A favorite winter Southern California ride, the Palm Canyon Epic did not fail to deliver again. The end of year rains had given us primo dirt and perfect 64oF degree weather, as four of us were itching for something “out of the ordinary”.
Some quick stats on the trail
- Ribbonwood to the city of Palm Springs
- ~29 miles (the way we did it)
- 2,300 feet of climbing, with a 4,000 foot drop in net elevation
- Mountain Bike Bill’s great, detailed review of the trail and there’s plenty of YouTube videos, too
This was the third time I’ve done the ride, each time feeling better and better. One of the things I like about revisiting trails that I only get to once in a while (read: yearly) is the chance to re-evaluate my riding skills and see how I’ve progressed.
That technical section that I didn’t quite make the first time, that drop that seemed so big, or that exposure that was going to land me in cactus … seems a little less daunting as the years go by. Rarely do I pat myself on the back, but in instances like this – I do!
This was the second time I took The Beaten Path Shuttles. Sixty bucks covered a pick up in San Diego, drop off at the top of the trail, a cold one upon completing the ride at the bottom and a no-nonsense ride back to my car. Totally worth every penny. (Plus you get to meet new people!)
Since my Hightower hadn’t gotten any love since BCBR 2019, and I really didn’t want to be stranded on a trail in the middle of no-where… I hauled Mr. Mango into the bike shop.
Like seeing your favorite bartender who knows all your secrets, visiting Matt is much like the same. I didn’t want to admit to him that I had crashed and my front rotor was totally warped – but he noticed it right away and didn’t judge me for it. 🙂
Now that my bike was running a little smoother, I packed up my gear and made sure to include a fresh set of clothes for the 2 hour drive back. I hauled out my backpack; I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of water for the desert ride and packed in trail snacks, a sandwich for lunch, extra pair of socks, tools and a first aid kit. I left room in the bag so that I could take my layers off during the ride. The first aid kit came in handy… and maybe a topic for a future post.
The only thing out of the ordinary that I wore that day was my knee pads, if you take a spill – it’s gonna be on rock or cactus. Some of the guys wore full shin & arm guards to protect them from cactus scratches, but I didn’t experience any of that – and only once brushed my hand too close to one and got a single prick. A success in my book!
We went a little slower than I was expecting, but faster than past runs. I tried my best to embrace my New Year’s goals to enjoy the journey more… and so despite my friend’s crash that ended up in a bloody eye and get a bit lost in the final 5 miles… it was a great day on the bike with my friends.
I used everything in my backpack, and even needed to steal sealant and a CO2 cartridge from my buddy when I realized I fixed everything on my bike – except for refreshing the tires.
So all in, a complete success. And I hope to do the ride one more this “winter” before it get too hot to even think about it.