I rolled in Saturday afternoon and parked next to Nikki, across the 2-track from Jimbo. They must have been out riding because no-one was in sight. I geared up and hit the trail for the first time, and what a time it was! I fell in behind some people here-and-there, but rode a lot of it alone. I had an absolute blast, and was looking forwards to doing a second lap with some SWAMPers. However, when I got back to the parking lot all the SWAMP cars were gone. I chilled for an hour or so and went out for Lap #2, making sure to make it up/down/over anything that had stopped me the first time. The climb up to Big Gulp I never made. I was generally sucking wind so bad by the time I got to the base of that climb that I was all too happy to get off the bike and walk up. Right at Big Gulp I fell in with someone more familiar with the trails, and we took off at a faster pace trying to get off the trail before darkness set in. He would pull away from me and I would reel him back in on the climbs. Then it got too dark for my comfort level so I slowed down considerably. I got passed by a few night riders before I finally made my way back to my truck (parked right outside the coned-off area for the bonfire!).
After rinsing off and changing clothes I ate my sub and hung out by the fire. They had some speeches, some cake, and general BSing that happens around every campfire. I overheard some people talking about broken chains, and found out that they had come up from (someplace near Miami) with their 14 y/o son who was just getting into MTB, but his chain had already broken twice that day. I told them that he could ride my spare bike (F600) Sunday morning until the Santos Bike Shop opened.
Then the games of "knockdown" started- what Chiselchest called bicycle wrestling. Basically, about a dozen people would ride around in the coned-off area and try to knock each other off their bike, or at least make them put a foot down. The preffered method seemd to be to race past the person, then turn sideways in front of them and do a trackstand to block their way. Or, just grab their front brake when they weren't looking
I pulled out the F600 and joined in the festivities and leared a LOT about balance. Even managed to win a couple rounds (it was a BLAST).
I spent the night (morning) shivering in the cab of my truck until I finally fell asleep. Miles, the kid who was borrowing the F600, woke me around 7:30 and we hit the trail sometime around 8. He's only been biking a few months but he rode extremely well, especially considering he was on an unfamiliar (HT) bike at a relatively unfamiliar trail. I got some footage of him coming down Big Gulp on his cell-phone video-cam. We rode the trail in about 2 hours or so. I'd like to add that his parents were ecstatic about the friendliness of the MTB community. Everyone they talked to left a positive impression on them, and I wouldn't be surprised to find them out riding the trails as well in the near future.
It was really an amazing weekend