Sunday, December 05, 2010

36 and 37

Somebody has been slacking on the Wednesday ride updates...I'll confess, it was me and since our official WNRide season typically ends on the last Wednesday before firearm deer season opens coupled with the arrival of several inches of snow, you might not expect there would to be much to report. However with the phenomenal riding season that we've had, we just had to find a way to extend our streak. With 35 consecutive weeks of riding already in the history books, we were determined to find a way to add a few bonus rides and possibly reach a total of 40 weeks of riding in 2010. There are enough weeks left in the year that we could conceivably reach this lofty (some would say crazy) goal.

WNR #36 - Bonus Ride #1 - November 17
Even though we don't start our night rides until 6:30p, well after hunters should be out of the woods, we've abstained mostly for our own safety as well as out of respect for the hunters...they are armed after all. Still wanting to ride some single track, we chose to ride at Avalanche Park in Boyne City as it is a Preserve/Park mainly within the city limits and off-limits to hunters. The weather was cool, around 38 and had been raining on & off throughout the day lake-effect style giving dry-ish respites when the rain bands shifted. Undaunted, six riders arrived to enjoy the ride including Myself, Action Chuck, Secret Steve, Racin' Rob, Kevin & Joe. With a break in the rain, we suited up & headed out. We only discovered Avalanche Park this year but it has quickly risen to a top ride destination with its tight, twisty, flowy & well managed trails. This would be the first time most of us rode the trail wet. The bottom half of the trail consists of quite a bit of clay, while this is normally nice & grippy, add a little (or a lot) of rain and you get sections something the consistency pudding covered Crisco. Normally a wet trail in the fall isn't too bad, there are plenty of leaves to soak up some of the rain & give you some traction. Unfortunately, some overzealous leaf-blower jockey had cleared the entire loop, making for traction, as Charlie put it, "like a glass doorknob covered in snot." Challenging, to say the least but kept the adrenaline near the red line at the same time the fun-meter was pegged. The steeper hills were mostly unclimbable, the roots course-corrected ever-so-gently and the corners let you drift whether you wanted to or not. All in all an exciting and worthy bonus ride! Plus, with all of the clay caked on our bikes & tires, we got to take a little of the trail home with us.

WNR #37 - Bonus Ride #2 - December 1
We planned ride the 2nd Wednesday of deer season at Boyne Mt. as it is primarily private property. This was the first time we were riding this near Thanksgiving so we opted to move the ride up to Tuesday (mostly to accommodate me as we were hosting the family dinner & I needed to help get the house prepped.) Alas, it wasn't meant to be this night as a snow storm along with some scheduling conflicts aided in the ride's demise. The following Monday, Kevin rallied the troops & we decided to try again and even though deer season would be over, we opted to stick with the previous plan to ride at the Mt. December 1st arrived with a little mixed precipitation in the morning that quickly turned to all snow & by noon there was about an inch+ in and around Harbor though the lake-effect machine had been pumping a bit more to the south. A brief flurry of emails confirmed that we were all still up for the ride, no matter what. With the snow bands clearly targeting Boyne Mt. Charlie & I pulled into the snow covered parking lot to see Kevin, Joe & S.Steve gearing up to round out our first snow ride. By the time we suited up and hit the trail, there was a good 3-4" fresh, white blanket covering the trail and plenty more falling all around. I was glad that Joe/Kevin/Steve were leading the way, breaking trail, let alone finding it. The wet heavy snow, along with the fact that the ground wasn't frozen yet, actually made for decent traction. With the snow falling heavily, it was difficult to see, whether you had glasses or not but our headlights effect was doubled as it reflected off the white trail ahead. It was a beautiful sight with the snow heavy on the thorny canes arching on either side of the trail, no longer reaching in to grab our arms as we passed. A few of the climbs were even less possible and the snow covered roots made for some surprising course corrections but we managed a decent pace and covered about a 7 mile loop in about an hour. the consensus was that this was one of the most fun rides that we've all done and I believe the first "Snow-Ride" undertake by our merry band...certainly not the last!

We thought we had better take a few pictures following the ride to commemorate the event & for some quality blog fodder.

As you can see, the snow was still falling at a good rate as we pulled up to our cars and made for some quick clothing changes before heading to the Red Mesa warming hut.

Not to be outdone, we are continuing toward the goal of 40, so long as the snow isn't too deep. Ride #38 will be at the Meadow, group launch at 6:30. Dress warm, bring your lights & make history with us.

*(Studded tires are optional)

1 comment:

SARGE said...

Thanks for steppin' up Benson. Glad to hear you're all still at it.