It's been 3 weeks since I've last ridden Noble. With all the rain that we've had lately, especially on weekends, I didn't know what to expect. I've got to say that today's ride totally blew my mind! I started my ride at about 8:30 or so. There were no cars in the lot when I departed. The skies were clear and the temp was probably in the low 40's.
The first thing that struck me was how killer the dirt was. And, surprisingly I didn't see much evidence of trail damage from impatient equestrians and bikers. The dirt was buffed and washed clean, perfect traction everywhere.
The last few Noble rides that I've done were like postcard scenes with all of the water running. This lastest round of storms has dumped even more water on the mountain, and there are twice as many streams as my last visit up there. The trail work we did recently really set in nicely. The water drainages that we put in worked perfectly.
There were streams running on Extra Credit, that I've never seen before. There must be a dozen streams on Whore. They are much wider and flowing even more water.
Climbing up Pine Creek road was as ugly as ever. It's amazing how when you don't do that climb regularly, what a #%&*^$ it is. There were streams of water running on both sides of the road and in many spots they crossed the road.
After a brief rest stop at the Oak tree, I ventured on to Indian Creek. More streams on the fireroad in places that I've never seen. Still great dirt, not muddy at all.
Indian Creek was killer. Best dirt I've seen in a long time. Mild temps. There was more water running at the waterfall than I've ever seen before. I sat there for awhile and just listened to the water cascading down the rocks. I gave the waterfall my best shot. The traction was perfect. Still, I was being denied. Foolishly, I gave it 7 attempts and got real close on a few. So, I decided to give it one last shot, knowing full well that this many tries was probably going to fry my legs for the rest of the climb.
I went from 4 to 3 as I rounded the corner and tried a little different line. BINGO! This was the right combo. I got past that bloody hip and snicked it down a gear and cruised the rest of the way to the summit. Man, it felt killer! That climb has been F'n with me for months now.
I was up at the Crow's Nest by 1215. The temp was probably in the low 40's. I hung out and ate some lunch. I saw no one coming up the trail. The descent off of Champagne Pass was INSANE! Perfect dirt, with some nice new chunk thrown in. Down at the creek, I ran into some hikers. They were the first people that I had seen all day. So far, so good, and, no real trail damage from all of the rain.
Climbing out from the creek, the trail is in fine shape. The trail work that we did on Indian Creek really turned out well. No tracks from bikers or horses. It looks awesome.
From Indian Creek, I headed up Noble, to Penny Pines, staying on the singletrack. Still, mild temps and no wind. Again, I saw nobody descending. There are 2 huge Pines that fell across the trail near the summit. They'll need the forest service to remove them.
The water was turned off at the well. From Penny Pines I rode down Sunrise highway, but stopped at the lookout to see the view of the desert floor. UNREAL. This day was one for the books. Along the road, there was a bit of snow in the shady areas. I refilled my Camelbak at the Big Laguna campground
At mile marker 25, I cut into Big Laguna trail. The dirt was again perfect. Where Big Laguna trail intersects the trail to head up to Middle Earth there was a huge stream that was somewhat difficult to cross without getting wet. I've never seen water running in this spot. The ride up through Middle Earth was surreal. There were so many streams and watercrossings. The whole ride up to the summit, I could see and hear water rushing along side of the trail. More snow remained in the shady areas. The Pines seemed to be really digging all of this rain. The whole place is ultra green and mossy. Almost neon in color. I think this was my favorite part of the ride today.
The singletrack down to the graveyard was crazy. Velcro dirt. No brakes needed, just point and shoot. When I got back on BLT, I could see the water level in Big Laguna lake. It's pretty high. I've never seen it this full. Springtime is going to be epic up there, I can't wait.
BLT was the first part of the whole ride that I finally ran into soupy conditions. There were a few areas where boneheads had ridden in the wet clay, and just made a mess. I walked the bike through a few sections to avoid further damage. There was also evidence of a lot of people riding off trail or straightlining to avoid the water running down the trail. It's too bad.
The BMX track is totally wasted. The trail is under running water in many areas. The erosion is really brutal in spots.
Back on Noble and the day is getting late. I'm almost out of food. So, I start hustling down the trail. I still have not seen one other rider. The trail is in awesome shape. Railing through the forest, like a slot car. Lot's of water running everywhere. The stream that's running along side of the trail is more like a river in this area. The switchback section is really fun right now. The lead in to the Widowmaker is a full running stream. Past the Camber of Death, there is a section that is so devoid of dirt, I had to stop and walk back up to relearn the line. It's drastically different. Trippy.
The last stream crossing, before you enter the desert...... This is now a full on raging river. There are no rocks to walk across. It's deep. It looked way too deep to even consider riding through. I pondered for awhile how I was going to get across. I even backtracked up the trail aways to see if I could find a crossing, but the river only seemed wider uptrail.
So, the options lookin slim, I resigned to the fact that I'm going to have to get wet. Back at the crossing, I removed my shoes and socks and removed my leg warmers. Carrying the bike on my back, I began to cross the river. My feet instantly went numb. I started to lose my footing as the current was really strong, and I kept stubbing my toes on the rocks. Somehow, I made it across without going for a swim. After drying off, I put my stuff back on. I started feeling lightheaded. I had been out of food for awhile it was getting near 5:00 pm and I was pretty spent.
As I rode through the desert, the river below was just awesome. I almost rode off trail a few times watching it as I pedaled.
After stairway, the sun was now behind the mountains and it was getting dark. I was cold and hungry and the remaining streams were way to high to cross, so I chose not to climb Whore and do extra credit. Instead, I took the bailout back to the road, and then took that side action trail back to parking lot. It was dark when I got back to my car.
I changed into some dry clothes, packed up, and bee-lined for Manana's.
Total ride time, 9 hours. Probably around 32 miles.
Do your self a favor and get up there asap. These conditions are unreal. I wish that I had brought my camera.
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Thread: Noble Canyon, update (long)
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