Ahh, the fresh air, the warm weather, and - best of all - the increased day light after work adds up to an additional day each week where my friends and I will be riding. Until the waning hours of fall approach we will be riding on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. Most of the time we are still riding at Barboursville park because we generally like the trails there. However, I think we will try a few other places as well - including, perhaps a weekend trip to some remote part of the state later in the year.
While I haven't been blogging about it I have still been riding these past few weeks and, this past weekend, the weather couldn't have been better. It was a nice and dry day, no humidity at all, and the thermometer was stuck in the mid 70's. It was gorgeous. Mike, Gilbert, and I headed out to the park but we were running late so we missed riding with Ed. Once we did start, however, we didn't take any prisoners and we attacked the mountain more aggressively than we have before. We went up our normal starting ascent and then circled down and around the mountain back to our starting point. From there we headed back up and followed the "trail of doom" down all the way to the bottom, through "green rocks" and over to the river trail.
At this point we haven't gone much further than we usually do before reaching the bottom but we have changed altitude a lot more thanks to the extra initial ascent and we have ridden much harder going down than normal. I'm not sure exactly what happened but I developed horrible, horrible, horrible heart burn on the way down so I decided that instead of taking the river trail with Mike and Gilber that I would just coast along on the road and meet them back at the top. As I peddled away from them I decided that instead I would follow the road to where they come out of the river trail and join them on the difficult "Devil's Hollow" ascent. Taking the road, it turns out, is a bit faster than the river trail and, undoubtedly, a bit shorter as well. I waited for a bit at the foot of the ascent and then decided to just push on without them. I took my time because every time I started to really push myself the heartburn kicked back in. After one of my many breaks I saw Mike and Gilbert had begun the climb so I finished up and waited for them. After we were all at the top we split up again as they wanted to go down a semi-difficult deer trail, follow the river again, and then go back up the road. I knew my chest wasn't having any of that so I decided to work my way back towards the car.
Of course, my plans change as I ride and I saw a hill that I have never managed to climb before so I made a go at it. I got a bit further but still couldn't complete the climb in the saddle and I had to walk my bike on the upper half. Once up there my heart burn was miserable so I just took it easy and rode on some flat ground until I saw a fun looking descent trail that I hadn't ridden before. It ended in a dead end as a huge tree covered the foot of the trail so I had to blaze my own path until i came across a grassy hill that I was able to ride down to reach a gravel access road. I then took the access road around a bit and up again until I reached the parking lot we started at.
Overall I think I rode about 9 miles. Mike and Gilbert rode about 12; Mike probably rode about 1/2 mile more than Gilbert because Gilbert ran out of water and wasn't feeling too good near the end of their second river trail ride.
One cool part of this ride was that Mike brought his camera and we took some pictures before a short, but very steep, descent. Even though the photos are cool I'm not sure they do justice to the apparent steepness when you are riding down. Hopefully we will continue to take photos and, as we do, I'll stick some more up in this album to share. For the meantime here are three of me as I progress down the descent.