Well after last Sunday’s misadventures we deserved a good ride this Sunday, surprisingly we got it. I spent a little time fixing up the Bandersnatch and this illicited some questions from the others since I had been riding the Niner single speed so well. We came to the conclusion that I can’t stand riding a working bike without issues. The real answer is suspension. After 3 mountain bike rides last week my hands were bothering me a bit so I put a suspension fork on the Bandersnatch.
Joe, Tom, Adam and I left from Dog Pen trailhead where another unknown group of riders had parked. This is odd because it’s not a very well known place to ride. About 3 minutes into the ride Adam said his saddle broke, upon closer inspection we found it was the frame. The triple triangle GT Peace failed. The problem was that I had been running the seatpost to high for awhile and Adam just finished it off. The post was well in below the max line, but has I’m discovering bikes with inches of seattube extending past the toptube need much more post in the frame.
Luckily we shoved the post way way down into the frame and it worked fine. Adam was able to finish the ride, the only problem was a saddle height about 4 inches lower then normal. Somehow me managed to not only keep up but ride exceptionally well.
After a long and stout climb up the 493 we took the super flowy descent on the 497 to Bluehole. This was the scariest part of the ride for me. Tom took the front, he’s a veteran of many races and when the trail opens up to the point where it’s possible to ride fast then he rides very fast. I was unable to keep up with him on the downhill. I simply couldn’t corner the way he could and was working hard to gain time back between braking for the turns. When I tried to corner with more speed my front tire freaked me out by feeling like it was going to wash in the the loose dry dirt.
We eventually encountered the other mountain bike group at Bluehole and chatted with the three of them along with some horseback riders. A girl wanted me to meet her horse, gator, and pet him. I think the horse could smell the cyclist in me and wasn’t too interested. The other group of riders said they just randomly found the Dog Pen and hadn’t rode the trails there before, but were really enjoying it. If more people knew how good the riding was here we’d probably have to start charging. The riders were heading our way but didn’t follow us directly and we never saw them again.
The final climb back up to the Dog Pen is a long one, good benchcut with a some techy spots here and there, Adam took the lead and kept a very fast pace. He stood to power his broken single speed over some tough rocky climbs near the end while I geared down and spun up with ease. When Adam had nothing left to push, Tom passed us both and dropped the hammer for the final climb, it was all I could do to hang on and it left us both so winded that we couldn’t hold the speed to the end.
15.5 miles with a 7.4 average, that’s pretty fast for us and really for any Shawnee ride. Adam is pretty sure a bit of welding and a longer seatpost is all the Peacer needs, and everyone was pleasantly worn out at the end getting all the miles they wanted. It’d be nice if everyone group ride could work out like this.