I’ve been spending the last few weeks at my brother and sister-in-laws place in the Eastern Sierras since I have a good chunk of time off between contracts on the ships (two months to be exact). Two months is a long time of no work, but all the ships are in shipyard this time of year, so it’s time to play. And play for me equals mountain biking!
Last time I was in California I bought a new mountain bike, which was long overdue because my old mountain bike was at least 8 years old. It was a Gary Fisher Rumblefish and it served me well for many years, but it was definitely time for an upgrade. And what a difference that upgrade has made! I ended up settling on a Devinci Troy and thanks to new geometry and technology I’m faster, I feel more confident going over jumps, technical ups and downs are easier, and it’s so much lighter than my last bike so pedaling isn’t as laborious as it used to be (or maybe I’m just in better shape…). But really, it’s amazing.
Since we’re coming up on ski season, though, the mountain bike park at Mammoth is closed for the winter, so we’ve been riding a few of the lower trails in town like Uptown, Downtown, Paper Route, Mammoth Rock Trail, etc… and of course Lower Rock Creek just south of Mammoth, which is one of my favorite trails ever.
But this past week my brother scouted out a downhill route that runs all the way from Mosquito Flat trailhead at the top of Rock Creek Road to the bottom of Lower Rock Creek Trail that shoots out into the tiny community of Paradise:
20+ miles, only 350ft gain in elevation, and a whopping 5200ft drop in elevation. Yessss! I was definitely game. My dad, who was visiting, was also in and a friend of my brothers came along as well.
The upper part of the trail is pretty technical with lots of rock gardens and drops to navigate around, but as we descended, the trail kept getting better and better. We skirted around a glistening lake on perfect, packed down single track then entered a wooded area with slightly sketchy plank bridges (sketchy because some of the bridges had 2-3 inch gaps between the planks that could easily eat a bike tire). We scooted through empty campgrounds, bounced down chunky stone steps, weaseled our way around tight hairpin turns and eventually had to hit the tarmac for a 4-5 mile descent down Rock Creek Road to the start of the familiar Lower Rock Creek Trail, a trail we’ve done countless times before, but never gets old.
Lower Rock Creek is divided into three sections (i.e. three road crossings) and each section is pure mountain biking fun. The first two are flowy with little-to-no technical sections, but the third section is a bit more tricky. It’s my favorite, though, because I love a challenge 🙂
All-in-all, it took us about 2 hours of moving time to get from the top of Mosquito Flats all the way down to the bottom of Lower Rock Creek and there wasn’t an inch of those 20 miles that wasn’t fun. I loved it so much, in fact, that a friend and I went back and did it again two days later. This will be a routine ride, for sure!