It's definitely fall here now, despite the slightly warmer than usual temperatures, with most of the leaves off the trees and the wind being stronger than it's been all summer. It's also definitely fall in that there are very few people out on the trails, either on foot or on two wheels. Personally, I like riding this time of year: it's cooler and with fewer leaves on the scrub oaks, it's easier to see if anyone is coming at you on the trails. Trail work has also stepped up a bit, including a re-routing of our regular ride. The climb that we called "My Nemesis" has been closed for re-vegetation and a new trail has been installed in its place. It still takes you to the top of the same hill that My Nemesis did but instead of a straight slog up, there are several switchbacks, making the climbing easier but longer.
At the bottom of what used
to be My Nemesis
I was not riding my best for some reason, feeling very wobbly on the rockier spots and whenever I was going very slowly. I even tipped over into a sagebrush bush on an uphill switchback to the right on the Nouvelle Loop, one that I've ridden dozens of times, simply because I was going just too slowly. At other times I did pretty well, however, climbing the Sweet Sixteen switchbacks just less than two minutes slower than H, and climbing the Staircase as well as I ever have. My legs were well-rested, at least, and my lungs weren't suffering from a week at sea level.
Updated Round Valley route map
We are actually hopeful that this will have been the last MTB of the season: it's practically November and in theory the weather will turn too cold and wet and snowy for any more rides. It's been a good MTB season. Now it's time to turn to something else. Fingers crossed!