Friday, April 27, 2007

Playing in the Dirt

Since I'm thinking about racing 5-Mile Pass next Saturday I've been riding the mountain more than I usually would. On Wednesday I rode a quick loop at lunch of Dry Creek, BST and Bobsled, using the new connector trail to get from the BST into the Bobsled. This new trail is much better than the steep, loose, rocky trail that is the "official" entrance. While the new trail is still a bit steep, it has none of the other trail's characteristics and is actually fun to ride. One other noteworthy event of the ride was my entering Dry Creek at full speed. This resulted in a bit of air which was fun. No big deal to most of you but for me it was another small step forward as I become more comfortable on the mountain bike.

Today I rode Yellow Fork after work and was pleased to find the entire loop not only rideable, but dry! In fact, there wasn't even much "green mud" on the trail. I rode it counter-clockwise (Well, I rode everything except for the final section of doubletrack that takes you up to the ridge. I'd say that is basically unrideable right now due to the big, loose rocks and rough, post-holed mud.) which was good as I didn't see any horses on the climb (it's more difficult to pass them than it is for them to pass you). However, I encountered four separate groups coming up as I descended the other side. All were very polite, thanking me for getting off my bike while they passed. The lead horse in group #4 was a bit skittish, refusing to approach me on the first two attempts. I asked the gentleman on the horse if I should lay my bike down but he said no, it was the first time his horse had seen something like me and he needed to learn how to deal with it. Luckily he appeared to be a skilled rider and didn't have any trouble controlling his nervous, spooked horse. Eventually his horse calmed down and walked past me with the others following calmly behind. Friday evening probably isn't the best time to be on the trail (at least not when the weather is sunny & warm) but even with the horse traffic it was a fun ride.

Tomorrow I'm driving to Payson to ride with a friend up Payson Canyon. I'm not sure what trails we'll be riding but given that he finished 2nd overall in the ICUP 19-29 Sport division last year it should give me a good idea of my fitness level compared to the riders I'll face next week. He's now in the 30-34 group so we'll be racing together this season before I graduate to the 35-39 category next year.

1 comment:

Kris said...

Glad to hear Yellow Fork is good to go.

One thing about mountain bikers that seems to scare horses is the helmet, so I often take mine off and it does seem to help. Maybe the helmet makes us look like aliens to a horse; without it we look more like humans they're used to seeing.