Monday, December 21, 2009

Like Riding a Bicycle

After a long hiatus from riding a “real” bicycle, I finally had a chance to get out over the weekend to do some trail riding. The winter weather that we received Friday had kept most of our local trails closed on Saturday. I was really getting desperate to find a way to ride a real bike, as the X-Bike is not a valid substitute. As great as my reviews may have been on it, it is nothing like the real thing (in more ways than one.) I was getting a little loopy since I haven’t been riding, and even Little Miss Sunshine was noticing my craziness. Since there was not a chance of riding on Saturday due to the weather, I planned on riding somewhere on Sunday, even if I had to ride a wet trail.

I woke up on a really cold Sunday morning and started trying to figure out where to ride. I briefly considered riding my road bike, but I quickly decided against it. It was way too cold to be going that fast, but most importantly I needed some trail time. I am a mountain biker first, after all. My original plan was to ride at North Meck, but I found that it had received a couple inches of snow. So much for staying local I guess. After checking the Tarheel Trailblazers website, I found that nothing was open. Would I be stuck riding on the road? Where could I go without getting blasted for riding a wet trail? I had to figure it out fast, since this was the last day of the weekend.

Paul was a big help.

After Lunchbox awoke from his overnight coma, he asked if I could take him and his friend to Soul Ride for some skateboarding. I agreed, and even considered riding my skateboard as well. I haven’t been on it much either, but I really needed to get on my bike. I decided that I would load up Goose on the truck, and drive by good ole Sherman Branch to see if by some chance it was open. After dropping the youngins off at the skatepark, I headed over to check the gates at SB. No dice. Damn it, I thought for sure that it would be open, since it is usually one of the first to do so.

I did have an ace in the hole however, and I used it. I headed over to the Harrisburg Half, which is a short drive from the house. It is an all-weather trail, but it’s only ½ mile in length (hence the name.) It would have to do I guess. I arrived at the park and got ready to ride.

Goose was ready and so was I. All I had to do was bundle up, since it was about 40 degrees outside. I figured that I would do a bunch of laps, which was sure to get me warmed up. I got dressed, removed Goose from the rack, and prepared to pray to the singletrack gods (albeit smaller and shorter singletrack gods.) As short as this trail may be, I was still hoping to get my trailriding fix.

After a quick climb up a gravel path, I arrived at the trail entrance. This is an official “Trailblazers” trail, but it is all-weather so it was okay to ride. Besides, it didn’t look wet around the park area. At this point there could have been a monsoon and I would have ridden it anyway.
Here is the start:

Since I was riding solo, this will be mostly a recap of the trail. I thought about setting the timer to catch me as I rode by, but I actually didn’t feel like it. All I wanted to do was ride. Anyhoo, the first part of the trail is a fast downhill section, complete with banked turns and a nice little jump.
After you hit the trail, here is what you find:

Then you go right into a sweeping turn which helps you carry a lot of speed:

After that turn is a little jump option that goes into another banked turn:

Here is a photo of the jump from the other side:

And a close-up of the banked turn:

As you can see, the trail is in great shape. I find it hard to believe that Sherman Branch (which is only a few miles down the road) wasn’t open, but I guess the trail gods didn’t deem it so. I didn’t take anymore photos; since I was too busy riding.

After the banky-turn section, you climb up a short section of gravel road and hit the trail again. It drops into another downhill section with a few more jumps and some bigger baked turns. I looked down at one point and saw that I was going about twenty m.p.h. Nice. This trail is not all downhill however; you do have to climb back out. The climb actually sucks, but I enjoyed it (remember that I am a glutton for punishment.) I really needed to get out and ride my bike, since the X-Bike doesn’t cut the mustard. It’s okay, but it is not any kind of substitute for the real thing. I will continue to ride it during my lunch breaks, but I will not rely on it for “cycling fitness.” Besides, who the hell wants to ride in place for an hour every day? I need to move through the trees. That’s why I ride a bike in the first place. Peace.

2 comments: said...

Sherman was "sopping wet" Sunday. We're talking 30 and 40 ft sections with cold/muddy standing water! Someone else DID ride it Sunday, I could see the tracks they left.

TheMutt said...

I figured it had to be really wet, since Sherman usually opens pretty quick after it rains. I rode by the gate anyway, just in case. I'm glad that place is so well-protected, since it is truly a gem of a trail. It sucks that someone snuck in and rode it, but that happens I guess.

By the way, I really miss the updates from Thanks for the comment.