Friday on the MTT: More Mud than Blood

The day had been going well, I had danced from side to side, turned down into and then back up those gullies and crevasses running hundreds of yards along the middle of the trail, I had pulled my shoulder and arms in at strategically opportune moments to avoid long branches of poison oak growing out into my path. I had splashed across streams, and clattered across rocky expanses of canyon bottom. Then, so close to the end of this out and back ride, nearly within earshot of the passing whir of groups of roadies training on Glendora Mountain Road for the upcoming San Dimas Stage Race, there was an abrupt shift in the universe.

In an instant, while on a slight decline into a stream crossing, one of those rocks I had so adroitly, almost expertly avoided for the past two hours suddenly reared up and laid me low. Just like that, a carefully cultivated record of non-crash years came to an end. It was payback, karma coming to collect a debt for big boobs on pavement, or simply time finally catching up. Or it would have been if I believed any of that. Instead, I will let my practical mind simply chalk it up to a moment, one of those things that sometimes happens. As I rolled around in the water, my thoughts were equally in the moment, though far less congenial. The couple who came hiking up the trail a few seconds later, and surely must have heard the ruckus, inquired how my day was going. Surely they witnessed the fun. It really is all in the timing, isn't it?

Funny thing is, before that moment, I had been all set to do a post about signs. Not trail markers, mind you, but things like signs of fitness (or lack thereof), signs of Spring, signs of life, and others passing by. There was a place along the route, a place and moment that I had decided to hike-a-bike (twice a week rides apparently not doing enough to keep me fit); a couple was hiking down the trail, he with a cast on his left arm. "Are you not supposed to be riding that" he inquired. "Clearly that is something I have not been doing enough of" I replied. "While I did a little too much" he said again. Laughs from three mouths rolled over the hills. 

the views from Monroe Truck Trail are some of the best around - here the Mystic Canyon Trail drops down to the spread of urbanity far below

a little further along, at the top of Punk Out, the urban area is even more expansive. GMR wends it way on one side of the canyon, while the MTT snakes along the other, near side

rock rose

soon after coming in view of Baldy's snow covered pate, i came along a section of shaded trail that was covered in white. as i got closer i realized the surface was littered with the tiny petals of ceanothus. that is trail litter i can live with

the views the other direction are not bad either

this was one of those moments, a connection to place. i had noticed this red tail hawk soaring high above a nearby hill. as i rode along it swooped down and along the nearby slope, coming to rest at the top of a deadwood tree. a few seconds later i came up to a point where i was looking down at the tree. the hawk took flight, but then hovered, motionless as if tethered like a kite, to a child unseen down below. i watched amazed, until a few seconds later, a slight tilt of tail and wings and it had shot away, back to the heights above

with a back drop like that, who needs extra decoration, but someone thought so and left a string of mardi-gras beads to ornament that burnt trunk

look for just a second before answering - is anyone not singing "the hills are alive…"?

pre-crash, but still not smiling

letting it lay where it fell. honestly though, now that i see the photo - given the width of the trail here, why was i even over in those rocks?

Know what, all told it was a damn fine day.