTain Bike
**CBC = Clayton Brewing Company

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