Monday, December 25, 2006

Back in the saddle...

I have finally been able to get back on a mountain bike and ride some true singletrack!! Riding around the neighborhood just was not cutting the mustard.

I took the Black Sheep out to a place in Fayetteville called Smith Lake and rode the mountain bike trails there. There were green beginner's trails as well as many blue and black trails. I rode every trail I could find even rolling over an elevated skinny bridge and stopping to take action pictures (kinda hard to do solo). The terrain was very sandy (duh it's not called "The Sandhills" for nothing) and full of fallen pine needles.
The trails were mostly flat and fast. The pine trees were very close together so the big challenge came in trying not to hit my handlebars on any of the trees in the narrow gaps on the trail. I was instantly impressed at the 29er wheels, they rolled over everything roots, rocks, dips, and bumps. The other thing that caught my attention was how well the front tire, a Panaracer Rampage, hooked up in the loose sand!! It had rained the day before so the sand was pretty hard and crusty but sand none the less! After taking some handlebar mounted video on trail I rolled back to the truck. I then proceeded to realize I had locked the keys in my mother-in-law's truck (I had keep the ignition key but forgot there was a seperate door lock key). I had to have the keys brought out to me and I called it a day. My leg felt solid and strong throughout the entire ride and was only slightly sore that evening. I do believe I will go back to Smith Lake on Tues or Wed depending on the rain....

On Sunday I got up at 5am and was on the road by 5:45am on the way to Charlotte, NC. I had arranged to meet up with Rich Dillen (Team Dicky) in Charlotte and ride some local trails. It too had rained on Friday complicating the decision as to where to ride. As luck would have it the rain disappeared and Sat was a nice balmy 70 deg and sunny helping to dry out the one local place that is more sand than NC red clay, Colonel Francis Beatty Park. I met Rich at his house and we readied to go ride. I actually got a chance to meet "The Pie", Rich's wife, and his son "The Boy". We took Rich's "dirty little box" to the park and started to ride with plans to meet one of Rich's friend, The Big Worm (Bill), on the trail. I fell in behind Rich and we hit the trail, FAST! The trail was very simular to the trails at Smith Lake but with less sand and more rocks, roots and ups-n-downs. We went relativly slow so Rich could show me the trail and we could chit chat along the way. We stoped every once in a while so I could catch my breath. There were a few sections that we could really rip it up and all-in-all the trail conditions were perfect. A few wet spots but nothing that was crazy muddy. Near the end of the first lap (each lap was about 6 miles long) we ran into Rich's friend, The Big Worm, who had started in the reverse direction and met us on the trail. We finished out the loop and took a short break. Back into the woods and the three of us really started ripping up the trails!! As the day went on we started to see more and more pedestrians and dog walkers out on the MOUNTIAN BIKE trails so we had to slow down or stopp when we passed them. We even witnessed to young kids riding the trails on MOTORCYCLES of all things. They not going crazy tearing up the trails just scootin through the woods, but obviously not suposed to be there. I could tell Rich was clearly aggrevated by their precense as his eye started to twitch and I could see the gears turning! We rode a full second lap stopping to talk and rest. When we rode we rode hard and fast. I was again amazed at how the 29er just rolled over the obsticals in it's path. I let out some of the air in the front tire (not really sure what the starting psi was probably around 30psi) to the point I could mash it between my fingers. That made a world of difference in how it not only rolled over thing but more hit the clawed it's way over roots and rocks. I only hit it hard once and that was coming off of a small deep dip into a rooty climb out, but the Ti fork/big volume tire/at speed 29 inch wheel combination took it like a man and kept me rollin' along! After the second lap I was pressed for time to go see other friends in N. Charlotte and the Big Worm had only done one lap so we started the full lap again completeing the black diamond loop and finishing it off early by coming back in the reverse direction on the green starting loop. After the ride I asked Bill to take a picture of Rich and I (so I had proof I went on a ride with the 24 hour SOLO Singlespeed World Champion) the picture came out great except that it makes me look like a giant and Rich look like a Christmas elf... Thanks Rich I had a blast and I hope to ride with you again soon!

I drove up to north Charlotte to visit with some old college friends Trey and Tara Adams. We talked and caught up and watched the Panthers just bearly hang on to win their first game in weeks. I got to meet Trey's folks again I had not seen them since Appalachian graduation in 2000. I then drove back to the in-laws and was home by 6:30pm and totally exhausted!

Two days of mountain biking and I am itching to get out and do more!! I have the bug again!! I may not travel very often but knowing that where ever I go I can now take a bike for free will help to push into traveling more often (I hope!)...

2 comments:

Dicky said...

Good ridng with you TDB. Next time we'll try to get to the highlands.

Rob and Walker said...

So good to see a picture of trey and Tara! They look GREAT!

I know you're happy to be on that bike again!!!

best wishes for lots more riding.