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A great fall mountain bike ride at Brown County State Park

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

On Sunday, I decided it was time for a good mountain bike ride. I haven’t done a whole lot of mountain biking this year, and I have missed it. I headed over to Brown County State Park, where I rode most of the trails. Here’s a map.


View 2009-11-01 BCSP MTB pool to campground & back in a larger map

I started out on the newest trail, the Pine Loop. This is a very fun trail, but it was very muddy. Within the first 10 minutes of my ride, my legs were coated with mud, and my feet were wet and chilly. I think this trail is particularly muddy because it’s still fairly new. Eventually, the trail surface will get packed down like the other trails, and will drain much better. I don’t think I did any damage to the trail — there was just a layer of greasy mud on top; aside from a few mud pits, I wasn’t leaving tire treads.

I stopped after the pine loop to adjust my saddle. I had realized on the last ride I did on that bike that I spent a lot of time riding too far forward on the saddle. I figured I should move the saddle forward to a better position. This worked very well for me. I was pushing a bit of a higher gear than usual, not sure if that was due to the saddle placement, or if it was more of a conscious change in my riding style.

Whatever it was, it worked. I found myself climbing better, and generally riding a little faster.

I went the short way around the North Tower and Aynes Loops, where high water made a few creek crossings  especially tricky and fun. Then, I immediately headed up Hesitation Point. This is about a two-mile climb, often along the edge of a ravine, and some parts are fairly technical. I did better than I expected. This climb used to be only marginally doable for me, but I have improved a lot. I still have to walk a few technical features, but it’s a lot more doable (and more fun!) than it used to be.

Eventually, I made it to the top and stopped at the Hesitation Point vista for a break. I also broke out the camera for the first time.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we’re having a weird fall. The trees are turning in stages, moreso than usual. This late in the season, most of the leaves had fallen, but the red and orange trees had just reached their peak they really stuck out as I gazed across the landscape. Another rider rode by at an opportune moment.

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I headed out on the Walnut Trail. This one typically gives me a lot of trouble; parts are technical, and I have not ridden it as much as the other trails. But, pushing a higher gear, I did better on the technical stuff. By keeping my speed up, I was able to power over rocks and roots better than usual. I cleared some things on this trail that I’ve never cleared before. Again, though, there were parts I had to walk. You really have to be careful on this trail because it’s not very wide and it skirts the edge of a deep ravine. And the leaf cover made it harder to see the rocks, and harder to get enough traction. Still, I felt great about how I was riding.

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Next was the Limekiln Trail. This is just a roller coaster through the woods, with some great opportunities to catch some air. I normally prefer to keep both wheels on the trail, but this trail is just too much fun. Once I reached the end, I was at the end of the Brown County mountain bike trail system. I took a break and filled up on water, before heading back. Between this ride at the Secret Night Ride, my bicycle was absolutely caked in mud. It needs a bath, badly.

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I turned around and headed back, more or less the way I came. I did even better on the Walnut Trail on the return trip — I think it’s generally a little easier in that direction. It felt great to see some improvement on this trail.

Once back at Hesitation Point, I had to take another photo. The view looked even better than before.

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On my way back, I cleared almost everything on the Hesitation Point trail. There’s one dropoff that I know I can ride, but since I was out riding alone, I decided not to risk it.

I really enjoyed being out mountain biking again. And riding a different set of trails than usual helped keep things interesting. Now I need to wash my mountain bike; Dave and I are doing a camping trip this weekend that should include some epic riding, and I want the bike to be in top form.

3 Responses to “A great fall mountain bike ride at Brown County State Park”

  1. Chandra Says:

    from all the dried up dirt on your bike, i can tell it was a great fun ride!
    have fun on your camping / ride that’s coming up!!
    peace 🙂

  2. Dave Says:

    Michael, these pictures from Hesitation Point are beautiful. Love the camera you’re using for these. Looking forward to this weekend!

  3. Bill Lambert/Big Oak Bikes Says:

    Since the weekend is now here, I hope you are having a great trip. The weather in FW is supposed to be beautiful both days.

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