Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekend of Freedom

The last few weeks I have been caught up in school papers, tests, and problems at work. Rather than raiding the medicine cabinets for a handful of anti-depressants I got on my Giant Anthem and pedaled till my legs felt like overcooked spaghetti. I was able to get in one ride by myself Friday after work on what has to be the most blissful piece of singletrack in the GWNF; Dowells Draft Trail. Many trails are multi use or geared more towards hikers but this is one of the few bike specific trails in the Shenandoah Valley area. Because of it being bike specific it is nothing but winding, flowing singletrack; not rocky precipices and boulder fields with a hike-a-bike thrown in the make things even more interesting.

Friday afternoon and evening I was able to get in around 20 miles of fire roads, single track, and gravel. Who says you have to party to have fun on the weekend?!

Sunday morning I was wondering if I could coerce any of my friends into going for a medium length recovery ride when I got a call from a friend I hear from maybe twice a year. He was hitting the trails at 2:30 and wondered if I wanted to come; does a bear *&%@ in the woods?! I had never biked this trail and he hadn't either but we set out in the spirit of adventure. After what seemed like 50 stream crossings we finally hit a 2-2.5 mile climb. Much of this was in excess of 20% grade and had slippery leaves, broken limbs, and four foot high water breaks you had to scale. The branches left over from the winter storms were more than a little inconvenient and not only tore up my legs but occasionally totally blocked the trail. My derailleur  also fell victim to this rapacious trail. As I type these words my bike is in intensive care and there is little hope that my SRAM XO component group will remain whole. Yes the ride was plagued with equipment breakages, running out of food, and legs that went on strike, but there is still nothing like an afternoon in the mountains with friends.

Till next time,

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