Tuesday, May 26, 2009

across the hills

I put in abute 61 miles and 2 pounds of beef this memorial day weekend. (45 on Saturday, 0 on Sunday, and 18 on Monday. i keed about the beef. but i did eat a lot of cupcakes.)

Saturdays ride was something I've been meaning to do for a long time. Many moons ago, a friend informed me that it was possible to start at Laural Mountain and ride to Hidden Valley and Seven Springs ski resort. The road, it was said, was dirty. 

I had never really looked into the actual route one would have to take until Friday. But when I did check my handy all inclusive map of the Forbes State Forest system, it became clear that a route to the ski areas would rather simple to follow.

Bright and early on Saturday (2 pm) I loaded up the Grumbler and headed for the mountain. I parked at the far end of the park's parking area, and started toward Beam Run Trail. Along with being a mountain bike route, the trail is still an active logging road.

From Drop Box
Hurray for the Burea of (de)Forestry!

I kept trundling along the trail until I came to a section of exposed slate.

From Drop Box

At first I rode passed the big rock, but I had to turn around. I raised my fist in the air, shouted "Tally Ho!" and charged up and down the thing, pretending that I was in Moab. Good fun.

After Beam Run, I took a few connecting fire roads, some that I had never been on, and rode down to a little bridge that crosses over the turnpike. If that turnpike did not exist, Forbes would be a nice, uninterrupted stretch of wilderness. But I guess somebody is in a hurry to get somewhere.

Beyond the bridge (which is a bitch to get a bike across. stupid bike/ horse control barriers) I had never ridden on any of the trails. It felt really good to be unsure of where I was. It was uncharted territory, (although I was carrying a chart of the territory) and all of it was mine to explore. I think that is something that has been missing in my cycling. I've been so focused on the ride, that I have forgotten about the destination. It felt like an accomplishment when I came off the mountain trails and rolled into Hidden Valley. Maybe some bike packing is in my future.

I reversed my course without an issue, and instead of riding Beam Run, took some of the technical single track through Laural Mountain. I rolled up to the Grumbler with a flat tire, and 45 miles in 4ish hours. My average was 11 mph for the day. I think I'll be ready for the Stoopid 50.

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