Tuesday started great, but I knew I was in for trouble when Doperssuck showed up with the legendary Nick Martin. Nick's a good guy, a respectable fellow midwesterner, so you know he's good. Damn fast, too. The ride started off fast out of the gate. As soon as we got to the Hall Ranch parking lot, it was all systems go. I was pushing a tough gear just to hang on going up the frontside of Hall Ranch. Thankfully, we ran into some folks we know going up, so it gave me a good excuse to regroup with the rest of the gang. After regrouping, we rolled over the top past the bench and on to the backside of Hall. The big snowbank by the Antelope junction that I had to hike thru on Saturday was barely existant, but not without incident. Another rider on a Mav forked Ellsworth was going the other way and expressed, "Hmm, riding Hall Ranch at night is ILLEGAL, Hmmmm." Yep, sure is. I thought of the irony that he mentioned this as we were at exactly the same point on the trail. We kept going.
Once climbing again past the Antelope junction, Melis the Man started setting tempo on his SS and I was off the back before we made it up to the loop. Those guys rode the loop, but I pussed out. I had stopped a couple of times to bs with folks riding the trail so I opted out of the loop (which, by the way, is reportedely ok rideable shape). Luckily, I had just run into MK_ on his way down. He kept me company whilst I installed my light (for the road ride home, of course) and waited for the rest of the gang. We ripped it up on the descent and made it out before dark.
For what it's worth, if the Ellsworth policeman is reading this, we made it down to the parking lot safely without use of lights, and there were still a dozen other cars there :). Sorry to burst your authoritative bubble, occifer.
We escorted Nick and Doperssuck out of town (they still had to ride home to Boulder) and hightailed it to Oscars. The Dale's Pale tasted especially good, as did the luscious pesto burger. Yum.
Next week, same time, same place. See you there!