Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Riding and More Riding

Those of you who missed out on last sunday mornings ride missed a good one. New trails, perfect weather, I even brought sandwiches for a post ride snack. Benson and I headed over to Secret Steve's and piled all our gear on top of and into his wagon before heading south to Dead Man's Hill. There we met up with Kevin and Brian (the new, new guy). They had ridden the trail once, but for us other three it was the first time. First off, technically these trails are, for the most part, off limits to bicycles. Curiously enough, they are open to horses. I have my own little personal rule, and it goes something like this: If horses (which do more damage to the trail than a bike) are allowed to use the trail, and if they are allowed to defecate in the middle of the trail whenever they please, than I feel like I should be allowed to ride on the trail as well. We did, and it was a blast. Lung busting climbs and sweet, swooping down hill singletrack. There were enough technical sections to require special attention and a couple of dismounts. It was just wonderful. In the end, we tallied up about 15 miles of singletrack with a 5 mile dirt road stretch back to the cars. I will definitely be back before the end of the season.

Self portrait of the group (minus Kevin who was in front of me).

The view from Dead Man's Hill.

Monday brought the beginning of what would be my shakedown ride for the upcoming cycling adventure/tour. I had the bike all loaded up with my camping gear (tent, sleeping bag/pad, cookstove, small cookset, food, spare clothes, H20, wine). The plan was to ride up to Sturgeon Bay after work and camp out on the beach to get a feel for the bike fully loaded and make sure all the gear was in working order. The first thing I noticed rolling down the driveway monday morning in the dark was that my bike was really, really heavy. I estimate the bike, bags, and gear tipped the scales at a hair over 60 lbs. The flats aren't too bad. Going down is really fun because you accelerate like you're pedaling really hard, but you're not. Going up on the other hand is anything but fun. I've already started weighing individual pieces of equipment in order to try and shave some weight. For instance, my thermarest with chair conversion kit weighs close to 8 lbs. I dug out the old foam pad and crazy creek chair last night, and I will weigh them this afternoon. I also have a line on a bivy sack that I may borrow to take the place of my cozy two person tent with vestibules that is very heavy. When I first started planning this little cycling adventure, I was thinking I could easily get in 100 miles a day. Monday's ride to work and then the beach was probably around 40 miles, and my legs were definitely feeling it on the ride home yesterday morning. My legs feel good today though, so who knows. I leave one week from tomorrow.

Camping out at the SBYC turned out to be the perfect idea. A good half a dozen members were in attendance when I arrived, and most stayed till sunset for dinner and drinks. I passed up on offers of food to maintain the test ride protocol (squeeze cheese mac and cheese for dinner), but I did get a little extra wine from JT. Once the sunset, I had the beach to myself. It was awesome. I had two packets of instant oatmeal for breakfast in the morning. Then I just chilled out and read my book while I waited for the dew to dry off the tent. Then I packed up all my gear, loaded the bike, and headed for home.

Camping out at the SBYC for the first time.

One of the best sunsets of the season for me.

WNR @ Boyne tonight. Party @ HQ saturday 6:30. I'll provide beer and wine. Bring something for the grill and a dish to pass. Over and out.

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