Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Did I bite the monkey, or did the monkey bite me???

Beautiful day today (12-22-2009) and with rain coming tomorrow I headed out to the Montgomery Bell (aka "Monkey Bell") State Park mountain bike trails. The weather was perfect and the trails were in excellent condition. Even though Monkey Bell is an hour from my home in Franklin, it is well worth the trip. Something about the soils makes this trail the quickest to dry out.

I brought both of my Mary bikes, having learned the "smoke 'em if you got 'em" lesson a while back at Lock 4 (if you have more than one bike, bring it, you can always use a spare...much more fun to ride trail than do bike maintenance at the trailhead). Turned out to be a good move, my Mary XC had a bad rear tube. Instead of futzing with this and wasting precious daylight, I took the single speed out and rode it all over the red, white and blue trails.

Even though the parking lot was packed with other riders enjoying the beautiful day, I never passed a single person on the trails, thanks to the 26 miles of trail out there. Yes, I did ride alone...a bad habit, but none of my usual riding partners were able to get away. Though I forgot my GPS, I believe I rode 13+ miles. Red perimeter (twice), Storm Track (where I broke my ankle last year), White Pine, Back Blue and Lonesome Blue were the trails I hit (or should I say, "tore up"...haha).

I rode in the preferred directions...Back Blue is best ridden from the downhill toward the green and yellow trails and Lonesome Blue is definitely best ridden from the trailhead to the creek. I learned this almost the hard way, walking Lonesome Blue on my Sonix from the creek to the trailhead a few weeks ago. If you are on a SS, going in the "preferred/easier" direction makes all of the difference.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Chickasaw kicked my...

The title says it all. On November 28 I set out to Chickasaw Trace on a perfect autumn day. I rode the Sonix, having had a difficult time negotiating some of the more technical sections on my Mary XC a couple of weeks prior. I also brought the Mary, so I would have something to compare it to if I were willing and able to ride a second lap. Well, that never happened. I nearly bailed toward the end of the first lap. I enjoyed the ride and exercise, but I have a long way to go before I am back to where I was one year ago (this was the one-year anniversary of my broken ankle at Monkey Bell).

The Trail of Tears was really tough on me, though I enjoyed the new reroute around the swamp. I should be able to enjoy it more next time, whenever there is new trail added/modified I go very slowly just in case there is a crazy drop off or something similar to negotiate. The Blackhill trail was fun, though in one of the most innocuous sections I went over the handlebars. Thankfully, I wasn't going fast, everything felt (and probably looked) like it was in slow motion. Rub the dirt off and I was riding again. I think I was just too tired at that point. Rode out to the trailhead and left, no need to head back in for a second lap.

Chickasaw Trace

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