riding on the trails again
We took a chance with our weekly Wednesday ride this week. Temps were in the 50s and sunny. Road or trails? We chose trails and low and behold.... They were dry! For mid-March, I am overly impressed. Especially since it looks like NJ is pretty wet as well as Mass and NC.
The crew I ride with on Wednesdays typically ride in the Meshomasic State Forest on but we figured that would be quite wet (it usually takes longer than others to dry out). This week we ventured over to Case Mountain and found nothing but relatively dry trails. Got a solid 2hr mountain bike ride in. Saw Brendan from the beat bike blog whilst out there too. Parking lots for trail heads were quite full as well.
It took me about 45minutes to get a grasp of riding offroad again; albeit very rocky offroad terrain. I haven't ridden stuff like this in a few months. It was also the third ride on my 1x9 and I was still trying to figure out this shifting thing. It wasn't that long ago that I rode a geared mountain bike (2006 and once or twice since) but since then I have completely changed how I ride a mountain bike. I found a method that allows me to ride a singlespeed just about everywhere which is a completely different method than 2006 and earlier.
I was having fun being able to shift gears and such but more often than not I was in the wrong gear. Huh? With the singlespeed I just motor through stuff and deal with it. Kind of float over everything so to speak since I have a bunch of momentum. With the 1x9 I found myself shifting to 'spin' the pedals more. This resulted in me catching a ton of rocks and slowing myself down. I think its easier to ride a singlespeed on those trails.
The 1x9 did allow me to pedal through all but one of a few areas that I can't get through my singlespeed. The one I couldn't get is a sharp 90deg turn left around a tree with a bunch of rocks the size of 5gallon buckets. That 36x30 is pretty cool. Having said that, I really only used the 20, 23, 26 and 30 on the cassette. I found myself splitting the difference between the 36x20 and 36x23. That makes sense, my singlespeed gear (34x20) is right in-between those two in terms of roll-out. I think I need to go back to a singlespeed. My new singlespeed better arrive soon otherwise I'm going to have to bring the 1FG back to a 1FG.
All in all, it was good fun and pushed me the second hardest I've gone this year. I needed that. My bike stayed pretty clean too. Most of that dirt in this picture was from a forest service road ride in early February.
Tomorrow I'll swing a leg over my Vicious 29er and ride across town to work. Saturday looks like good weather. I want to go ride some more of the Metacomet.