A group ride at Land Between the Lakes was put together for Sunday. The Canal loop and North/South trail there are pretty much known as the best mountain biking trails in the area. They are bike and hike only and well cared for by the local community.
This was my first ride there on a single speed. Single speed is great in the Shawnee, our trails don’t usually facilitate high speed riding. I’ve been told that many of the guys who ride SS at LBL run 18t gears or higher. I’m happy on my 22 tooth rear cog in the Shawnee, but next time I ride LBL I’ll take some gears. There are so many wide open, high speed runs there, along with so many short and steep climbs that having a wide range of gears seems more important.
Anyway the ride was awesome, we had a very mixed group age wise. We had a young man and his Dad who were both impressive riders, Ken riding ahead to set up for photographs, and Ryan on a wicked old school Full Suspension. I rode way, way to hard trying to keep up with Luke and later trying to catch him. Then I passed an old guy who was giving me a heck of a race, hanging on to my wheel. It was fast and fun.
After the ride I got to meet Carson Beckett in the parking lot. He’s 17 or 18 I think and on the National team. I’ve been hearing about how awesome this guy is since he was 13. I first heard about him while riding at Glendale. There is a super steep rocky climb that I’ve never been able to make, and never seen anyone make. Carson was at the Fat Tire Festival held there one year and rode up and down the climb over and over again while the ride regrouped. Stories like that have cemented his legend around our area.
LBL is such an awesome place, I wish we had something similar in the Shawnee, but there were probably more mountain bikers at LBL Sunday then there are in all of Southern Illinois. Maybe if we had a trail like the canal loop there would be more of us?