The downside was that it was 23degrees F (-5 degrees C) and it had snowed the night before. The high was only going to get a few degrees warmer through the day. Our plan was to meet up with Kevin Carter along the loop and hammer out the loop in 10 hours or less.
|Heavily bundled up against the cold|
|Dylan - ready to rip our legs off for the next 9 hours (with a smile, no less)|
The temperatures were so cold that any water we rode through immediately froze on our bikes, legs, or wherever it landed.
|A frozen covering on the feet|
Fountainhead was fun as usual with some great double jumps and excellently constructed new singletrack.
I used to avoid the park because it was so eroded, but now with the new trails, it's something I'm going to look forward to riding more and more (and I'm donating $$ to the rebuilding effort).
It had been a windy night and the trails had a lot of dead tree limbs on them. A large stick got caught in Mike's rear wheel and immediately snapped his derailleur hangar. Luckily, he brought a spare hangar and in 10 minutes, using a handy tree as a repair stand, he was fixed and we were back on our way.
Laurel Hill is another fun trail network built by MORE and its construction looks to be all-weather with gravel lined singletrack. The grass-lined trails were great in the late afternoon sun.
From Laurel Hill, we headed north toward Accotink through multiple water crossings. Ian whacked his calf badly on his pedal while crossing one of the streams and his leg locked up on him. He was limping and obviously in pain and unable to pedal smoothly. Not good as we still had 15-20 miles left to go. Once we got near Accotink park, he and Mike decided to skip the singletrack and head straight back to Ian's house on the smoother trails.
Dylan, Kevin and I pushed the pace through the park at a threshold rate and after a regroup for more food and to top off Dylan's food reserves with some Jet Blackberry GU (my favorite flavor), we rolled through Wakefield park, past the dirt jumps and back to Ian's house.
Total distance was around 92 miles total in a bit over 9 hours of ride time. Dylan rode an extra 10 miles to put his total closer to 10 hours and 102 miles. A solid day for mid-20 degree temperatures in February.
I was not initially sure about moving over to a 29er and to a hardtail after racing the past 21 years on a 26er bike and the past 5 years on a full suspension Spark. But, after putting in lots of miles on my new Scale 29er, I'm very happy to have made the move. As John and Ross told me last year, this bike is a rocket. The flat road sections fly by. I find I'm able to keep up speeds close to what I'd normally do on my road bike, and in tight singletrack, the bike shines - it's the best of both worlds. And, the integrated shock dampening on the seatstays and Ritchey seatpost, plus 2.25 width tires take the edge off any roots/rocks and terrain. I can't wait to see what the new full suspension 2012 Spark 29er RC is going to be like.
Next ride is in two weeks. Hope to see you out on the trails!
Here's the Strava map: