Perhaps there is a subtle reason I never caught the CX bug. It spans the season where I feel most alive as a cyclist. The trails are dry, the air is crisp, and the bugs are gone. Trail riding is at its best in the fall. Competing this time of year would take away much of the enjoyment I derive from cycling I think. There would be pressure to maintain fitness, tapering for weekend races, and hoping you don't get hurt. I don't really do the math on this. My inner spirit just knows this is the time of year to kick back.
Do I miss competition? Maybe just a little. I really don't race that much anymore. This is the second year in a row I've not done a single mass start road race. In fact, I've only put a bib number on nine times this year. I wouldn't rule out one more event this fall. Some guys I know do 10 races a month. I'm on the hairy edge of becoming more of a recreational cyclist than a "bicycle racer." I'm sure some would say I've always been a recreational rider, a Fred even. Whatever. I do what best helps me maintain sanity.
We've been getting a long string of gorgeous riding weekends. This weekend was no exception. Saturday, Mark Suprenant and I hit the North Conway trails. Mark didn't have any races this weekend and was free to check out terrain new to him. I hadn't been up there since last October. My favorite New England trail is the Red Tail Trail, which descends Black Cap Mountain above town. There's quite a collection of trails around Black Cap. You have to truly enjoy climbing to enjoy riding this side of town. There are rewarding descents, but you have to earn them. We repeated the loop I did last year. It epitomizes Hill Junkie riding.
I took a lot of pictures. I'll let them do most of the talking rather than bore you with details. You can find our track on Strava.
Top of the "wall" on Black Cap trail. Very difficult to clean. Dog from hikers just over the lip.
HJ on Black Cap summit with White Horse ledge in background. Photo by Soups.
Soups on Black Cap summit
Another of Soups with Presidential's in distant background
This looks like it doesn't end well, but he avoided catastrophe. I did same thing coming over
that big log. They are spaced exactly wrong.
This was probably on Outer Limits trail. Route following became very difficult at times with leaf drop.
Pillar Trail between Quarry and Sticks & Stones
Heading up the Cranmore ski area service road to hit Red Tail Trail.
Red Tail Trail, the final reward of the ride.
Continuous bombing down Red Tail
Post ride we stopped at the Kearsarge Cafe in town for burritos.
Good burritos topped with this amazing hot sauce.