Had a three day weekend thanks to veterans. I appreciate all you’ve done for us veterans! Got three good rides in this weekend. Did a 30 mile road ride with Mom and Dad on Friday. Did a 21 mile mountain bike ride Saturday and a 10 mile mountain bike ride today. I forgot my camera on every ride and have no pictures of my own, but at least one rider has posted up some pictures.
The 21 mile mountain bike ride was amazing, we had 17 riders. That’s alot, especially for just a regular weekend ride in the Shawnee National Forest. “It’s growing,” was said several times Saturday. THe Shawnee Mountain Biking Association has been around for years and become a fixture in local riding. Every year the Fat Tire Festival creates a spike in mountain biking popularity for a few months. I wrote up an entertaining ride report for the mountain bike website, here it is.
The four winds blew riders from each corner of the SMBA nation to Frank’s Tract for an epic ride Saturday. Riders came as far away as South Africa, the Pacific Rim, somewhere south of the border, and even Carbondale. Civilians all over Pope County were in awe of such a gathering of people riding something that doesn’t have an engine or eat oats.
Things started off with some fine downhilling but disaster struck early when Roberto found his rear derailleur disconnected from his bike. Somehow the clever riders behind me were able to repair his bike in minutes and the remainder of the ride was free of mechanical difficulties.
Eli, Gatekeeper of the Forest, stayed near the front and controlled the pace of the ride keeping those with notions of hammering in check. The pace was gentlemanly and everyone enjoyed the McNally bottoms trail with its many creek crossings. Ed enjoyed the crossings so much he decided to dive right into one. He reported the water was on the cool side. Ed didn’t have time to lament his splashdown because Joe (Macho Man) Elis was keeping the pace moving and counting down to launch at every regrouping. Slacking was not to be tolerated.
After miles of sweet bench cut we arrived near the bottom of 2-mile climb, any attempt to hold the ride together was disregarded as it was now every man for himself. Joe led the upward effort until we arrived at a technical rock garden near the top. Joe was unable to clear the rocks and Roberto took advantage of this moment of weakness to take the climbing jersey,
Jcrain in his rookie season proved his mettle when he cleared the 3rd toughest climb in the SNF with the lead group, he went to challenge moe, roberto and myself for the climbing jersey, I admit I was the first to fall from the infernal pace this group set, but from this lowly riderï¿½s point of view no one is going to rip that jersey off the back of roberto.
Riding the final bench cut section was like riding through the aftermath of battle, riders were laid up on trailside clutching strained and swollen limbs, but the site of Pedro gave the riders heart to carry on knowing that the end was near. Everyone made it back to the trail head mostly no worse for wear and many converged on the nearby dining establishment for refreshments. Unfortanitly this rider had to rush home licking his wounds and preparing for today’s East Side adventure, which if you’d like to read about you’ll have to ask JW.
Now after two mountain bike rides I hurt in places i don’t usually hurt. My shoulders, back, shins and arms to name a few. Mountain biking creates strains that road riders can’t even imagine. Every year when I switch over to primarly mountain biking I think, “gosh I can’t believe I’m ever going to get used to this.” After a few rides and my muscles have adapted it gets easier. The problem is I’ll quit again in the spring and become a roadie again and go through all this next fall.