This past weekend was a long planned Mountain Biking trip to Mount Wood State Park in northern West Virginia (near Parkersburgh). Typically we just ride some local trails so it was pretty exciting to be going about 2 hours out to hit some totally new single track. I woke up pretty early (7am) on Saturday because I couldn't remember what time I was picking Ed up at (9am). Since I was up so early I went to Walmart to get a spare tube and then came back home and had some oatmeal, loaded up the car, and then drove over to Eds. I was still there half an hour early.
At Eds house we filled up our water packs (my house was under a water boil advisory due to a water main break). And then we headed to route 2 to meet up with the other car for the drive up at around 9:30. The drive took 2 hours and then, once everyone was ready to go it was just about noon. At this point I really should have had a snack of some sort but I wasn't hungry and nor was I thinking about food. This was my first mistake of the day.
We started the ride from Mike's mom's house which is in an awesome location about 200 feet from the trail head. We jumped in and started a great ride of short descents and short climbs. The one constant of the days ride is there would be no time spent on flat terrain. Mike has a cool GPS unit and he uploaded the course we rode so you can see all the cool details. The bottom of the page has four tabs (they are really faded so its hard to tell they do anything) but the elevation tab does work and it will show you how the course bounced up and down. It was a ton of fun to ride though I'm not sure I was fully ready for 16 miles of it.
At about the seven mile marker we came out into a place called the Savannah and a really cool, but slightly overgrown, obstacle course was waiting for us. It had neat rails you could try to ride on, a teeter totter, and a long ramped jump. The approaches to many of the parts was really overgrown but we still managed to try a few of the things. I successfully rode onto one of the small rails but had to bail before reaching the second. Ed conquered the teeter-totter and then we each took a try at the jump.
This first photo is of Ed making the jump look pretty easy. None of us got very much air but I think Ed may have gotten the most. He also rode down the jump very slowly and amazed me by nothing flipping his bike in the process.
Mike made the jump too. He didn't get as much air as I expected but he still did a good job. He also rode slowly over the jump and surprised himself by not flipping his bike.
Gilbert followed and landed a nice jump as well.
This photo of Gilbert is great. I like this head on angle becuase it makes the jump look a bit more impressive. Though, honestly, I'm not sure anyone's jump was as impressive as mine.
I had neither sufficient speed to make the jump nor sufficient upper-body strength to save it at the last minute. Nor did I have the technical skills necessary to ride slowly over the jump without flipping so I flipped. Hard. I landed pretty squarely on my head and broke my helmet in three places. I also bruised my face, shoulder, and knee a bit. Thankfully, that was all. The rest of me was OK - my bike wasn't even damaged. Needless to say I think I'll leave off jumping for a while. (This was my second mistake of the day for those counting.)
After this tumble the other three played around a little more then we resumed our trek around the park.
At the 9 mile marker I was starting to feel pretty worn out and Mike offered me a chance to bail and return to his house. I declined (mistake #3) and kept on riding. By the 11 mile marker I was exhausted. My legs were like jelly and I was hiking my bike more and more often. Steering becomes pretty difficult as you fatigue but amazingly I didn't crash again that day but I sure did come close a few times. At one point I was going so slow I just told the others to keep riding and to put stick arrows at any intersection that I might need directions at.
Near the very end of the ride I was getting a bit of a twentieth wind and I managed to ride for the last mile or so without having to hike but boy was I tired at the end!
Once at Mike's house we all cleaned up and then headed out for some grub at Wendy's. I knocked back a half-pound burger and a chili and Dr. Pepper. I also finished off my big Gatorade bottle that I had started before the ride. My total dietary intake for the day was 2077 calories. It wasn't enough - not by a long shot. If you noticed on Mike's Garmin page his computer estimated we burned exactly 2077 calories during the ride. I was at a net of 0 by the time I had eaten at Wendy's - after the ride. Next time I will not only eat a small snack before we start but I'll bring some granola bars or something to eat on the trail.
Even with my crash and my exhaustion I had a great time. The trails were great and the other three guys were pretty patient with my slow pace. I'd definitely return to Mt Wood for another ride.