In which our protagonist’s eyes are bigger than his tires
Abandoned by my spouse for the day (apparently my charms pale in comparison to a canoe, any canoe), I figured I’d check out Morton and Dranoel for a bit of climbing and to see how the dirt and gravel surfaces are holding up.
Hitting the south end of Dranoel, I was delighted to find that the recent wet weather has caused the 3-5" deep pack of soft Gararaska Forest sand that is the typical surface of local fire roads to stiffen up enough to be ridden with 1.5" slicks.
So I continued south on Fire Route 601 to Fallis Line. Then west a titch to Glamorgan Rd. and south to Pontypool Rd.. Crossing the 115, I continued south on Glamorgan planning to head east back across on Zion Line which has very nice pavement (it’s part of the Shimano Gran-Fondo route).
Halfway back across Zion I notice Fire Route 301, it looks very rideable today. Pulling out my phone I check the maps. I looks like it might connect up with 3rd line and continue east, but it’s hard to tell. The sun is shining and I’m feeling fine so off I go down into the valley.
It’s a bit more technical than 601 but there are some great suprises, including a wonderful procession of stately pines that flank the bottom end. Unfortunately, it all comes to an end at a gate marked Private.
The homeowner was out, so I ask about 3rd. The road ends here, 3rd is about 800 meters further east, requiring bushwacking down a steep ravine, crossing a creek and climbing the other side. Not happening today. Not happening on this bike. Man, I really need a 27.5" monstercross.
After grinding the 3 km back up to Zion I raced the rain back into town, managing to get hit just as I was crossing the new, unpaved Airport Rd. reconnection. Having seen to it that I was good and mudded up, the rain disappeared just as soon as I left the dirt. I went from puddles to dry pavement in the space of 50 meters.