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Archive for September, 2011

More Brown County Mountain Biking

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Last weekend was my last weekend before school started back up, so naturally, I wanted to ride. I thought about a long, solo road ride, but when the weekend arrived, I wasn’t really feeling it. Instead, I got a hold of Dave and we went to Brown County for some more riding there.

Dave called this our “bizzaro ride” because we did several trails in the opposite direction from the way we usually ride them.

We rode down North Tower Loop, then rode Green Valley, Aynes, North Tower Loop, and finally, Pine Loop, all “backwards.” Here’s a map of our route. I’m not sure if the map is quite right, as I was having GPS issues.

Even though it was a short ride in terms of mileage, this was the best mountain bike ride of the year for both of us. We were in the zone and pushed the pace more than usual during much of the ride. These trails are always a blast but at a faster pace, they’re even more fun. You really appreciate the flow of the trails better when you’re carving turns, bombing down hills and pedaling up more vigorously.

Green Valley was, in this direction, incredibly fun. The first half or more was downhill and with a few great switchbacks, minor ups and downs along the way, flow, and views of ravines, creeks, and even a lake in the distance were stellar.

In the photo below, you can see the trail coming down the hill on the other side of the ravine. As you can see, the trail is rather narrow. What you can’t see are a bunch of rocks in the trail surface as well. The trail comes around a bend, goes down into the ravine, switches back and then climbs back out again. It’s beautiful and exhilarating.

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However, we would pay for all that sweet descending. There were a couple of tough climbs toward the end of the trail and it also got more technical maybe 2/3 of the way through. The climbing and more-technical trail interrupted the flow a bit, but it was still a lot of fun. And the technical parts are tricky enough to be exciting and push the limits of what I’m comfortable with at times, but never over the line.

After Green Valley, we took a break and I got some shots of my bike. It’s so great to have the 29er rolling again!

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I had Dave take my picture with the bike. You can tell we were both thrilled to be out in the woods.

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We got moving again, debating which way to go. We decided to ride Aynes “backwards,” which we had only ever done a couple of times, a long time ago. It was more fun than I remembered, and I made it up a tough rock garden that’s tricky when going downhill (the way we usually ride it), and even harder going up. Dave and I both walked over one large root, but I think I may attempt it next time. It’s in a tough spot, but I think I can do it.

Most of the rest of the trail was just wonderfully flowing.

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We also did the North Tower Loop backwards on our way back and once again, pushed the pace more than usual … and had a blast.

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As we were rolling downhill back toward the parking lot, the flow even better than before, neither of us wanted to stop. Dave suggested we ride Pine Loop and it was just the right thing. Some more flowing, swoopy trail, and a few opportunities to catch air, and we reached the bottom of the hill. Then we had a bit of climbing to get back to where we had parked, but we had really let loose the rest of the ride and soft-pedaled back to our cars.

What a great afternoon in the woods!

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