Riding the Wrightwood 50

Southern California just got another “Must Do” ride added to the annual list.  

yep, those mountains are BIG
yep, those mountains are BIG

Cut to the chase: if you’re into this sort of riding, you really want to make sure you ride this next year. 
The WW50 is a self-supported endurance ride similar in concept to our own San Jacinto Enduro. A single day ride, totally self-supported… up a bunch of mountains and back down a bunch of mountains. The whole shebang. Real deal big mountain riding. It’s put on by a guy who knows a thing or two about riding mountain bikes. Eric Nelson is a Tour Divide finisher, owner of Wrightwood Cyclery, and straight up good dude. A real ambassador of riding in his area.

Sucking wind at 6:45am
Sucking wind at 6:45am

My buddy Dave and I pulled in to Wrightwood at about 6:20am, 10 minutes before the start. Ideally we’d have spent the previous night in Wrightwood, but the realities of being a dad and a bike shop owner got in the way. And that’s a real shame, because Wrightwood is a cool town to spend some time in.
We huffed up to the line just before the start, and set off.
I hadn’t been on any of the trails before the ride and wasn’t familiar with the course, other than to know the first climb, Acorn, was supposed to be a real ass-kicker.
And it was.
Something like 2800ft of gain on loose trail within 4 miles… with a jaw-dropping view at the top.

The pack was starting to spread out by this point, and I followed the herd down Blue Ridge… and followed the rider in front of me right past my very first turn on the cues. I didn’t realize the error until some point much later in the ride, when I came across Eric. Turned out I missed a singletrack descent, and the following climb. Darnit.
So I decided to ride everything else and have a good time.

Surprise refreshments at the top of a particularly heinous climb
Surprise refreshments at the top of a particularly heinous climb

Ride highlights included “Leprechaun” trail, a thicket of shred interspersed with Troll (or leprechaun) artifacts.
“Manzanita” trail was my favorite; a high speed descent on loose terrain with the occasional death-defying maneuver… followed by a very long climb that demanded inner peace.

There was some of this...
There was some of this…
... and a lot of this.
… and a lot of this.

“Boy Scout” trail’s flow almost lulled me into a trance, but the moments of exposure to long drops off trail kept me alert.
Table Mountain Road? That sucked. Table Mountain Trail? That made it worth it. Super worth it.

"Get your ass kicked... and like it!"
“Get your ass kicked… and like it!”

 

 

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