I have not felt well this week, I have spent a lot of time in bed and had a hard time getting out for exercise. The week culminated with a full-blown stomach virus thing Thursday. It was kind of weird I started off the day with stomach problems that continued to get worse at work. I spent the night alternating between shivering and sweating. Luckily I woke up mostly better Friday morning and didn’t have to miss work and just as lucky I was invited on a ride in the far off land of Missouri, St. Louis Missouri.
If you’re wondering why a few Southern Illinoisans would drive 2 hours to the big city to ride mountain bikes let me tell you about shotgun season. See here in Southern Illinois we have a lot of deer and a lot of government forest land which means we have lots of hunting on the two weekends a year that allow shotgun hunting. We also have alot of “out of towners” who travel in from all over to bag em one of our big ol’ whitetail bucks and some of these guys may have never seen a deer in real life so when they see a guy riding a bike in the woods they may just shoot. It’s best to stay out of the woods.
Mountain biking means a completely different thing to some people then it does to me. For me mountain biking is an adventure, the trails are in the middle of the forest and I usually have no idea where I’m at and every ride is a little different depending on what trailhead I hit up and which series of trails I ride.
For some people mountain biking is a recreation activity on a well-marked and groomed trails, there isn’t much choice on trailheads and which trails to ride because there is only one and sometimes you can only ride it one way, and instead of actually being in the woods you’re in wooded area near a subdivision or in today’s case a theme park.
Greensfelder Park is about a mile up the road from Six Flags over St. Louis and while I have to admit the trails were awesome they lacked a certain amount of authenticity. We started on a rocky technical trail that had enough challenge to keep anyone happy. We ended with a fast flowy 4 mile loop that allowed you to stay on the gas the whole time. We rode pretty much all the trails in the area and clocked a bit over 10 miles. I was eager for more riding but the group was ready to call it quits.
It’s kind of funny to me that at no point were we ever farther than 1.5 miles from the car. The trails would track back and forth with switchbacks to keep the climbing manageable so that you covered a lot of ground despite that fact that you really weren’t going anywhere.
It may be that I am so used to trails littered with downed trees, loose boulders, slippery creek crossings and killer hills that when I ride a set of trails actually designed for mountain biking I feel like I’m cheating.