Being at work early today paid off on the back end: I got to skip early and head for the trails. Rather than another abortive attempt at getting a ride in, I headed for a sure thing on familiar turf: Cheeseboro Canyon.
My general plan was to ride a large loop north up Palo Comado Canyon, then east to Shepherd's Flat, and south down Cheeseboro Canyon back to the trailhead.
Unfortunately, I got rolling a little later than I expected to, and had to make some concessions to fading daylight. I cut from the Palo Comado trail over to Cheeseboro Canyon via the Ranch Center trail.
The Ranch Center trail is only 1.2 miles, but it's one hard-ass climb. I walked most of it, cursing the whole way, and praying that I wasn't wrecking my foot all over again. The descent was even steeper, (do not attempt this trail west-to-east) with me squeezing hard on both brakes nearly the whole way down.
That dropped me onto the Cheeseboro Canyon trail, about mid way between the trailhead and Shepherd's Flat. I did a quick check of remaining daylight, and headed north.
I hit Shepherd's Flat just as the sun finally sank below the hilltops, and was treated to a wonderful moment. The cool of night was starting to set in, and the tips of all the hills around were still catching a bit of daylight. Earlier, when I'd stopped to take this picture, I had thought I'd heard a mountain lion growl. Now at the Flat, I spotted what had made that noise: a particular kind of little bird was flitting from bush to bush, and its wingbeats sounded like a cat purring, or a far-off motorbike.
After a minute's rest, it was time to high-tail it back to the trailhead before full dark set in. Not a problem. I know this trail really well, and it's mostly downhill heading home, so it was a fast, smooth ride back over the sandy stretch and down past Sulpher Springs and back to my car.
All in all, I'd spent a total of about 80 minutes on the trail, and covered a little more than 10 miles. Not bad, considering that long hike-a-bike up the Ranch Center trail.
After packing up my gear I headed over to Boulderdash for a couple hours of climbing. I thought I'd be pooped, but I had a great night. Knocked off a fun new climb, and finally got to the top of a 40-foot .10b that I've been working on for a while. Now I've got the moves, I just need to put them together. I can feel that I'm close to getting this one. I even had enough energy to bust a few push-ups outside while Timbo was having a smoke.
After that it was home again, home again, jiggety-jig for microwaved lazagna and veggies (Stoffer's, yuck), and a wonderful night's sleep.
I cannot wait for daylight savings time. I can do this every day.