Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Finally, some mountain biking

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

I heard the trails were in good shape at Brown County State Park, so I went mountain biking last night. Sarah came to the park with me and did some reading in a picnic area. We’ve done this a few times before, and it works out well, although I always contend that I have more fun than she does. She begs to differ. As she says, “you can’t compare riding and reading.” I’m not comparing them, I’m just saying biking is better.

After sitting in our shed all winter, my mountain bike is in need of some serious attention. I gave it a quick once-over, cleaned a bit, and lubed the chain, but it’ll need a lot more work. I think the roof must leak because there’s more rust on my bike than I expected. My mountain bike felt so clunky and inefficient compared to the road bike, but it really does pay off having a heftier bike with a suspension fork on the trails.

I set out, excited about my first trail riding since New Year’s Day. The first thing I noticed is how out of shape I am. All the road riding helps, but on the trails even just pedaling is more difficult.


Part of the North Tower Loop

I also felt stiff for a while, and slow to react to twists and turns in the trail. As I warmed up this got a little better, but I am going to have to work on my flexibility somehow. But overwhelmingly it just felt great to be out, riding on the trails, without the bulk of a jacket. I even saw flowers at some points growing alongside the trail.

It’s a little hard to tell, but in this next shot the trail comes toward you on the left side of the creek, just above the log you see there. Then it swoops around behind you, taking a rock bridge over the creek in a switchback, and spits you out on the right side.


Sweeping trail in the North Tower Loop

It took a little while, but eventually I started riding better. The mountain bike felt more natural, I did a better job of shifting my weight in turns, etc. The sun was low in the sky and casting long shadows. The trail was in good shape except for a few muddy spots.


Long shadows

The creek crossings had water in them, which was great to see. They were dry for most of last year because of the drought.

 
Creek crossings

I decided to ride the Aynes Loop as well. After a few creek crossings, there’s a really big climb. I made it up the climb without stopping, but it was slow going.


Rocky switchback at the top of the Aynes climb


Hazy hills in the distance


My bicycle

The massive climb pays off nicely, at first with a sketchy, rocky section and then with some great smooth and twisty sections through the woods. You can really fly through most of it and I did so. Traction was great except in one greasy switchback, and I was able to really carve through the turns.


Switchback on the Aynes Loop

After that section there’s some more climbing, and then a wild ride back to the connector trail. I headed back to the North Tower Loop and did the long climb there, then enjoyed the descent back to the parking lot. It was a great first trail ride of the spring. I hope I can get back out there again soon.

On our way home we stopped at Yellowwood State Forest to visit the spot where we’re getting married. The sun was setting and the lake looked beautiful. We definitely chose the right spot.


Yellowwood Lake

2 Responses to “Finally, some mountain biking”

  1. John Says:

    Out of shape. Impossible! Round is a shape. My wife says I look like a god. Budda!

    Things will get better as we ride longer and harder.

    Your city, Bloomington (if that’s it) was featured in League of American Bicyclist. A Bronze City.

  2. Apertome Says:

    Yeah, Bloomington is where I live. It has been recognized as a Bronze city before, and according to your link, that’s been renewed. Thanks for the heads up!

    I think it’s interesting that Portland, which a lot of people seem to look at as an example of a great cycling city, isn’t on the list.

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