Monday, December 3, 2012

Spousal Interference

Posts have been sparse lately. The title of this post has nothing to do with it. Work, holiday activities and upcoming trip planning have pushed posting to the sideline. Those who follow me on Strava see I've been getting at least one good ride in on the weekends. The bike has been de-emphasized during the week for a while now, with increased emphasis on running and rollerskiing in hopes of an actual 2012/2013 ski season.

Group MTB rides were planned each of the last two weekends, 50 miler stuff, which some might call epics. Neither materialized. Last minute, ride participants bailed, leaving me to ride solo. Spousal interference was cited in both cases. The fact it was snowing out would never have anything to do with it...

A week ago it was just as well the others bailed. The prior three days of the Thanksgiving weekend left me pretty cooked, and hammering out 50+ miles with others would have surely put me in a bad place. I rode 30+ miles at a comfortable pace instead, having a very pleasant ride.

This past Saturday, I planned to hook up with one other rider for a 45 mile Willowdale/Bradley Palmer/Georgetown loop. The snow started early, but it was light. It also was well below freezing, so things stayed dry. Literally keys in hand, ready to get in the car, phone rings. I just knew.

I opted to ride a little closer to home instead, where I knew all hurricane Sandy debris had been cleared. I often refer to this loop as "tour of the C-towns," starting in Chelmsford, passing through Carlisle to Concord and back.

First tracks on a connector trail from rail trail in Chelmsford.

Mid morning a brief snow squall moved through, dropping close to an inch of snow. Riding became quite treacherous. Go figure that a year-old, bald Racing Ralph tire doesn't hook up on snow glazed rocks and roots. That isn't what nearly caused me to wreck bad though. It was the snow crusting over my glasses to where I missed seeing a protruding root on fast section in Estabrook. Pedal found the root.  In an instant, my bike was 90 degrees in the trail and I was hauling ass. Over compensating, I almost went down on the opposite side. Could easily have hip checked on the fallen tree right there. That wake up call put a damper on my pace for the rest of the ride.

The loop in Wright Reservation is always meticulously clean.

I cut a couple of the more technical bits out of the ride as an act of self preservation. Still managed 45 miles at a nice, steady endurance pace.  Other then the rail trail sections, I pretty much had the outdoors in this fairly urban area to myself.

On Thursday I head to Kansas City for an extended weekend getaway. On my bucket list is to mountain bike in all 50 states. Six states remain. This weekend I hope to color in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. You may ask "Wait a minute Hill Junkie, are there mountains there?" Nope, but it's not flat either. One area I plan to hit is Wilson State Park to ride the Switchgrass Trail system. It was just designated an IMBA Epic.  The Hell Creek section will surely challenge me with scary ledge riding above water. Switchgrass is a long drive from KC, but the novelty of the terrain looks worth it.  There are numerous other destination riding areas in and around the greater Kansas City metro area on both sides of the Missouri/Kansas state line to keep me entertained. Maybe even a night ride is in the works. For Nebraska, the riding is much more limited in the nearby accessible SE corner of the state. I plan to head up to Indian Caves State Park, an area popular with equestrians. Hope it is not too choppy. Bike is already there waiting for me. Psyched to get away for a few days.


Anonymous said...

IMO you will enjoy the riding in the Lawrence Kansas area much better than central Kansas. I grew up northeast of Salina KS and you are going to be riding west of there where it is very flat and featureless. Lots of sky is great but the riding is much more interesting around Lawrence versus west of Salina. I went to college in the late 80s/early 90s at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. There is a strong cycling community there and lots of options for mountain biking. My whole family lives in Salina so wave as you go by on I-70. Enjoy your midwest riding. I live north of Gorham NH now and love the riding here versus there. Enjoy your trip.

Hill Junkie said...

Anon - I've printed out maps for Perry and Clinton Lake trails near Lawrence. Depending on how the weekend goes, I may make a day out of hitting those two. I still plan to hit Wilson Lake. My experience in visiting most of the states is that anything IMBA designates as an epic is something I enjoy. Thanks for the tip. I'll certainly give the Lawrence area greater consideration.