10 December 2011

Rimcrest and Goat Trails, first return

Saturday, 10 December 2011
Panorama from the Goat Trails, above the Bob Hope mansion
 So today I finally got the self-confidence to return to the Goat Trails above Rimcrest Plaza. Lots of walking the bike and maneuvering with one foot to terra firma, even though I was riding double-track trails for the most part. But as the ride progressed, the tentativity relented except for the most crumbly descents.

The walk-a-bike sections were in what are usual places for my Winter visits to the trails: the steepest part of the second climb (below a north-facing cliff), in the approach of the first hilltop, on the south uphill of the circle around the first hilltop, on the steep escape from the same circle, and a couple of isolated sections after the stone man intersection. With another ride or two through this course, some of these walks will transition to riding, I'm sure. Part of that expected progress is in regaining a sense of body position over the wheels combined with slightly better timing of my shifting.

On the way nearing the stone man intersection, I heard somewhere behind me a police siren, and I stopped to view the course behind me. Stopped at the promontory of the plateau corner was a Palm Springs black-and-white with its lights flashing. I wondered if they were trolling for riders because of some closure that wasn't announced at the gates. The black-and-white continued toward me as I headed on to reach the overlook to Bob Hope's home.

The patrol truck reached another promontory above me as I negotiated a sliding downhill between them and the Bob Hope overlook. I stopped again when their siren sounded, and I whistled a shrill blast after a silence from them. One of the patrolmen had stepped out of the truck, and waved me on. He turned and raised binoculars to sight across the deep divide between Araby Cove and the hills that formed the east side of Palm Canyon, and I looked in that direction. There on the northeast-facing hills was a glider wedged between two outcroppings.

From the overlook above the Bob Hope
mansion, looking north to Palm Springs
I headed on to my goal, and the patrol truck headed down the same trail, showing more traction than I thought possible with the sliding rock and dust trail. They took a turn-off that I knew headed toward a wash through even rougher terrain while I headed the short distance to the overlook.

Heading back from the overlook, I took the same turn-off, even though it meant some tough walk-a-bike stretches. I just had to see if their truck could actually navigate the trail and cross the wash. By the time I had made it through 150 meters of downhill, I saw one of the patrolmen far ahead near the wash, walking the trail toward me. His attention was to his rear, walking up the trail, looking backward below him, and signalling as he went. In a few seconds, the black-and-white passed from behind a ridge. It was returning up the trail in reverse, guided by the gesticulating officer. I too turned around, and reached the main tail only shortly before the patrol truck. To make way for them on the trail back, I took a rockier single-track around the most rocky and steepest double-track while the truck navigated the double-track with much more surety than I could.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 68 to 72°F at 11:00
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm 
Clothing: Skinsuit, ankle socks, SPD-cleated sandals, open-finger gloves
Bike: Trek 3700 trail bike
Time: 01:37:51 for 12.36 miles
Heart rate: not available

Playback of the ride

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