East Meets West

Posted by on Nov 8, 2011 in Daily Blog | 2 comments

Buzz and I grew up biking the sloshy trails of the North East.  Now we’re spoiled ripping the dusty single track of the West.  Out East, riding is a touch more technical than out West.  First you have to contend with the weather since it’s a rarity to have a few days in a row without moisture dripping from the sky.  That leaves the trails not only muddy but slippery.  Exposed roots are slick, and the rocks in the trail have the sheen of green moss.  In the fall, you never know what’s hiding under the carpet of leaves – thick tire sucking black mud, a splash of water, or maybe an upturned stick ready to flick up and whip your legs?  When you’re done riding out East, you pull the sticks from your chain and brakes, hose off your bike and shake off the mud splattered all over you.  You’re never clean when you finish.

Out West, 300 days of cloudless skies leave the trails dry, hard packed and dusty.   If it happens to rain, you wait a day or two for the trails to dry out, then you ride.  You can ride much faster, because the obstacles are easy to see and your tires grip everywhere except the soft sandy spots.  Typically, the toughest part of your day is navigating rocks and avoiding the random snake sunning itself across the trail.  The climbs can be tough and the oxygen lacking, but I much prefer riding out West than East.

I was spoiled until yesterday.

It snowed 5 days ago and it melted fairly quickly, but not everywhere.  I grabbed the bike and head out for a quick 12 mile single track loop.  About 4 miles into the ride, my tires started picking up a little wet sand that easily flaked off, but then a little mud became mixed with the sand and started to form a cake around my tires.  Eventually the mud became not only thicker, but harder and impeded the wheels from spinning.  Jumping off the saddle, I tried getting the mud out, but a type of adobe brick was forming.  Mixed into the sand and mud was straw!  I ended up pushing the bike up a few hills and tried riding it.  In testament to Specialized, I could somehow shift and brake, but riding wasn’t going to happen.  So I pushed once again until I made it to a road.  At this point, I laid the bike down and jammed my hands in between the spokes, the chain, gears, brakes and everywhere else I could reach.  The bike was ridable, and it got me home, where I promptly hosed it off.  My helmet, sunglasses and everything I was wearing was splattered with dark mud and my hands were frozen.   Oh the memories, I was home back East again.



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