Saturday, August 17, 2019

Ride to Nowhere at Palisades Fondo

As evidenced by the photos, The Palisades Pie ride started early this morning in cool conditions. Sasha was the only local to opt for the 113 mile distance featuring about 11,000 feet of climbing. As far as we know he is still out on the course somewhere. **Update  (Sasha successfully completed the long ride.  He describes it as very difficult with sections of full-suspension mountain bike type conditions), The rest of us registered for the short course, 60 miles with 6000 feet of climbing.
The organizers mentioned the need for some route finding but we did not take that warning as seriously as we should have. There was an intersection about 10 miles in—a hard right from a major gravel road onto a smaller gravel road. Jeff, Ryan, Chris, and I were all together, just behind a couple of Jackson riders when we blew past the intersection without a second glance. (It was “marked” with pink tape). We did not realize we were off course for almost 20 miles. Jeff was the first to feel uncomfortable, I was the last, happy with our steady progress on good gravel. By the time we recognized our mistake and returned to the missed turn, completion of the course would have required 90 miles of total riding.
We opted to return to the start. Our total ride was 51 miles with 4000 feet of vertical through high meadows with small streams and grassy hillsides, evocative of Copper Basin. By almost any standard it was an outstanding ride although not the one that we were planning on.

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