Gov't Canyon, San Antonio = FUN-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Gov't Canyon, San Antonio = FUN

    i drove into SA last week with the wife for a quick getaway, and was able to have a getaway from the getaway to ride the back country of gov't canyon. it seems like the majority of the opinions i've read rate it very low, but (other than a wheel mechanical) i found the trail somewhat challenging, yet very enjoyable

    the sky was overcast and the weather didn't get above 84, so it was a very manageable summer day. some people said that riding the back country would leave you vulnerable to the sun, but it felt like the trees would provide pretty good coverage the majority of the time.

    i started off on joe johnston and made my way to caroline's loop. JJ was a very mellow ride (and it got boring my third time on it - more on that later), and i wished it was much shorter before getting to the good stuff, the whole out and back being about 10 miles. because of its relative chillness, you run into a lot of hikers on here. farther in you come across dinosaur tracks that have been there for millions of years (thousands for the creationists) and primitive areas used for cooking by our ancient ancestors. i had never heard that there was this kind of history so close and accessible, so that was very cool to experience

    the fun (and problems) started at caroline's loop. the trail got nice and technical; it starts off with 100 meters of climbing before descending back down to meet up again with JJ. unfortunately on one of my ledge climbs, my tubeless setup burped air. in the 5 years i've been riding hill country terrain, i've never had a problem, so naturally my pump was in my car. and naturally murphy's law would come into effect at that point in my ride. i was halfway in caroline's, which meant the climbing was done, but i had to begin a very slow descent back tracking to the car.

    3 miles and 30 slow minutes later, my tire was pumped and ready to go (so i thought), but at least my pump was in my pack. thus began my 3rd pedal down JJ, this time passing up caroline's and hitting the end of JJ on to sendero balcones. again, this is where the fun started. right before getting to this trail, JJ actually changes into technical territory somewhat like caroline's loop. i love the challenge of rocky ledges and long slogs uphill, the numbness in my legs and lungs adds to the thrill of conquering these climbs. and with every ascent, there's a descent. well...eventually. after a short, spirited downhill, my wheel decided burping air once wasn't enough, it had to spring a leak by one of my spokes which led to a couple 15 minutes sessions of tiresomely hand pumping a tire.

    i decided to take it easy until the DH section at wildcat canyon and then get the tire pumped a last time and hit it hard. i've read comments saying the time and effort to get to the fun sections aren't worth it, but i completely disagree. the climbs here are difficult, but not impossible. and the downhill bits are fast and challenging. being able to bike right next to where dinosaurs have left their mark, or primitive humans who recently discovered fire cooked their meals, makes the experience even more unforgettable. and wildcat, even on a leaky tire, was a thrill

    i can see myself coming back here and doing all of this over (with the exception of mechanical issues) and looping back around a 2nd time to finish off the last half of sendero. i skipped it this time to ride wildcat and was defeated by my deflated tire at the end. i'm willing to put my body through a little bit of pain again to ride everything the back country has to offer. it is completely worth it

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Thanks for the report. I'm going next week and I will visit

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: natas1321's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    you might also want to check out hill country state natural area in bandera which is a lot of fun, and flat rock ranch if you are around after the first of jan.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    We usually start by climbing Far Reaches and then down Wildcat. Circle around and ride Sedero Balcones to the end to pick up Caroline Loop. Form there. Little Windmill to Twin Oaks. This minimizes time spent on Joe Johnson and also breaks that time into several small segments. Basically, you using Sendero Balcones as your transit way you get Chronicles of Gnarnia vs an old wagon trail.

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