30 November 2008

Palm Canyon 30/November/2008

As I mentioned in my previous post, a string of errors on my part lead to a fortuituous meeting with Mary and Brendan Collier of Siren Bicycles in Idyllwild. They had already scheduled a Sunday morning ride at Palm Canyon for which they kindly invited me to participate. I was extremely happy to accept as it meant the possibility of riding a new trail with some great riders.

On Sunday morning, I woke around 6:30 again, grabbed some breakfast and headed up the mountain to gain some cell phone service. Once in Idyllwild, I stopped to buy some coffee and discovered that I had a message from Mary about meeting at their place around 8. Fortunately, I had 20 minutes to spare, so I grabbed a coffee and called her back.

After directions to their home, and morning greetings, I went about getting myself ready for riding. The chain needed to be lubed and since I wasn’t going to be driving, I needed to ensure that I had everything I needed out of my car. The past few days were ones of less than average organization, so the search was on to dig out all the necessary items from the back of my car. Fortunately, much of my riding kit is already organized in bags stuffed into a duffle, so I grabbed one of the sacks, ensured that everything needed was inside, and then set to finding the doodads and other items I’d want on the ride. It was quite chilly, but since we were going to be heading into Palm Springs, which had been quite warm the day before, I left the warm clothes in the car.

While I was getting my stuff together, another rider, Dave, showed up. Again, greetings were passed around, and I continued about my work. With everything finally collected from the depths of my car, Brendan attempted to load my bike into the rack on the roof of his car, but the disc brake wouldn’t allow for a fit. We thought about removing the rear wheel and stuffing it into the back of Brendan and Mary’s car, but in the end we decided to load it into the rack on Dave’s Truck.

As we were putting the bike onto his car, the rest of the riding crew arrived. I was introduced to Bill, Randy, Carol Ann and Brett. After some chit-chat, a brief disappearance by Brendan to pick up some stuff at the bike shop, and a stop at the local ‘grocery store’ we were on the road to the trailhead.

We pulled into a parking lot on the north face of Santa Rosa Mountain, unpacked everything from two of the cars, emptied ourselves of the coffee we all had invariably been drinking (the plants in the area probably hadn’t received so much nitrogen rich fluids for some time) and Dave, Brett and Brendan left us to deposit a sufficiently capable number of vehicles at the bottom of the hill.

Those of us who were left settled into a socially comfortable circle on the asphalt and chatted about this and that. I couldn’t help gawking at the three beautiful Sirens that lined the wooden fence. It was decided at some point that as a joke, Mary would swap the break levers on Brendan’s bike. Bets were placed as to how long it would take him to notice the sabotage. After about an hour the guys made it back from Palm Springs and we readied ourselves to ride.

Brendan hadn’t more than straddled his bike before he figured out something had happened. Lazy and good natured accusations and recriminations were made, but Mary quickly confessed her culpability and a good laugh was had by all. The break levers were quickly returned to their normal locations and we headed out.

The beginning section of the trail we rode is called “Pinyon Flats Loop” and this section was a glorious introduction. Fast rolling singletrack with plenty of turns and mildly technical segments to keep us on our toes. The decomposed granite trail was tacky from the rain just three days before, which made the trail that much more fun. From the ridge top, the views of the endless canyons below us was breath taking. While there were plenty of spiny plants near the trail, at this point in the ride they were, for the most part, invisible because of the speed and the beauty of distant hills and valleys. Finally, we descended off the ridge via a series of seven sharp switchbacks that had dropped us several hundred feet. Although we didn’t do Pinyon Flats Loop as a loop, it was at the bottom of these switchbacks that Brendan and Dave pointed out where we would have zigged instead of zagged if a loop had been our goal.

We ended up waiting at this intersection for some time as one of our compatriots repaired a flat. Once he was down, he mentioned something about missing knobies from the tire, but I didn’t pay much heed to his attestation, assuming a minor rather than major issue. It would only come to bear later in the ride that the front tire had insufficient structural integrity to actually be used on a ride of such proportions.

We continued on our way, now surrounded by high canyon walls, with thorny plants closing in on our trail. I was the only one in the group wearing elbow and knee & shin guards so I was mostly oblivious to the flesh tearing spines that hid behind the soft leaves on the thickets of Acacia greggii, commonly known as “Cats Claw”. While we were stopped for one of the innumerable flat repairs, I looked around and saw that everyone except for me had bloody scrapes and scratches on their legs and arms. Dave was particularly well scratched with trickles of dried blood sticking to his shins and calves. I still haven’t gotten over feeling foolish for wearing so much protective gear when I ride, but to see the degree of flesh that had been left on the trailside spines, I was glad for my foolishness.

In addition to the Cats Claw, there were cacti of various sizes and shapes to enforce good bike handling on the narrow ribbon of exposed DG that swelled up and down the lower portion of the canyon walls. Even without touching these enforcers, the structural integrity of the tire mentioned above continued to bear witness to the need to always ride with properly maintained equipment. It would no sooner be repaired than it would blow another tube. There was a concern that we would not have enough spares tubes or patches to get us down the canyon.

We made it to a large rock and stopped for a snack. Brendan had been waiting to spring a surprise treat on the other riders – crackers and oysters – which seemed to be enjoyed by everyone, although I must say that the smell was a bit antagonistic to the Chocolate Builder Bar and banana I was enjoying. After a the snack, and the fifth flat repair, we continued on. The sun was low in the sky, producing a beautiful alpenglow on the golden desert flora.

Shortly after starting, and after throwing almost every tube we collectively carried at the problem, the offending tire flatted again. At this point, the sixth flat, the decision was made to attempt to shore up the sidewalls of the tire with wrappers, paper, and any other item that might help the situation. Carol Ann and I decided to ride forward, leaving Brett, Randy and Bill to repair the flat. Brendan had turned around and ended up returning to help with the flat.

By this point, I was experiencing some difficulties with my Joplin R seat post. It wouldn’t stay extended. While it was fine on the descents, it made the uphill sections much more difficult as I couldn’t get good leg extension and I was a bit too fatigued to ride every uphill section out of the saddle.

Carol Ann and I met up with Mary in the wash, which we then had to ride. With my seat now fully lowered, it was all I could do to keep my legs spinning fast enough to not lose too much ground as Mary and Carol Ann with seemingly effortless pedaling made their way through the sand.

We finally came across a sign stuck in the sand that pointed us to the north, where we immediately noticed Dave sitting patiently, enjoying the buzz of endorphins, exertion, the natural beauty of the surroundings and the tetrahydrocannibinol that was flowing through his brain. We all chatted for a while until Mary recommended that Dave and I continue on our way down the singletrack while there was still light. She and Carol Ann would wait for the others to arrive and instead take the shorter route through the wash to the dirt road.

Dave and I departed with good wishes for a safe ride passed around to all of us, and we were quickly enjoying some sweet singletrack. I was still physically bothered by the lack of leg extension, until Dave recommended that I raise the seat post housing. Duh! I felt a bit silly for not having thought of it myself, but the extra two inches made climbing so much easier. On the other hand, the descents seemed a bit more awkward as my center of gravity was much higher than I’ve been used to since getting the Joplin R.

We quickly made our way to the dirt road, descended rapidly to the community below and rode the asphalt to the shuttle vehicles. Once there, we stretched and chatted and the decision was made to buy some beer. I stayed behind to watch the bikes and Dave returned quickly enough with a tasty 12-pack of brews. I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I can say that the cold, salty taste was just perfect.

It was now very dark. Dave had covered his proverbial you-know-what by calling his wife to tell her he wouldn’t be back until after 8, and we settled in to wait, expecting that the offending tire would ultimately result in the need to walk the bike down the hill. We were pleasantly surprised to see a mass of bicyclists entering the parking lot only a few minutes later.

Bikes were loaded, beers were consumed, hugs and handshakes were given, and we were soon on our way. It was a great day, a great ride, with great company. Lessons were learned and friendships strengthened. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

29 November 2008

Pathfinder Ranch to Idyllwild on the road

I went to the California Men's Gathering at Pathfinder Ranch over the Thanks Giving weekend. On Friday night there was a dance which I ended up co-DJing and even though I expected to be up early in the morning, I was up until well after midnight. So, on Saturday morning when I woke at about 6:30 I was still a bit groggy. I spent about 10 minutes rustling through my things trying to find all the clothing I needed for a ride in the chilly mountain air while trying to not wake the people who were sleeping in the dorm.

After locating all the clothes that I should have organized the night before, I headed to my car where my road bike was sitting patiently in the roof rack. Before I could ride, I had to clean the chain which had gathered enough dirt from the previous week's riding to seem a bit stiff. After cleaning and lubing, I plugged in the ear phones and headed down the road.

When I arrived the on Friday evening, I had gone the wrong way on highway 74, and made a round-about trip through Hemet rather than the more direct way through Anza. However, it was rather fortuitous as I decided to head up the 243 to Idyllwild before going to Pathfinder Ranch.

Just as I was driving through Idyllwild I saw Mary and Brendan Collier of Siren Bicycles. I had followed Mary's adventures on the Tour Divide race. There wasn't any real reason that I looked forward to reading about her daily exploits on that Canada to Mexico race other than that she was the only one from SoCal, so it was like rooting for the "hometown" team. Anyway, I had emailed her about a month before to inquire about riding in the Idyllwild area and her reply told me to contact her closer to the date I'd be in the area. However, when I did that, I didn't receive any reply. I don't know if it was because of troubles with my email account or because she just didn't reply, but seeing the two of them walking down the road made the communication about riding a bit easier if not forced. Had I not gotten stuck in traffic in Temecula and gone way out of my way, I wouldn't have seen them, so I'll thank my rationalization that since Idyllwild was north of Temecula, that I should take Highway 74 North rather than the 371 to 74 South.

We went to a coffee shop to chat and get to know one another. There was going to be a MtB ride on Sunday with some of their friends from Orange County. We exchanged phone numbers and I headed down the mountain. As I drove down, I became aware that past the obvious altitude difference between Idyllwild and Mountain Center at the intersection of Highways 74 and 243, there was an elevation change from the lower Mountain Center to the Keen Camp Summit and then a several mile elevation change from Keen Camp Summit to Lake Hemet.

So, when I got on my bike Saturday morning, I wasn't actually looking forward to the long climb from Lake Hemet to Keen Camp Summit that would be followed by the climb up to Idyllwild. But, I had about 13km to go from Pathfinder Ranch before I got to start climbing, and the road undulated sufficiently to warm my legs up fairly quickly.

The climb to Keen Camp Summit reminded me of climbing Torrey Pines, except that there is almost no shoulder on the road so, I kept watch in my mirror for cars that might cut the corners a bit tight. After I made it to Keen Camp Summit, it was a fast zip down to Mountain Center and then the real climbing started. Except, while it was 5 miles of solid non-stop climbing, I felt like it wasn't very difficult. Sure, it was a grind, but there never came a time where I felt like I needed to stop to rest.

I made it up the hill and to the coffee shop in Idyllwild in a bit over one hour. I sipped a coffee and skimmed through the front section of the newspaper (almost everything in the LA times I had read the day before on the internet which makes me wonder why anyone would read a newspaper anymore.) After about an hour, I decided it was time to head back to Pathfinder Ranch and the California Men's Gathering.

The descent from Idyllwild to Mountain Center was fairly fast. Being on a bicycle I was able to take the turns much faster than the car that I spotted several times in my mirror, so I took the entire lane for myself and swooped into the curves with some gusto, although muted because of cracks and crazes in the tarmac left me uncertain if something might grab my wheel and spill me onto the road.

The climb from Mountain Center back up to Keen Camp Summit was a bit slower than I had expected, but I made it without trouble. Then came the best part of the ride. From Keen Camp Summit down to Lake Hemet was fast and for the most part without sharp curves. I managed to hit 75.3 km/hr, which is the fastest I've ever gone on my bike.

The undulations from Lake Hemet back to Pathfinder Ranch seemed more uphill than down, and when I arrived, breakfast had been over for about half an hour.

27 November 2008

Bike Routes on Google Maps!

You know that Google Maps will get you from place to place by car, but what about by bike? If you think Google Maps should include bike route information, please sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/bikether/petition.html

15 November 2008

MtB Skills Clinic - 2008-11-15

I organized a Mountain Bike Skills Clinic for 15/November through the Southern California Mountain Biker Boys and GayOutdoors.Com. So many people said that they were interested, but when the shit hit the fan, only five of us showed up. It was still a great event, and in actuality, the number of students was just right. It appeared to me that everyone who attended got something out of it to make the modest cost and time committment worth while.

I arrived a bit early at the appointed spot and waited for everyone to arrive. Jake pulled in soon after I did followed by our instructor, Julius Syvanen, then Bill S and Jim H. We waited around for the one remaining person, Peter D. It turns out Peter had been there for about 10 minutes before he started asking around for us. Since there were other people using the spot as a starting point for their rides, I just assumed he was waiting for someone else to meet him. But as soon as he asked some other guys if they were there for the skills clinic, I approached him.


Bill and I have both been riding for 15-20 years. I'd put Jake in the "Intermediate" range, Jim in the "Advanced Beginner" to "Intermediate" skill level, and Peter, has been in the saddle for only a month.

From there, we moved to the actual starting point of the ride, got our bikes set up and Julius started his lecture on center-point balance on the bike and using weighting to turn the bike rather than turning the handlebar. We all practiced on the dead-end street for about 15 minutes before heading off to the trail.
The trail started off with a downhill, which I blasted down, enjoying the opportunity to catch some air on several small jumps. We continued down a trail I used to know as "Cobble 2" until we got to the duck pond near "Shits". It was decided that we would do some technical uphill sessioning while we were all still fresh and the weather wasn't too hot.
We practiced going up a sandy, rutted, steep incline with an obstacle in the middle. Bill climbed it without any problems. It took me several attempts, but I finally made it past the obstacle and some distance further up the hill. Everyone else gave valiant efforts with varying degrees of success. It certainly wasn't an easy climb. The wheels would slide in the loose sand or lose traction, or the gearing we'd set up would be wrong. Regardless, everyone learned some important skills at that early stage of the clinic's ride.
After the climb sessions, we headed down to the canyon's main road and then up Powerline. Once we climbed to the top of Powerline, we headed to Tunnels. After a brief introduction to some additional skills, and pointers on our riding techniques, we started descending into Tunnel #3. This was the first time for everyone except for myself (and Julius), and the common refrain was "I'll be riding here more often". 
We rode down Tunnel #3 (also known as "Rocking Horse" for the old wooden rocking horse hanging from a tree at the top of the trail.) and then emerged in Deer Canyon. After more pointers and tips, and discussion as to whether we were tired or wanted to keep going, we opted for the longer long loop back to the cars. The loop took us on some nice singletrack through Deer Canyon and then back into Tunnels, which we climbed back to the mesa top. 

We rode some fairly technical trails, and I was pleasantly surprised by Peter's dedication, willingness to push his limits and the ultimately, by his strong abilities on the bike. It definitely wasn't an easy ride--there were significant challenges in terms of technical features (sand, loose rocks, narrow steep trails, etc.)

After the clinic, Jake, Julius and I went out to lunch (of course, everyone was invited, but other obligations called the others) where the conversation frequenly veered into the realm of socio-political analysis (Julius is currently a student of Political Science/International Relations at UCSD, and I have an MA in Political Science from UC Irvine and did my undergraduate degree at UCSD.) Jake seemed a bit bored by our rantings, but the food was good no one seemed anxious to leave.

12 November 2008

[Updated] Another Rush!!

Updated: Link to the video of my jump

OK, this post isn't about mountain biking, but it's about something just as exciting. Today [26/October/2008] I went skydiving! It was an absolute blast. I took my son for his 19th birthday and enrolled us in the Accelerated Free Fall solo jump course at Skydive San Diego. My dear friend Beth from Martha's Vineyard came along with the intent to do a tandem jump. Due to concerns about her knee she decided that she didn't want to jump, but after watching how smooth and soft the landings were for several dozen other people, she decided to do the tandem jump after all.

We started out early in the morning, leaving Encinitas at around 6:30am and arriving at the Otay Lakes site just a little before 8am. Our course was scheduled to start at 8, but as was to be expected, there was paperwork to do and after waiting for late arrivals, so we finally got started with ground school around 9.

Once we got going, ground school went pretty fast with only 6 people in the class. We learned hand signals that the in-air instructors would be giving us. We also learned the correct position for free fall, how to control the chute once it was open, the mechanics and parts of a parachute and how to recover from possible malfunctions. It was a bit awkward, in my opinion, that the last 45 minutes of the class were about possible malfunctions, rather than ending the class on a more positive note by burying the unlikely malfunctions in the middle of the class.

We also spent a good amount of time going over the airplane exit procedures and body position. The all important "arch" was drilled into us from the moment we got into the classroom.

My son and I were the first to practice the exit procedure with an actual chute on. Man, they were a lot heavier than I would have thought, and after twenty minutes with them on, my shoulders were screaming.

The instructor had us lay on the ground to practice the free fall arch position, while he came around to check whether we were "relaxed" enough and in the right position to allow him to flop us around. With the chute still on, it was not easy to keep in a good position. I was really glad when he told me to let someone else try on the parachute.

After the ground school was finished, we sat around and waited to be manifested on a plane. This was one of the points where Skydive San Diego appeared to be unorganized, at least for the uninitiated. After about an hour of waiting, I decided to ask what the deal was, and was told that we'd be jumping around 3pm. With about 90 minutes to spare, I decided that we should head off to East Lake Village to pick up some lunch (since the only food that they had on site were burgers and pizza, neither of which was very enticing to me. My son decided to order a specially made sushi roll, and the fellow making it was about as slow as he could possibly be and still make progress. After about 10 minutes of making the roll, we were back on the road, and another 10 minutes later we were back at the drop zone.

Just as we got back we heard my son's name being called over the loud speaker and he rushed to get a jump suit, parachute and then kitted up.

Fortunately, we were all manifested on the same plane, but while Hakan was suited up and ready to go, there was no one who seemed to be able to provide any information about me or Beth, other than that we were all on the same plane.

After a while, with only about 20 minutes to go before we were supposed to load up into the plane, someone one of my in flight instructors finally showed up and got me kitted up. After suiting up, he ran me through the exit and jump procedures one more time, and then told me to go to the waiting area. Beth took one more picture of Hakan and I before we headed out to the plane, a twin prop Otter.

On the walk out, our camera flyers (I bought the "delux video package" for both of us) filmed us and asked us how things were going.

Once on the plane we took our seats, somewhat crowded together, with Beth all the way at the front of the plane, Hakan a few spaces further back, and I was somewhere in the middle of the plane. I had one of my in-air instructors to my right and one across the isle from me.

As we climbed, the in-air instructors asked me what I would do at the specific altitude we were at. At 5500' I told them I would pull the rip cord. At 6000' I told them that I would wave off and reach for the rip cord. It was at that point that all the training seemed to disappear from my head. When they asked me what the different hand signals meant I couldn't remember "Circle of Awareness" (checking the altitude on the altimeter and scanning the horizon.) I recovered my composure, but felt very awkward for having forgotten something so basic.

When we got to 13000' they opened the door and people started jumping out. Very quickly the back half of the plane was empty and it was my turn. One in-air instructor positioned himself outside the airplane and the other just on the inside.

I shouted "Check In" to the instructor inside and "Check Out" to the outside instructor, each responding with "Check". I looked down but VERY quickly decided it was best to just look forward at the propeller and wing. I then ran through the three steps: "Drop" (lowering my shoulder so I was no longer wedged in the doorway), "Prop" (I continued to look forward at the propeller), and "Jump" (stepping out of the airplane). Strangely enough, just writing this has caused my heart to race and give me butterflies in my stomach.

As I started to fall, I could feel the turbulance of my body and tried to figure out how to make them stop. Then, one of my instructors shook me, reminding me to relax and arch. I did so, and all the turbulance stopped and the free fall felt very smooth.

They ran me through the different skill checks (altitude awareness, practice handle touches, more altitude awareness) and kept telling me to straighten out my legs. They were giving me hand signals, to do all this, which would have been much better had I been aware of what it would be like because they seemed to be in the periphery of my vision rather than easily seen. Of course, everything was in the periphery of my mind at this point with the exception of falling. I checked my altimeter and we were at 7000'.

The next thing I knew one of the in-air instructors was telling me to pull the rip cord. I reached down, grabbed the handle and threw it as I had been taught. My in-air instructors were quickly gone below me as my chute opened, leaving me by myself.

The parachute had opened properly and I grabbed the toggles and tested out turning to the right and turning to the left, and then finally flaring to slow the parachute down.

I looked down below me and the ground was quickly approaching (all though, not nearly as fast as it had been when I was free-falling at 120 miles per hour.) I turned this way and that, experimenting with the way that the parachute worked, enjoying myself as I watched the ground approach.

When I got to 1000', I started working my way down the air strip as we had been instructed, turning to cross the airstrip at 500' and then heading into the wind at 250'. At this point I heard a crackle on the radio instructing me that I was doing great. As I approached the ground the voice on the radio told me "not yet", "not yet", "not yet", "not yet" and then finally "Flare". I was about 10' feet off the ground and I pulled the toggles all the way down, bringing me to a very soft landing.

I gathered up my parachute and headed back to the waiting area. I was looking for Hakan and Beth as I walked, and just as I got to the fence, Beth and her Tandem Instructor came floating down. Beth had a smile on her face that was so big, it extended past her ears! I still didn't see Hakan anywhere. There was only one more person descending, and I figured that had to be him. He too made a perfect landing.

I dropped my parachute off, got comments on my jump from the in-air instructors who gave me my log book, and decided right then and there that I was going to continue on toward my A-Licence (25 jumps).

We chatted on the way back to Encinitas, everyone was thrilled, excited and stimulated. I feel like I've embarked on a new adventure that will keep me engaged for a long time.

Of course, I still have Mountain Biking, so when I'm not jumping out of planes, I'll be riding single track. Now, if I can just figure out a way to combine the two... :)

05 November 2008


It sure would be nice to see some thaw happening in the gears of county and city management with respect to the San Diego Mountain Biking Association/National Mountain Bike Patrol. But, we might see the end to several glaciers around the world before anything in government happens.
I spoke with a representative from the county before I went to Moab in the beginning of October and she claimed that she was unable to get the ear of her boss to talk about the NMBP and the coordination required to make a viable alternative across county and city governments for us to volunteer without needing background checks and orientations for each park and city and the county itself. Now, almost 5 weeks later, she still hasn't been able to meet with him. It's no wonder so little happens.
I have also tried to contact the trails coordinator for the city of San Diego about 10 times. He returned my call once and left me a message. I've left my cell and home phone number and email, but I'm getting frustrated. On top of that, he's not even the person I need to deal with, but is supposed to be able to point me in the right direction.
On a more positive note, CNLM, which manages La Costa, Flightline and Calaveras is very interested in having us patrol, but I'm caught in that loop of the person I am talking to has to talk to someone else who probably has to talk to someone else and then the chain flows back. I'm waiting for a call back right now...
Maybe we'll have a patrol going by 2099 :(

02 November 2008

2008-11-01 La Costa Conservation Area

Jake and I were expecting to be joined by some others, but as it was, we had the whole trail to ourselves as we started the climb up the switchbacks. I was a bit apprehensive about the ride because I forgot to bring my guards, so I didn't push the limits as much as I would have had I been wearing them.
We climbed the switchbacks in pretty good time. Since this was Jake's first time at La Costa, he was distracted by the views of Batiquitos Lagoon to the west. I have to admit, even though I've ridden La Costa many times, the view of the ocean is always a welcomed sight, not to mention that even on a warm, clear day, the ocean breeze keeps things cool and refreshing.
After climbing to the top of the hill, we jetted down the fire road on the other side, through the old green waste site and then up to the next water tower. I was feeling a bit slow, but I kept my pace as fast as I could. Jake wasn't far behind, and after a very brief stop at the top of the second hill, we headed back down. Just as we got through the gate, back into the conservation area, two other guys were going up hill. We sailed past them. When we got to the bottom, Jake commented about how he thought the downhill run seemed to be a shorter distance than the uphill, even though we rode the same trail.
We were quickly climbing back up the back side of the conservation area. I could really feel the strain of the climb in my legs, so I was glad when we got off the fire road and onto the little serpentine singletrack since it's much flatter. We stayed on the singletrack, crossing the road, and continued on our way down the southwest side of the hill. 
On the way down, I encountered a pair of hikers. I politely pulled over to let them pass, motioning to them that they could continue on and saying that they had the right of way. The woman snidely remarked that no one else had ever stopped for her. I thought to myself, that while she may be right in her indignation, she probably had never come out to do any trail work, and that the trail we were on was built by mountain bikers and not hikers.
Anyway, as we reached the bottom and started on the short uphill section back to the Calle Sitio trail, Jake looked ahead and saw two riders going up the switchbacks and thought we were going to climb back up. He let out a loud "Oh Gyan" that was reminiscent of vocalizations I've heard during other pursuits, but I assured him that we weren't going to climb back up again. I don't think he trusted me, because he stayed put until, I assume, it became evident that I was heading on a flat trail and not upward.
Afterward, we enjoyed a nice conversation at my house while sipping cool water and watching some mountain bike videos.