Friday, December 19, 2008

Winter Mountain Biking

It’s been a while since I wrote anything related to biking, and I’m sure that you have been holding your respective breaths for more adventure stories. Well then! Wait No More faithful readers!

I took a good 30+ mile mountain bike ride that included Oak Mountain to see some of my favorite trails. I figure that even during the darkest part of the year I needed to get some riding done and it was a good day for it. (45 degrees and cloudy) Well, with three kids, one must ride when one has the time rather than when the conditions are perfect.

Cold Toes

I rode out and found that the recent and seemingly unending deluge of cold rain has changed the trails a good bit. Trails that, during my past rides this year, had been in great shape were transformed into washed out rivers of mud and displaced rocks. I realized that a “fast” ride was not going to be in the cards as I had to bounce and yank the bike over and around an array of rocks dislodged by the rivers of mud as they coursed down the fire trail that we ride to the top of the ridge; never mind the fact that I was dodging these while trying to navigate the slop and mud as well. I had mud everywhere possible when I reached the section of the trail with several creek crossings. These creeks had been dry in months past, but I found instead raging torrents…ok that may be a bit of hyperbole…let’s say there was actually water in them for a change. Of course this water was about 40 degrees and on the last crossing I found that when one is clipped into pedals there is a point that you can’t get your feet high enough to cross without soaking yourself. When it happened, I thought, “Well that’s just great since I have 20 miles to go” Ok, I’m paraphrasing there…the actual thoughts were far more…uh…linguistically colorful.

By the time I reached the top of the ridge and started down the single track to Blood Rock, I couldn’t feel my feet at all. That is probably the farthest point from the house too, so I was in it for the long haul. Numb feet and all.
Oh well…biking is fun right?

Wear a Helmet!

I met a fine example of a Blood Rock victim when I got to the bottom of that section of trail. He was covered in blood, mud and was still smiling. Being that his physical and apparent emotional condition seemed an odd combination, I figured that he must have a concussion, so I stopped. He had literally split his helmet in half. Not dented but completely split it. It was held together by the cosmetic plastic shell and straps. I was amazed that he hadn’t killed himself with an impact like that. We walked for a bit as he recovered, and I think we should set his helmet up in a shop somewhere to encourage others to wear one. Had he not had one, he certainly would have been in serious trouble, like eating hospital food and needing adult supervision…forever.

Nature Modifies a Bridge

Toward the end of the ride there are a series of bridges and I rode up on this one pretty quickly. Thank goodness for disk brakes! I’m thinking that the winter rain and storms of late have really taken a toll on this trail, and I am curious how long it will be before the park rangers or the B.U.M.P team chop up the tree and rebuild the bridge.

Personally, I think they should leave the tree right where it is and build a cool narrow slatted bridge up an over it. That tree is big enough to not go anywhere for years. It would be a neat feature for the trail but probably a maintenance problem, so I’m guessing that my idea won’t go anywhere.

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