MIDDLEGATE (non-TBSA) OUTING REPORT: by Chas Moser
While TBSA is always invited to this outing, only three members showed up this time, i.e. Larry, Chas and Nevin, who joined 25-30 other riders. The weather started out warm then turned progressively cooler and windier over the weekend, plus rain on Saturday. There were a number of rides going out each day over the four-day outing. Our Friday ride was especially noteworthy and will remain etched in our minds forever. Howard Hill, noted for his long, relentless, aggressive rides, enticed us with talk about his 'Secret Trail'. Enamored over the prospects of a new single-track trail and at the same time overlooking Howard's warnings about the trail, we jumped at the oportunity. Little did we know at the time. A total of nine took part in the ride: Howard Hill, Jim, Dave King, Chris Berta, Jeff Brown, Rich VanDerMeeden, plus Larry, Chas and Nevin. We trucked or trailered our bikes 50 miles in an easterly direction towards Austin, arriving at the staging area at 6,000 feet at the base of the impressive Toiyabe Mountain Range. We started out at about 10:30 AM. After about a mile or so of dirt road, we hit the single-track. The adventure was just beginning. The trail was all very narrow technical singl- track with lots of elevation changes mostly going up. We hit over 10,000 feet at the highest point. There were many tight switchbacks and many steep precipitous narrow ledges. Everybody needed help at least one or more times. Jeff Brown went off the trail numerous times on his borrowed KTM 300, requiring help to get back on the trail. Even Chas went off the trail and needed assistance in getting his bike back on the trail. Fortunately for Chas, Chris Berta was close by and was strong enough to singlehandedly lift the Beta up to the trail. We were all fortunate to have young strong guys along. At one point, Nevin and another rider were at the tail end of the group and Nevin lost his bike on a very steep downhill drop off the trail. It took a long tow rope and the two riders to work the bike back up to the trail. By the time the rest of the group got back to Nevin, he had finally gotten his bike back to the trail. Larry was involved in another mishap. After successfully completing a very sharp switchback, Larry stopped his bike in order to turn around to check on Chas. Unfortunately for Larry, when he put his foot down there was nothing there so he lost his balance and took a pretty good tumble, banging himself up in the process. On one almost vertical sidehill, the narrow trail was basically impassable in several spots due to erosion of the trail. Nevin, Jim and Howard rectified the problem by kicking dirt out and smoothing the trail out with their boots. Again, all in all, an unforgettable ride. Chas' GPS indicated a total of only 37 miles for the entire day with a 11.9 mph moving average and a 4.9 mph overall average, including about 1.5 miles of 70-80 mph dirt road leading to and from the single-track! The ride started out at about 10:30 AM and ended up at the staging area at about 6:15 PM and back to Middlegate at 7:30 PM. At day's end we were all very tired puppies.
Larry, after the workout and bruising on Friday, left for home on Saturday. Chas in his infinite wisdom reluctantly decided to forego the Saturday ride due to the inclement weather. Nevin and others did go out in the cold, rainy, windy weather and reported successful rides in spite of the bad weather. Everybody enjoyed the Middlegate Station feed Friday evening. Chas, Nevin and a few others opted for the salmon steak dinner which turned out to be very good while most of the rest had the super prime rib special.
Nevin and most of the other riders left on Sunday, while Chas joined Irene, John, Rich and Kevin for a really great 35-mile ride in a southwesterly direction just out of Middlegate. The ride was all cross-country boon-docking and included lots of steep hills, numerous gullies, trails and many super sand washes. The ride started out in the direction towards Fairview Peak then worked its way counterclockwise, ending up on Hwy 361 which goes directly into Middlegate. Toward the end of the ride, while on the pavement, Rich excitedly pointed at Chas' rear wheel. Chas had a flat rear tire without even realizing it. Lucky for the Tubliss System. The worn-out tire had a gash in it that was not repairable. Chas rode the flat tire eight miles back to Middlegate with no problems. Upon reflection, usually the rides at Middlegate end up being 100-150 miles long with lots of road riding, sometimes gassing up at Gabbs or the Yomba Indian Reservation. These shorter rides of 37 and 35 miles are the exception, not the rule.
MIDDLEGATE PHOTOS: by Chas Moser