Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Black Friday Mountain Biking — Sort of

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

I intended to do a lot of riding over Thanksgiving break. Sarah is out of town, so I figured I would get to ride a lot.

But, the weather was abysmal earlier in the week. I had Wednesday off, but it was in the 30s and raining all day. I considered riding, but cold rain is my least favorite condition to ride in. I’ll take snow over cold rain any day. So, I didn’t ride. I ended up doing contract work on my day off. And, working on my computer, trying to get it updated before I start school in January. Sad to spend the whole day working. Thanksgiving was a little warmer, in the 50s in fact, but it rained hard all day. So, I didn’t ride Thursday, either. I had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving with my family, preceded/followed by more work on my computer. Normally I enjoy working on computers, but this involved a lot of mundane tasks such as file transfers. No fun.

My friend Dave and I have a great Black Friday tradition: rather than going shopping like so many people, we head out to the woods for some mountain biking. Frequently, we seek out trails that are new to us. In the past we have ridden at Versailles State Park and in various areas of Hoosier National Forest. This year, we had planned to check out the trails in French Lick. We’ve heard they rival the Brown County State Park trails, and we were excited to find out for ourselves if they were really that great.

Unfortunately, it was in the 20s Thursday night. I say unfortunately because with all the rain we received, followed by the ground freezing, meant that the trails were an unrideable, muddy mess on Friday. Our plans were foiled!

Determined to ride, we came up with a new plan: riding on gravel roads in and and around Yellowwood State Forest. Dave suggested we explore some new roads off to the east of our usual riding area, so that is what we did. Our ride ended up being about 20 miles. Here’s a map of our route.

They are doing some strange work out at Yellowwood Lake. They have lowered the water level (again!) and are building a dam in the middle of the lake. Our theory is that this is going to help hold water in a marshy area that dries up in dry weather, but we will have to see what happens.

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I rode my 29er mountain bike. I had done some work on the brakes, which I managed to fix without breaking anything! For me, this is an impressive feat.

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Here is Dave’s awesome full-suspension Cannondale Prophet.

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It felt great to ride on some new gravel roads.

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The new roads only added about seven miles to our usual loop, but there were several significant climbs.

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A couple of sections were paved, but only briefly.

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We certainly could’ve used a beer about now. I was surprised to see that there is a Brewhouse out here. I didn’t know about the country club, either. Unfortunately the Brewhouse was not yet open.

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Back by the car, more evidence of the work they are doing at the lake.

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The giant pile of mud is all gunk they dredged out of the lake.

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So, our Black Friday Mountain Biking tradition lives on, albeit in a slightly different form. We are still itching to try the French Lick trails. Hopefully the trail conditions will improve and we can make it down there some weekend in the near future.

5 Responses to “Black Friday Mountain Biking — Sort of”

  1. Chris Says:

    Brilliant recovery from the conditions throw at you. You guys did very well, AND have an adventure still out there to anticipate.

  2. bill Says:

    Aha! Not only do you bring us the best in backcountry gravel routes, but you manage to sniff out a beer stop as well – genius! Need to time that east loop to the brewhouse’s hours. Oh – nice barn shot, too.

  3. Apertome Says:

    By the way, here’s more about Bushman Brewhouse. According to their Web site, they are open “5pm – close” — ha! This time of year, we would have had to bring lights to get back to the car if we had been out there late enough to have a beer.

  4. Tim S Says:

    new gravel. jealous.

  5. Mike Says:

    Nice. Some fine looking dirt out your way!

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