18 April 2012 - 9:12Pushing my Envelope
I’ve decided that linear blog posting is for the birds. I’m going to talk about my ride on Saturday, because you sure as hell do not want to know about the ride I took today. It was terrible. The one thing about Strava that I don’t like, is that it tells me when I am being a pussy. On top of a shitty day at work, I’m still tired from my “grinder” ride on Sunday, my legs felt dead, and I experienced a massive headwind on my way out. It all added up to suckitude. I felt the same today as I did Sunday when I bonked. I should probably take some more time off the bike…
But Saturday I did this!
Last fall I had heard about some trails in the Green Mountain National Forest. These trails were constructed over the last few years by VMBA, and were finally completed at the end of last season. I hadn’t had the opportunity to go check them out until this last weekend, and boy, I can’t wait to go back.
I had gotten directions to an obscure trailhead from Team29 rider Matt Germon, a local to these parts, but I had the hardest time finding it. I bailed on plan A and went to the trailhead I knew down by Lake Dunmore. Seamus and I finally started riding around 5pm.
The first part of this trail is a multiuse doubletrack trail that climbs up to Silver Lake from Lake Dunmore. I brought Weapon X, and scrintched the TALAS down to 110mm of travel and got in my easiest gear and grunted my way up. Once I reached Silver Lake, I ran into some folks I knew, also locals to the area, and got the beta on which way to hit the trail system, which I was encouraged to ride counter clockwise.. The trails were built as an out and back beyond and around the lake, so I aimed my front tire at the Chandler Ridge trail and started going.
Not 5 minutes in, I ran into Matt. We chatted a while before pressing on our separate ways. He’d said I had about 2 hours of riding ahead of me. On I went, the trail wound its way up the ridge. there were some switchbacks for relief, but there was definitely some rugged climbing. There were many false summits and a couple of big trees across the trail that took some time to negotiate, but I kept pressing on.
I stopped to take a picture of Lake Dunmore with Lake Champlain lying beyond. I noticed that the sun was getting pretty low in the sky. Having not been on these trails before, I had no idea what was ahead of me, or how long it would take to get back. I felt like I had to make a pretty serious decision pretty darn quick. Do I push on, into the unknown? Do I turn tail and go back the way I came? How much daylight did I have left? Do I really want to be stuck in these woods after dark? I’m not a fan of being stuck in the woods after dark unless I have planned accordingly. I had enough food, arm warmers and a wind vest in my Camelbak, and I was pretty sure I was going to have enough time to get out before pitch black. Plus Seamus could run off any bears or moose that might decide to terrorize me in the waning daylight. Still, I was out of my comfort zone.
Not long after the decision to keep riding was made, the trail turned downward, and a huge grin replaced the worry that must have been written all over my face. The trails are definitely more “old school” . They are rugged, and punctuated with rocks and sudden detours around or over bigger rocks. The WFO ate it up. I was so pleased with my bike choice. I had spent a little while earlier that day messing with the rear shock settings, and was finding it more to my liking. Still have some fine tuning to do, but I’m otherwise very stoked on that bike.
After ripping downhill for a while, I came to a trail intersection, which gave me a bit of relief. I turned of the Chandler Ridge trail in hopes that I’d soon reach the return trail of Leicester Hollow. And just as randomly as I had seen Matt, I ran into Mandy and her riding partner. She has ridden down here before, and she assured me that I was in fact going the right way, and that I was almost done.
Leicester Hollow features some pretty amazing rock work, it was hard not to stop and gawk. Really impressive stuff, and very fun to ride. I’d can’t wait to go back when I have more daylight to play with. The return trail was slightly uphill (go figure), but was easily ridden quickly. Before I knew it, I was back at the Silver Lake campground, and I passed the trailhead that Matt had tried to get me to. With the setting sun in front of me, all that was left to do was hurtle down the doubletrack to the car. Man, that WFO can really fly when you can let it run.
All in all, a pretty awesome ride. Despite getting turned around and lost a bit on the way there, and having my little fret fest on the trail, I’d have to call this one of my best days on the bike this year. This proves the point that those motivational posters say, that the magic happens outside of your comfort zone. Couldn’t agree more.