Friday, September 25, 2009

Trail Building

Since my move back to the land of vacations and taxes, otherwise known as Maine (of course when you live here you don't get to take vacations as you always have to work to pay the taxes), I've been lacking in quality trails right out the back door. I'll admit I was pretty spoiled over in Conway with Davis Hill out the back door and the great trails of Peaked, Sticks and Stones, and Cedar Creek all within riding distance of the house. Of course in Conway there is also a very large riding community, but over here in Bridgton there seems to be a large contingent of people working far too much just so they can pay their taxes.

What this has meant is that there are many trails that are overgrown or places where a trail should just appear. I keep thinking that will happen, but alas it has not.

That has meant a bit of picking away at some sections of trails that needed to be cleared and this week it has meant a bit more flagging, raking, cutting, and moving things like downed trees and rocks. I'm making a bit of progress and now have a couple of good loops (short, but fun), and am starting to enjoy the process of building. The best part- no damn bridges! Although there are a few sections that will require bridges, but they will be a good 36-48 inches wide with grip tape applied to the riding surface.

Last night I wanted to go check another stand of woods where there were some good trails about 10 years ago, but has since been logged. I was all of three minutes into the ride when I had a very quick and violent trip over the bars while I was not rolling very fast. I managed to not smash up my face, as the helmet took the hit, but it rattled my skull pretty good and I managed to mash my wrist and shin in the process. I kind of wish someone had a picture of my on the ground trying to untangle as it was one of the better scorpion poses I think I've ever had.

Of course being by myself, it being three minutes into the ride, and knowing I had a hall pass that lasted for at least another hour, I picked myself up checking to make sure that I wasn't about to be treated to that pain that takes a minute but when it hits it knocks you on your butt. But things seemed to be working. The blood coming out of my shin seemed to be only a trickle and the swelling was going to happen regardless of if I stood around or rode, so I remounted. I think I was trying to convince myself I hadn't thrashed myself so I took off and before I could realize that my vision was off a bit and my neck and arms weren't really communicating all that well I found myself flying through the air once again. This time the landing was fairly tame, however it really shook my confidence.

I choose to walk out of the woods and remount after I found a trail that I had already raked, and rode slowly to a place where I could at least make some trail improvements for my next ride. My neck and shoulders got pretty tight, but I was able to rake and clear debris for the next hour or so and almost go another loop completed (maybe tonight). Needless to say Advil has once again become a good friend of mine.

My hope is that I can find some other riders who live in the area. We have a few kids on campus who have said they'd like to get out and ride. One of whom I've gotten out with a couple of times. I've seen a vehicle rolling around with some nice shiny bikes on the roof, but have never seen the bikes actually being ridden- I'll have to work on that.

That's it for the moment.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weekend riding in VT and NH

Saturday morning I picked up Mike D, aka Outdoor Addict for a trip up to Kingdom Trails for a day of riding. We left about 7:30AM and arrived at the home base for the FODOFT a bit after 9. Apparently they stayed up too late the night before and were just getting around when
we pulled in. After everyone got their gear together and all lycra'd up we made our way to the Darling Hill section of Kingdom Trails.

Craig and his 80's era bike, nice green machine

The morning started out wicked chilly with temps around 40 degrees. I was riding my SS 29er and figured once we started to peddle that I would be plenty warm. A few guys were decked out in jackets and the like, only to begin the stripping process about 10 minutes later.

Our trek started on Loop and then onto a black diamond trail called Pound Cake. (Name makes me think of the Van Halen song of the same name) Its a nice bit of singletrack and a couple technical spots. A good place to get warmed up. After a trip around Fence Line and some other nearby trails we started our way towards Webs and Riverwalk. Some new bridging down by the river is nice.

Our group was about 10 strong and at about noon we arrived at Sidewinder, which for many folks is one of the main reasons they come to KT in the first place. This pic was taken at the end of Sidewinder, as you can see, plenty of smiles.

the FODOFT Crew

After 2 trips down sidewinder and back up we started our way back towards the parking lot. Once we crossed Darling Hill Rd. we made a quick left onto a double black diamond trail known as Jaw. I had ridden Jaw earlier in the summer, well actually walked a bunch of it cause it was a complete mess. I had heard that some new bridging had been done and that it was in nice shape. I was skeptical but figured that I would give it a shot. It was great. All of the really crappy sections were now passable by nice new bridges. Great work by the KT trail crews. After Jaw we made our way up Sugar Hill to Ridge and finally out to Heaven's Bench which has some of the best Vermont views there are.

SUrviving the climb to Heaven's Bench

View from Heaven's Bench

After our pit stop at Heaven's Bench we headed to Bill McGill and made our way back to the parking lot. All in all a great day of riding at Kingdom Trails.

Mike D, Team GT

Mike and I drove back to North Conway and I called DEA to see if he was up for a ride on Sunday as he wasn't able to make it to KT. He was in so we met up Sunday AM at Wal-Mart to ride, doesn't everyone meet at Wal-Mart to mountain bike ride?

DEA was accompanied by Chris, a student from BA, a lacrosse player I believe. We had a good ride of a couple hours. It was fun showing them around some new trails they had not been on before. Sort of being a tour guide. After about an hour and a half my legs were pretty spent. There wasn't a lot of life in them to begin with from the day of riding on Saturday at KT.

Sven and his love for walking bridges

Both days the riding was great. Cool temps, dry trails and great riding mates. What more can you ask for but more of the same. Who's up for a ride this weekend???


Friday, September 18, 2009

Kingdom Trails

This weekend is our annual trip to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont to the Mountain Biking Mecca of the East known as Kingdom Trails. The nice part is that it it less than 2 hours drive. Even better is the 100+ miles of singletrack riding.

Unfortunately DEA is not able to make the trip but Mike D is going for his first time. I think he'll be wicked pleased with the riding, except he's bringing a bike with gears. What's up with that??? Here's some video of KT Video. Some pretty cool stuff.

Hope to get some pics and maybe some video. Catch ya later on with a ride report.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fall Riding

Fall isn't here just yet, but it's feeling like it. Cool nights, damp mornings, in fact I've even seen trees starting to shake off their summer coats.

I dig fall riding, usually as the pace is mellow and the legs are good. The trails are usually pretty buff and the bugs had died in the last frost. With all that said I'm hoping I can get out and do some fall riding! Work has gotten busy and weekend hall passes are hard to come by. My wife would like me to get out and ride but it's the office that is keeping me tied down. I keep thinking it will even out, but so far it hasn't. Oh well.

October will be a bit better and there will be a couple of cross races to give me something to shoot for. The only weekend I'm keeping as sacred is Porky Gulch, I love that race.

Other than that not much to report. Ski season will be here soon and morning skin trips up my local hill will keep me entertained. Still working on passes for the winter, hopefully we'll have that dialed soon!

Until next time, ride safe.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oh my.

JJ found this, and I wanna play.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Where Did My Bike Go?

It's been one week since I swung my leg over a bike. I guess that is what happens when school starts and you work 14 hour days every day! Life gets a bit more back to normal in a couple and I will likely try to start riding again. With that in mind I need to bring the Chilli Con back to life as it is still in pieces from Newton's Revenge back in July.

At some point I also need to come to grips with my cross season and figure out what races I can make a reality. I need to look and see if there are any weekly cross sessions down in the Portland area as that could be a good way to get in a bit of good training/racing.

That's it at the moment- a recap of the Summer Series coming soon.