It’s not all cherry blossoms and sunshine here in Victoria.
Yesterday some friends and I did a road trip to Nanaimo to ride the Ultimate Abyss. I have ridden the trail many times, but yesterday was still a lot of fun. Unfortunately yesterday was also very, very wet out. It rained the whole drive up there, and didn’t stop once while we rode. Even though the trail has numerous rock faces (both up and down), the traction was excellent. The Abyss has something I call grippy rock. It is some kind of sedimentary rock that has lots of tiny embedded rocks that give it amazing traction. The rock had better traction than the mud and wet roots.
The trail has a bit of climbing, but nothing severe. Once the climbing is done, the trail is kind of swoopy with a lot of undulations. Unfortunately for Darryll, the climb was not nice to his bike, and his freehub mostly gave up the ghost half way up the climb. It kind of worked, but any time he put pressure onto the pedals, it would slip and make a nasty sound. Saying our goodbyes he headed back to his car, and home again.
The rest of us had a blast! A very wet blast. Some of the puddles were more than hub deep. With each pedal stroke I could feel water sloshing around in my shoes. Once in a while I stopped and by clenching my fists I could wring water out of my gloves.
There was one rock face that I eyed up for a while. I really wanted to hit it, but I just couldn’t work up the nerve. In the dry I would have been all over it, but today was a little different. The line down the face is very off camber. Even though the face was made of grippy rock, I just couldn’t do it. There was lots of green moss on it that just looked a little treacherous. I really, really, really wanted to drop in, but wisely I decided to hold off and ride it another day.
We came across this one rock formation that some people had constructed. There were lots of little plastic toys strewn about in decoration. Things like green army men, and dinosaurs. Bosley (Shawn’s dog), took a liking to the Pteradactyl, and ate it. Someone had even taken the time to construct a maze out of rocks that is meant to be ridden trials style. I tried, and managed to mess up the second corner.
At the end of the Abyss we made our way over to the return trail called Humility. Recent logging meant we had to climb up a logging road. Well, I say recent, when really the logging could have taken place a year ago, and I wouldn’t know the difference. The Abyss/Humility is a trail combination that I used to ride back in my XC days, but it lost its fun during my FR phase. Now, in my riding phase, I am just into having fun while riding again. Yesterday was one of those days.
Grinding up the road in the rain really was not very much fun, but it was a necessary evil. While climbing we took many breaks and rest stops. During one climbing phase I felt like I was hallucinating when I looked down and saw a plastic newt on the side of the road. Shaking my head I realized that it was actually a newt, and wasn’t plastic at all. I stopped and showed the group my find. Very cool. Someday I would love to have a terrarium with a newt in it, but this newt I placed back in a safe place (away from Bosley).
Humility was lots of fun too. Riding it brought back lots of memories of rides gone by. I distinctly remember certain sections of trail, or particular trail features. There is one area where there is a large rock overhang. There is lots of ferns and moss on the rock face above the overhang. When it rains there is almost a sheet of water dripping off the overhang from the plants. Too cool.
Back at the trucks everyone managed to strip down, and put on some cleanish dry clothes. Bosley got a wipe down, then everyone jumped in and we took off.
Somewhere along the way back to Victoria the rain stopped, and the sun came out. Isn’t that always the way? Still it was one of those rides where I felt “on”. I felt like I could ride up or down anything on that trail (even the rock face I didn’t hit, I felt like I could do). I love rides like that.