Friday, September 17, 2010

WNR #27

Summer is behind us and so are most of our races, the temps are dropping and the daylight is fading earlier each day not to mention that the weather pattern has been decidedly too rainy & October-ish for mid September. This isn’t so much whining as stating the facts of Fall Mountain biking in Michigan. However the transition to this year’s season of riding has been a bit abrupt and we have had to adopt our cool-weather riding gear much sooner than expected. All of this may lead some non/infrequent riders to beg the question: “Are you nuts riding in this weather?” I say NO! We’re just enjoying the variety that fall riding brings. Not to mention that we get to don the headlights and do some night riding to extend the season! (still, maybe a little nuts...)

As for this week’s ride, the majority of the day was bright & sunny, a little cool but a nice fall day…until late afternoon when clouds started rolling in and a sizable green & yellow radar blob was pushing its way over the lake destined to collide with our ride on the Larks Lake NCT trail. Seeing that radar blob and having the opportunity to hit the trail early, I opted to get in a 30-40 minute pre-ride (or ride in the unlikely event that the other riders might bail.) Doing my best to ride between the raindrops, I headed up the trail and near the two-mile-mark I encountered Pete heading south on his ride from home to meet the group. We rode a bit further north & then headed back to see who was going to brave the weather. The rain was coming down a bit steadier but wasn’t too bad under the trees. Upon arrival at the trail head, we were encouraged to find a solid contingent of our fellow riders gearing up to brave the green blob. Kevin & Kerri were just pulling in, Charlie & Cheryl were almost ready to go, Bobbie was putting the finishing touches on locking herself out of her car (solved by a quick phone call to her dad for a spare key delivery) and Sarah was rarin’ to go! OK, we had to convince her to suit up & not sit in the car for an hour, but isn’t that what the rain gear is for?

The trail was in pretty good shape save for some plentiful sticks & downed branches from all of the recent windstorms. A few of the corners started to get a little sketchy with the added rain but all in all still good. Then Pete had a little mechanical with the single speed (yes, another bike issue) that kept ejecting his chain from the front ring. It looked like the chain ring was bent but turned out to be a loose chain ring bolt, easily tightened. Not wanting to chance it, Pete headed back to the car while Action Chuck, Kevin, Bobbi & I pedaled on to Robinson Rd. After a brief rest, we headed back up the climb (surprising Kerri on her way down) & back to the cars. With the clouds & rain, it was getting a little dark so we switched on the lights for added trail clarity…mostly to even out the fact that we couldn’t see through our rain & mud streaked glasses. Generally an uneventful return to the vehicles except that I managed to clear a sizable branch from the trail by picking it up into my pedals/frame/wheel/leg & instantly ground it into innocuous trail chips. Gotta love my steel-framed wood chipper (got lucky!) With everyone safely back and the rain continuing to fall, we made a quick change of clothes & headed north to Moosejaw Junction for some post-ride grub & beverages (minus Kevin & Kerri who were headed in the other direction but plus Racin’ Rob who worked late but joined us for dinner.) A weekend ride is planned for Sunday, starting from Team HQ at Noon:30 with a BYO cookout planned afterward and next week’s WNR will meet at the Pleasantview Township Hall to ride the NCT south with the possibility of some of the Cry-Baby course thrown in for good measure. See you next time!

P.S. I’ve been meaning to throw in a Copper Harbor Fat Tire Festival report but haven’t found the time. Here’s a little tidbit of a recently completed trail that wasn’t on the race course but should whet your appetite...if not for my post, then for the sweeeeeeet trails in Copper Harbor!

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