As the autumn here at the Northwest deepens, I love traveling to the Bay Area, even though it is usually for more work and not much relaxation. Fall is generally enjoyed most by the SF dwellers for its clear days, though I feel best when the mercury is above 80F and thus prefer the South Bay.
Back home, low clouds, grey skies, drizzle, falling leaves and chilly mornings were quite a contrast. More work, long days in the lab, long evenings at the computer. After spending a Saturday morning removing the soaked remnants of four huge tomato plants from the deck, I went to explore trails at Cougar Mountain, using this course map of a 10 mile running race:
So Sunday was another "big cat" day: Tiger Mountain closes for mountain biking on October 15 and this was the last chance of the season. I guess "sunny" forecast in mid October means low clouds and fog until 1PM, then few sunny breaks and more low clouds rolling up the hillsides by 5PM. The ride starts with a decent fire road climb, but I felt great and pushed the pedals with energy to spare. At the summit I put a Goretex jacket on, dropped the seat post three inches (I really really need a 1x11 drivetrain which would free the left side of the handlebar for a dropper seat post lever!), and hit the trail. The top part is a superb pump track and I grinned like an idiot going a bit too fast. The middle part of the mountain happened to be in a thick fog, which made the riding a little risky with low visibility and fogged up glasses.
My idiotic grin disappeared from my face at the lower section after getting my chamois soaked through by riding in a stream of muddy water and numerous puddles. Many rock and root drops landed in puddles where you could not see how deep it was and what lurked underneath the surface. Riding wet roots and rocks downhill is a real mountain biking! The final part of this ride on a deep green XC trail was just as good. Bye Tiger, I love you!