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Returning to the Daylight at McDowell

McDowell Mountains, Coachwhip, Pemberton, Bluff, Dixie Min

Nice trails, awesome views

It’s been awhile since I’ve started and finished a mountain bike ride in daylight. With the brutal summer weather, I’ve spent the past few months starting in twilight and ending well after dark.

I came back to the day side Sunday – but only after watching a rather head-scratching car accident on my way to the trail (I suspect driving while texting was at fault).

Like a big dummy, I also left my two frosty, frozen bottles of live-giving Cytomax (perfect for our still-toasty temperatures, a late morning start and a long haul) home in the freezer. I didn’t want to ride without electrolytes, so I stopped at Slippery Pig Bike Shop Too. Doug hooked me up with some bottles, some of those new-fangled Alka-Seltzerish electrolyte tabs and cool water.

I put it in about 30 miles on the Pemberton, Dixie Mine, Bluff and Coachwhip (which is a trail named for a snake named after a coach whip) trails. I took down a pair of Clif shots and a Primal Strips vegan jerky bar (saltiness) in addition to my fluids. I think that wasn’t quite enough – I felt pretty worked for the rest of the day.

Pemberton GPS track

GPS track from an earlier Pemberton/Dixie Mine/Windmill ride. This does't show the most recent route that included bits of the Bluff and Granite trails.

The cool thing about riding in the day again is being able to see everything. I can carry my speed more confidently since every potential obstacle is in plain view. Things can hide on you at night … the circle of light from my handlebar and helmet lamps can’t show me everything. That makes things a bit more fun. I don’t think the county parks hold their organized nightrides until summer returns, so I won’t get my favorite fix of night riding for several months.

I noticed that most people out Sunday on the Pemberton were riding counterclockwise. Not my favorite way to handle it – the far north side is a long bit of false flat through some fairly sandy conditions. No thanks! I might go up the Bluff Trail and then take the rest of it counterclockwise. That could be fun. I also need to take the Windmill Trail further. Last time I rode it, it was pretty rocky and raw without much flow to it. But it might be worth another look.

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