New Melones – Rain or Shine

A couple weeks ago John P says “We should do more night rides Dennis”. So I suggested we hook up with the Angels Camp crew for a Tuesday Evening ride at New Melones. The message goes out, John says yes, Alex says yes. Ogre says “Rain or Shine”. And RAIN it did.
John and Alex showed up at my house a bit late, and they brought the rain with them. Just a drizzle as we loaded up the car. Then as we started rolling towards New Melones the rain picks up. “This is nearing my limit guys, I’m going to just hang in the car while you guys ride” quips Alex as we enter Angels Camp and the rain turns to a downpour. But when we got to the trailhead Alex geared up with us and we all set out. John says “You know guys we can only get so wet”.
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We started towards Frontier and the rainwater was flowing down the ruts in the fireroad in little streams. Watching the muddy water spray up from the front tires and into the lights we are all thinking this is one of the dumber things we did in a while. We rode Frontier out to Angels Arm and Alex set a pretty decent pace while I tried to hang with him. We didn’t stop much because the rain is dumping on us continually. We took Buckbrush clockwise since the climbs would be impossible in the rain. As it was I one footed most of the first descent which I haven’t done in a long time.
About half way around Buckbrush my light flickered briefly and then gave out on me completely. Fortunately I brought a small handlebar mounted 5 LED lamp as a backup. I don’t recommend it for a primary light but it was a life saver for me on this ride. As we cruised out of Buckbrush loop and back down Frontier first John’s, then Alex’s, and finally my bike all got chain suck. All of the fresh muddy water had made quick work of our recently lubed chains. The final couple of miles back to the car were a story of babying the bikes to try and make it without destroying equipment.
When we got back to the car we decided to call it a night. This was the shortest New Melones trip I had done in a long time and the first time I had gone there without doing the switchbacks in over a year. With me shy a light and all three of our bikes in serious need of lubrication we decided it wasn’t worth pushing our luck. The rain had been unrelenting the entire ride, John had said you can only get so wet, well we were “So Wet”.
Alex grabbed the porto potty to change where it was dry. As John and I waited for our turns we watched as the rain started to slow to a light drizzle and then cease entirely, the moon and stars even put in an appearence. Fortunately my wife had the foresight to give us some towels so we all put on our dry clothes and hit the road for grub.
Alex, John, Thanks for a great ride. I’ll see you all for the Full moon ride next week “Rain or Shine”.