Rode a nice 50-ish mile loop yesterday not too far from the house. Drove up to China Wall about 20 min up the road and then got on the bike for another 15 miles up the pavement to Robinson Flat where it turns to dirt. I had to check out the Duncan Pk Fire Lookout and see the panorama from up there (7182 ft). I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have been able to ride a regular bike up there at this time of year if we’d seen normal snowpack (sub-20% of normal right now I read). After leaving the Lookout, I followed what turned out to be a very bad map (Trails Illustrated). For you that are interested, the Western States trail does not go where the map says, and the Delorme map on my GPS was dead wrong too. You turn on CR44 to Cavanah Ridge and that’s the trail. But trusting the maps I headed down towards Mosquito Ridge Rd a couple miles trying to find signs and the turnoff. Once I found the trail (it’s a dirt road for awhile) I eventually dropped back onto Last Chance road. I hadn’t seen a car all day, on a Saturday mind you, until I almost ran head first into my neighbor (literally, he’s my neighbor) coming up the hill from his mining claim at Last Chance. As luck would have it, he pushed me off the main road to where there was an upside down trail sign with an Auburn Bike Works sticker on the back. Turned it over and the arrow pointed to the Tahoe Sierra 100 race route that follows the WS trail. Aha! I was now certain I was going the right way.
So then it was some old 4×4 trail that had narrowed and rutted, and on I descended down to where Last Chance Rd takes you down to the end of the road – Pacific Slab Mine and the old townsite. Pretty crazy how far out that miners town was and how difficult the trail west to the supply towns was (is). After browsing around the town I dropped into the WS trail and down to one of the several forks of the American River. After re-watering thanks to my lil MSR water filter I hiked the 2 miles out of there to Deadwood and rode back up Deadwood road to the truck. I saw another rattlesnake, this time on the trail right after swinging bridge. Five and a half hours, 8K plus of climbing and only taking a couple wrong turns! Not bad. But I followed the WS trail signs on Last Chance road and missed a huge section of singletrack unfortunately. Newb. It’s ok though, I’ll be back.