Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tale of Two Trails Part II: Winsor Top to Bottom

Trail begins just below peak @ center
Wow, 3,400 vertical feet drop. In 10 miles! Down thru aspen groves, ponderosa forests, stream crossings even. Winsor Trail's reputation certainly precedes her, here in the Land of Enchantment. We've been trying to figure how to get this legendary trail in the bag for some time now: it's always seems a bit dicey to take the family out on a trail I haven't ridden before, the shuttle logistics never seemed to fall into place for a solo exploratory ride.

Labor Day weekend rolls around, various planets align, looks like we're finally gonna make it happen, sight unseen. Schweet!

So Sunday has us gearing up at the SF ski basin parking lot, on the verge of another family mtb Adventure of the First Order. What's the tread gonna be like? Will the kids be able to make it all the way down? Wonder how confusing the trail junctions are- will there be adequate signage? Nice and cool today, hope those storm clouds don't get us...We all had a ton of questions, most answered only by jumping in with both tires.

And away we go! The first leg proved fun enuf, if you discount the killer climbing at the end to get to the next trailhead down the trail. Seems you plunge down alongside Big Tesuque creek only to then make the climb back up to the Norski TH, a total bear! More evil genius at work, so thanks for that! Kids were not sure what I had gotten us all into after suffering that hike-a-bike. Luckily, Winsor then begins its real descent down towards Tesuque, the remaining few climbs proved brief enuf. But man, those downhills kick! I mean ear-to-ear, bug-in-the-teeth-grinning FUN!

Upper stages showed blue diamond intermediate on the map, the other ABQ Roughriders will attest to the accuracy of that rating: my darlin wife most especially. She later tallied 3 OTB's in the first 3 miles alone, only to jump up, dust off, (somewhat dizzily?) wave I'm allright!, get back on the horse. What a trooper! (Oh she's fine, seeing the Dentist this week to get fixed right back up. But I kid! Apparently it was my turn to offer blood to the trail gods, both shins took a beatin on the stream crossings down trail.)
See- she's fine! I was kidding!
So anyhoo, we were maybe 2 miles in before we ran across our first fellow mtbr, hikabiking his way up a gnarly stretch. We exchange pleasantries, think no more of him, as we wind our way down. Not 30 minutes later, we pull to the side to let this same guy rocket past, skipping over the boulder gardens on a sweet, jet black Yeti. In a blur, he's gone. Wow, that's some gonzo riding! So we four re-queue our datdatdaddudydat circus music and continue on our merry way. Come around the first corner and we see this same gonzo dude with his bike to trailside, wrestling, what a snake? that's his chain! He catches sight of us, nods rather dispiritedly down to the broken chain he's holding in both hands, we coast to a stop.

Turns out he's 3 miles away from nearest TH (uphill!) with a $3K steed sans functioning chain, chaintool, repair links. Holy smokes, he's lucky a dad came upon him when we did- we're always prepared! Chaintool? oh, sure, no problem buddy, should have some quicklinks too. Audible sigh of relief.

We make quick work of the repair, are thanked profusely, and he shoots off down the trail aiming for the nearest bike shop to replenish his emergency repair supplies, I'm sure. Karmic deed-for-the-day completed, we were free to once again re-queue our circus music and head on our merry way.
Hiker and mtb traffic increase as we approach first major trail intersection, the kids receiving kudos from hikers and bikers alike- not many kid shredders on Winsor we're thinking. But I must admit with just a bit of fatherly pride the kids have come a long way the past coupla years. Blue diamond? No problem!
The tread improves after the first 3 miles, losing most of the rock, the grade moderating a bit. The trail becomes a little duffy like those sweet trails we rode in Hood River last summer, first aspens then ponderosas whizz by as we let off the brakes. USDA Grade A Prime Ton O Fun!
duffy tread
I have to remind everyone we should stop for lunch, before we completely rip thru the trail. We find a sunny pocket meadow exactly 5 miles in, the creek gurgling to one side, aspen groves shimmering on the other. We tank up, shoot a coupla family photos, hit the trail for more ear-to-ear fun.
Stream crossings litter the last three miles. We must've crossed 10 times in those few miles alone, the kids trying their level best to soak the photographer with their bow waves, the rascals.
yet another stream crossing
All too soon, we transition into Santa Fe ranchero country, multi-million dollar homes signaling the end of the trail draws nigh at last. Trails end, we look around, every last Roughrider with an earsplitting grin still plastered on their mudsplattered faces. Dad, do we have time for another go?
Trail's End


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