Saturday I finally got out for my first long ride this season. I was feeling a little lazy at home and didn't get going until 10 am. As I went up the first climb on the parkway, I was feeling a little overdressed, but going downhill on the other side I was layered perfectly. It was one of those overcast days that would get too hot if the sun came out, but if it stayed overcast, I would be dressed perfectly.
I rode down the parkway and up the climb to connect with Hardtime Rd. I decided to skip the Arboretum portion because I figured it would still have snow and ice. Hardtime rd was slow going in spots and it was a relief to drop down onto the trails around the lake.
I had planned 4 hrs of riding, knowing that I might not be ready to go that long.
Below is a picture of a mini glacier on Explorer Loop. All of the creek in Bent Creek are carved out at the edges from mini glaciers. The one below is complete with mini fissures and crevasses. Pretty cool.
I wound around the woods taking my time yet keeping a steady pace. Up Explorer, to Bent Creek Gap rd, to Sidehill Connector. I had wanted to ride up the road and down Sidehill but opted not to, yet. Taking a left on the FS rd, I went up to the bottom of Hickory Top and started climbing. I was day dreaming about something, I can't remember when all of a sudden, there was a voice behind me asking to pass. I moved over and he came around on the left. It was a dude decked out in an Ouch/Maxxis kit on a single speed and he was moving pretty good. I thought about trying to keep up, but decided not to push myself.
On up to Five Points and feeling good, I let loose going down Ingles Field. With my newfound confidence in the Siren 55's ability to handle the trail, I was going fast, ( fast for me) and feeling good. Halfway down I spotted the Ouch/ Maxxis dude. It was on. I pushed myself and relaxed. Leaning the bike into the turns, hitting the little wall ride, ( whoa, I haven't done that one before, I was always going too slow there). Rolling over the trail faster than I remember going before. On the last steep downhill before the gravel road I caught him. Startled he started to pull over but I yelled for him to keep going. That was fun.
I wound down Wolf Branch and back out to Bent Creek Gap Rd. I like the climb up Hardtimes rd to the parkway but again decided to skip it due to the snow still on the road. I cut through the Arboretum on the pavement and back to the parkway.
Taking it easy on the way home, I took advantage of the mile markers on the Parkway to calibrate my odometer. I have not been able to get it right, and with six mile markers, I was able to get it dialed in!
So, 3 hrs and 15 minutes on the bike. The first long mtn bike ride this year felt really good. I'm glad to be back and I'm glad to be riding a bike that will help me push my limits!!!
Have a great day