While the primary focus of last weekend was Coreen running in the Hartford Ing Marathon, there was ample opportunity for me to get out and ride some trails. Back home the leaves are coming down and the trails are sketchy/slippery right now. (I rode them yesterday. The leaves cover the trails. And the rain has made it slick.) But in Connecticut, the leaves are just falling. So riding on trails is still pretty good.
Connecticut has a system of trails called the Blue Blazed Trails. These are a series of long (40 or more miles long) hiking trails that run through different parts of the state. About a mile from my mother-in-laws house is the Metacomet Trail. Its a beautiful trail that runs along a ridge and looks down over the Farmington River valley.
I had two goals for my riding. I wanted to ride some single track that was new and more technical then what I have close to home. I also was looking for an off road way to link up some of the nice trails at Reservoir 6.
The terrain on the Metacomet trail is really varied. Some sections are what I would call wide single track or narrow two track.
That looks easy right? Well what you cannot see so well on the picture is how steep and rocky the trail really is. And by rocky I really mean its like riding on a dried stream bed. Big round rocks. (Up out of the saddle, soft legs.)
The trail is really a hiking trail and so wasn’t created with MTB’s in mind. From a mountain bike perspective it has a lot of narrow single track with really steep ups and downs. Its very technical and in places unrideable. Did I mention the rocks? And by rocks I don’t mean the nice round rocks you would find in the bottom of a stream. Nope I mean the jagged, sharp kind of you see in this picture.
You do not want to fall on that stuff. I mean….
OK Doug, lets not over dramatize this…..(Thanks Yeti. Hey where have you been?)
Its a challenging, beautiful trail. Well except when the trail just sort of seams to disappear.
Or seams to disappear. (Its a recurring theme)
There is a trail in there, its narrow and over grown, but its there. I had to power through. And by power through, I mean power through thorn bushes, see.
I pulled a couple of thorns out of my arm last night (4 days later).
Was it fun? Yeah it was (Thorns and all. I little blood rounds a ride out nicely ;)). There is a lot of challenging stuff to ride with steep up and down hill sections. It’s hard to find that flowy feeling, but that’s OK. I was learning. I discovered that my new bike is really stable going up steep technical stuff. The times I put my foot down were because I didn’t trust my bike and my legs to get up and over something. When I did trust I had no real problems. Going up those climbs was a lot of fun.
Going down? Well I need to work on that. I know that when I have my weight correct and use my brakes properly it feels good. Now I need to develop trust there. I am not where I want to be for ORAMM next summer. But that’s OK too. I have time.
I discovered another benefit of my new bike. Tubeless tires. When I was riding back I noticed my tires felt squishy. Those sharp rocks had “burped” a bunch of air out of the tires. Burping happens when you pinch a tubeless tire and break the seal just a little bit. If I had been riding tubed tires, well I probably didn’t have enough tubes to finish the ride.
My goal of connecting up with Reservoir 6? Got it. Now I have probably 20-30 miles of trail riding I can do which is accessible a mile of my mother-in-law’s house. Tasty!
Picture of the Day