Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chesnut Ridge

Last week after hours of gazing wistfully through panes of glass at the brilliant sunshine I had to get in a ride.  I rode up to Reddish Knob on pavement, then linked together a few fire roads and some doubletrack which put me on top of Little Bald Knob dodging snow from the last Saturday's freak snowstorm. I turned left onto the Wild Oak Trail that runs along Chestnut Ridge. On my left I could see the Little River drainage basin and on my right I was looking down on Todd Lake and the North River watershed. After the first mile of trail in which I had to dodge errant snowdrifts and struggle to stay upright I finally hit some dry singletrack! Although Chestnut Ridge is not my favorite downhill it certainly ranks in my top five. Although you have some supremely smooth sections you definitely should not be lulled into complacency. In a matter of feet you can transition from trail which is the biking version of  chocolate mousse, to singletrack which is more reminiscent of an ax murderer than a delicious chocolate dessert. A combination of loose rocks, ledges, roots, and recently fallen leaves, makes you wonder about your sanity in bringing a hardtail with skinny xc tires on such a technical trail. Having just barely escaped major bodily harm you soon forget the numb hands and pounding heart in an ecstasy of fall brilliance and endorphins. As you may have gathered I had a great ride! I did take just enough time to get a few pictures.

Snow still on the ground at Briery Branch Gap

Muddy fire road heading toward Little Bald Knob

Lately I have been playing around with HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography. I am certainly no pro but it is fun to see what you can do. This set of pictures first shows a regular photo with a few tweaks; the second one has received the full HDR treatment. I am not really sure which one I like better but they both have their strong points. The HDR photo has an interesting effect on the grass and rocks on the foreground. Let me know what you think!

I was able to get in another long ride yesterday afternoon and evening. Look for another post next week with more stories, pictures, and HDR magic!

Til next time,

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