Dustin Bell and I headed up to Lockwood Valley in order to test his new Yamaha WR426. We wound up having a pretty good day with some unforeseen setbacks. First, I somehow locked my keys in the truck, a feat a have never previously achieved. So I had to unload Dustin's bike and ride it the mile back to my house so I could get the spare key (I used his bike because mine is so not street-legal).When we got to Lockwood Valley we rode the 16 mile round trip on Grade Valley Road. While crossing a deep and wide creek at high speed I somehow lost one of my radiator fairings. For further insult, my bike started bogging down and dying immediately after starting. It took a while for Dustin to discover the vacuum leak and after a quick fix we headed over to the Yellow Jacket Loop. Sadly, that trail was closed due to the likelihood of dead-fall trees (the area had burned in the Day Fire of '07). What to do?
We got back on Lockwood Valley and rode a few canyons over to the east. Some guys pointed us toward the Frazier Peak Trail, where, on the summit still stands an old Forest Service fire tower. Off we go. Most of this was technical, steep, rocky, rutted, and tough. We climbed numerous steep, loose sections of trail. First gear, throttle, hang on. We were at about 7,200ft when I lost my bike halfway up a 40 degree slope. My rear tire was all over the place on the loose dirt, ruts, tree roots and then I just lost it on a rock and had to do this weird kabuki dance to avoid the bike while sliding downhill. When I got to the bike I saw that the brake lever was tweaked. I'd had enough for one day.So, despite the mechanical malfs, the heat (100) the difficulty, we had really enjoyed ourselves. This was a fantastic day overall. No injuries. New trails. Fix the bike and head back up to that fire tower on Frazier Peak summit. Oh, crap! I gotta fix a few things first. By the way, Dustin's a great rider. Glad I have a friend to ride with.
North to South: Evolution Basin and Muir Pass
2 weeks ago