Personally, I'm not too excited about the new year. The best thing about it is that it means that 2016 is finally over. It was not a banner year for me, and I'm glad to see it go. But the course ahead looks grim, and the prospect of watching the country go down in flames over the next four years really depresses me. So I've made a decision to have a personal boycott of all news media until January 2021 - everything may suck, but I won't know about it. As a part of this effort I'm no longer visiting Facebook - not because I believe that it's inherently bad, but because I don't want to see the news or all the ugly things that ignorant, evil people believe. I have been sharing items to the bicycling page I made for our area on occasion but I'm no longer actually visiting my page. This is for my own piece of mind - if it bothers you, kindly keep it to yourself.
Since I last posted in October the fall riding season has long since come to an end. But late fall might be my favorite time of the year, and I took advantage of every bit of good weather to get outside. There was a great camping trip with Diana at Kelly Pines in the Allegheny National Forest, quite a bit of trail work, and of course lots of bike riding. That includes some great mountain bike rides as well as plenty of pavement miles. I made several trips down to Beaver Creek State Park to ride the trails down there, including the still to be finished new trail above Salamander Trail. I think that Beaver Creek might have the most mountain bike suitable terrain in Ohio, and the new trail takes advantage of it to the fullest extents. The riding can be very technical, but I love that stuff and really enjoy getting out on Dogwood, Salamander, and the new trail.
Of course I also got in plenty of fall rides at West Branch, the park that's just 25 miles down the road. Much of that was night riding, which doesn't really make for great photos but is still a lot of fun. I just checked back on my MapMyRide ride log, and it looks like the only other singletrack that I rode in the fall was at North Road Nature Preserve, where I had a whole bunch of short, after work rides.
|Apparently I never get tired of taking pictures of the West Branch skinnies.|
|Freshly raked trails at North Road Nature Preserve|
And then there was the wet spot - a short section of very dense scrub that tends to hold water way longer than anywhere else we built. Because of the restraints of the property we had to build at least some trail in this wet area, or not build the loop at all. Thinking that the only solution was going to be to build over 100' of turnpiking, we put this section off for last. But with volunteer hours dropping off I was faced with the prospect of singlehandedly bringing back several tons of fill gravel with our trail wagon - something that would have likely taken me another year to do. So I was very happy when Trumbull Metroparks agreed to give us enough money to build a 120' long boardwalk across this problem area. I started construction in August, and finally finished in October. Most of the construction and material hauling I did myself, but there were a few kind souls who pitched in for a work session or two.
|The boardwalk with newly finished transition.|
|Stopping to cut out a downed tree while hauling more lumber back to the build site.|
|New trail will run through the trees on the creek bank.|
|I also managed to put a large hole in my elbow, which is still not healed 6 weeks later.|
I made a Thanksgiving day ride on part of the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail, doing some volunteer work for the Industrial Heartland Trail Coalition by checking one of the 'trail itineraries' that they are developing. It turned out to be an interesting ride, with almost no one on the trail, rain most of the way - and a nice layer of crushed limestone trail surface spread evenly over me and my bike.
|Covered with grit.|
I also made a couple of snow rides in the cold periods of December & January, evenly split between mountain biking and pavement riding. Keeping my schedule of riding 3 or 4 days a week was pretty nice, and I managed to hit my 2000 mile goal for 2016 by finishing with 2100 miles. Not sure how many miles I'll try for this year. I'll get in as many as I can during the winter, and then see how the numbers shape up when the weather starts to break.
Near the end of the year I took a look at some of the video that I'd take while out riding, and put together a short video of my riding year in review (though there are some clips included from before 2016). I did the same thing last year, and was happy with the result, but this year the song I found to be the soundtrack really added a lot. This year's review turned out even better than last years, if I may say so myself!
Here's hoping that your trails are dry, the wind is at your back, and the hills are few.