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Archive for December, 2009

Finally! Some trail riding on my new mountain bike

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

I finally got out on my first trail ride on my new mountain bike — in the snow, no less. I rode over to some nearby trails in the neighborhood where I grew up. These aren’t exactly hardcore trails, but they aren’t well-designed, either, so there are some steep parts.

I rode a couple of miles on a bike path and some residential streets …

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… and got on the trails. Within a couple of minutes, I spotted a fox making his way through the woods, and a few minutes later, a deer. In one spot, there was a big log pile on the trail — my 29″ wheels rolled over it easily. It still required some finesse, but wow, what a difference!

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I stopped by the pond. It was a lovely snowy scene. Not a lot of snow, but enough to make everything  fun and beautiful.

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The next section was more rugged. Eroded trails, with lots of sticks, and some steep parts. This eventually took me to a creek.

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I rode in the creekbed a little bit, but couldn’t go far due to rocks and debris. The water moved fast enough that the creekbed wasn’t icy.

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I turned around at this point, because if you continue on, you go up a short but very steep hill, and it shortens the loop considerably. I had to ride up a couple of tough climbs. I had to walk part of the way, it was just too steep!  I rode on some rolling hills, and finally down a big hill to another creek, which I explored. I saw a group of wild turkeys, which took flight when they saw me.

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Around this time, I realized I had dropped my GPS. Damn! I looked around for it, but I couldn’t find it. I was planning on doing another lap anyway, so I could look for it then.

One thing I noticed about my new bike is that the traction is really fantastic. Not just different-tires fantastic — the tires aren’t even all that aggressive. The bigger contact patch of the 29″ wheels really does make a difference. Off-camber, snow-covered rocks? No problem. And the bike rolls over sticks and rocks much better than my old one.

I was about to put the traction to a real test. I attacked a hill I’ve never been able to ride up, it’s a steep climb with a lot of rocks in the trail. I rode right up. The bike stuck to the trail, and the rocks, impressively well. After that was more climbing, not as steep, but long. I really wished the bike had a slightly lower gear. I have a feeling that’s going to be a recurring theme.

Once I reached the top of the hill, I got to do some fun ridgetop riding.

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I started a second lap and looked everywhere for my GPS. It was nowhere to be found. I went back and forth a few times, up and down hills, etc. I checked the places where I thought I was most likely to drop it. No dice. I headed back, still looking. Eventually, I found it! It had fallen at a very strange place, no major bumps or other things that could jar it loose. I have no idea how it happened.

After I found the GPS, I rode around a bit more. Someone has been doing some trail work back there — builidng reroutes and a few new trails. I explored, but ultimately ended up bushwhacking and turned around. Maybe next time, I’ll explore the new trails more.

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I’m trying not to get too excited …

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

… but, looking at the forecast for the long weekend, I’m positively giddy!

Can you say snow biking?? On real mountain bike trails?? On my new mountain bike?? I sure can! Even if the snow doesn’t materialize, the cooler temperatures will mean the trails will be frozen, rather than these terrible freeze/thaw conditions we’ve been having.

Of course, the forecast could be wrong. But I sure hope not.

A brief mixed-terrain ride

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

The office closed early on Wednesday, and the prescribed rain didn’t materialize except for a few sprinkles, so I set out for a ride in the afternoon. I rode a version of what is becoming one of my favorite short routes — I guess I’ll call it my Friendship route, since part of it is on Friendship Road. Here’s a map; the ride was a bit over 17 miles.

This route really has a little bit of everything:

  • Urban riding
  • Country scenery
  • Paved roads — some smooth, some rough
  • Rolling hills
  • A long, gradual, twisty downhill
  • Steep descent
  • Flat sections
  • Gravel roads
  • A long climb
  • Creeks
  • Optional singletrack
  • Many optional route extensions
  • Works well in both directions

Here are a few photos from the ride. There is a lot of scenery that I really enjoy seeing in various seasons and conditions.

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New Tire

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My bicycle was clean before this ride

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My new tire performed well, but I need more ride time on it before I can say more.

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