…means warmer than usual temperatures, which translates into more time on two wheels.
This Christmas Eve, the weather was just right for a nice ride in Jim Thorpe Park, an old mining town in eastern PA, now made over into a tourist haven. It also features miles and miles of old mining roads, railroad beds, and lots of rocky singletrack connecting them all together. We’ve been coming here for a few years, and I know we haven’t even scratched the surface of what is really out there. Maybe someday a local will hook us up with the secret locals only goods, but until then, we will continue to have lots of fun exploring.
Sunday’s ride was one we had done a couple of times before, only this time we changed it up a bit, so instead of a big loop, we did a figure 8. Lots of climbing. We made it so we got to do the tricky descent called Bob’s Option twice.
I was riding Kermit, set up as a fully rigid singlespeed. I will say that I was totally amazed at the Niner fork. For the most part, it felt buttery smooth. Steering was right on, and with the Mary Bars, it was super comfy. Even on the long rocky descent of Bob’s Option, the fork was amazing. Steering precision was good, but I wish I had put the 185mm rotor up front. My arms felt like rubber by the time I got to the bottom, but having great control allowed me to be really choosy when it came down to finding the best way down the leaf strewn trail.
On more level ground, the fork absorbed bumps in a way that only those that have ridden a good rigid fork would understand. It almost feels like there is a suspension fork up there, only there isn’t. When flying over the rough stuff, the bike sucked up the bumps with aplomb. Very reassuring.
I was also using the WTB Weirwolf 2.55LT tire, which was an excellent choice for the day. Large volume, fast rolling, and plenty of grip. I ran about 28 psi front and rear, and despite the way they become slicks in the mud, I never broke traction. There were a few spots on the shore of Mauch Chunk Lake that were really greasy with red mud, but they worked for me. There wasn’t a lot of mud, but it was super sticky. Maybe the consistancy was thicker than our New England mud, maybe I had the pressure right, who knows. It was probably just luck.
I even managed to keep traction when the guy on the 26er full suspension in front of me didn’t.
You see the funniest signs in PA.
The ride was probably about 18 miles in total. We were out for a good chunk of time, and I had the best ride food of all. One of the benefits of cooler weather riding, is that you can bring snacks that would otherwise get rancid in the heat of summer.
What could I possibly be talking about? Why, MEAT of course!
Meat Bag came down from VT, the remenants of our first Xmas BBQ. There was a lot of leftover fould and swine. We couldnt let is all go to waste. There is nothing better than cold BBQ chicken after a long grind up a steep hill.
I remember a very cold and blustery trip down Porcupine Rim in Moab in November, where delicious meat sandwiches saved the day.
They’ll keep you warm, and if you forget your gloves, the bags come in handy.