The Queen

I have always had a dubious position in the hierarchy of the family. What has been absolutely clear is that I am not at the top. When Ringo was alive, there was a small chance that I wasn’t completely on the bottom, but it is clear that the two ladies of the house, Sadie and Susanne, rule the roost.

Make no mistake, this is not a complaint. I am grateful for their leadership and keeping me from careening over cliffs and other things that can really put a damper on your day. How many ill-conceived adventures were either 86’d or modified to make them at least survivable? Hard to know, but it isn’t a low number. That doesn’t even include the many sufferfests.

Now that Ringo is gone, I am fully on the bottom.

The house we are staying in has two very comfortable chairs in the living area. Perfect for Susanne and me….or not. Every time I try to rest my weary soul on the chair, Sadie has a conniption fit and paces around and pouts and stares and pokes and bothers me until I relent and give her the chair and I sit on the footstool. She was this way with Ringo too. The Queen must have her comfortable seats.

The Queen

Our first dog, Cooper, was brought up in the era when we all thought we had to be super strict. No human food. No furniture. Nothing good. He was an amazing dog, but not very lovey-dovey. He had a job and he did that job well. I must say, I really like the new world of our dogs in which they get to come up and cuddle with us in the morning, watch tv with us on the couch and generally full integrate them into our lives. It is what my friend Clive wrote about in his book “Dog is Love.” It’s great….even if I do end up on the footstool.

After a couple of down days recovering, I decided I wanted to go out for another ride today. I had scoped a couple areas down in Wenatchee that looked good and would be a bit warmer than the chilly fall air up here. I decided on a trail called Sage Hill Loop — a 13 miler with 2300′ of climbing and all blue trails. It was described as “flowy,” but after my experience with Devil’s Gulch I wasn’t going to take that for granted.

A view of Wenatchee from Sage Hill

I started up the trail and was happy to see that it really was quite “blue” in nature and pretty straightforward riding. There were quite a few trails in the area and it was tough to know which one you were on because almost none of them were marked. I ended up taking the high road, which was a bit of a mistake. A couple of the sections were so steep, rocky and with cliff like edges, I just got off and walked. Luckily it was short.

Working my way up the big climb
Headed for the big descent

I can’t imagine there is a single blue rider out there that could have made it over that section. For that matter, I don’t think many experts could have made it either. In my book, if there is a section that is “unrideable” there is no way a trail can be rated as blue. Blue-Black or Black, please.

Anyway, other than that, the trail was wonderful. Super well-designed such that the gradient for the big climb was pretty easy to maintain a steady pace. There were a lot of switchbacks on the climb, but only a few gave me any trouble to get through smoothly. The views were awesome and the temp was cool but great for riding.

I made it to the top with a minimum of suffering and generally felt quite good physically. Yeah! I headed down the trail with my new mantra “descend like a grandpa” going through my head. Overall it wasn’t bad. Steep at times and some tricky switchbacks, but as long as you were careful there was nothing death-defying. I will say that the riding here in Wenatchee requires you to traverse some ridiculously steep slopes. The trail itself is easy, but the mind-f$$% that happens when you are riding across a 35 degree slope can be a bit challenging. But, I made it without issue and I was happy. This was truly a flowy trail, with great views, some hard work, but definitely not a sufferfest. I think I better listen to upper management and start limiting the number of sufferfests I endure.

A lovely fall day near the top of the climb
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