Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Now it feels like winter

We finally have snow - about 1/2" of it.  And though the temperature is below 20 degrees right now, the forecast says that it will be up in the 40's in a couple of days.  So there's no real hope that the ground will freeze up any time soon and transform the singletrack from soupy unrideable bogs into grippy, frozen trails o' fun.  The thing then is - how long will it stay cold before the snowfall gets deep enough that you can't ride again?  I'm usually good up to about 4" of loose snow, less if it's wet.  Last winter we had over 6" of snow for over a month, and it was a long, dismal time.

We had our Christmas festivities on Sunday morning.  Kenny got a bunch of stuff, and seemed to be very satisfied.  We decided he didn't need another THIRD video game system, but we got him some games.  And he also got a ton of camping and backpacking equipment, to prepare him for this spring when he'll be changing from Webelos to Boy Scouts.  He got a bunch of other stuff too - a virtual heap of toys and clothes.

Then around noon, after all the presents had been opened, my brother showed up.  And he brought a bike with him - one that my wife had bought for me without me knowing.  I'd looked at it at the bike shop, but was actually considering one that was much less expensive.  But now I'm the proud owner of a new 2010 Gary Fisher Mullet - super heavy duty aluminum frame, mechanical disc brakes front and back, killer Bomber DJ front fork - in short the best bike I've ever owned.

It's great to have a new bike.  I'd been riding my wife's Trek for the few rides around town I'd managed since the cervical collar came off.  It's a nice bike, but it's definitely a little bit big for me.  I'd thought that the solution to my broken fork:

was going to be taking the fork off of my old Trek 820 and putting it on the 4300.  But now I have this new super heavy duty bike, and I'm about ready to get out and ride.

And I mean on dirt.  Kenny and I went out for a ride around the neighborhood on Christmas afternoon, and I got a chance to check it out - jumping off curbs, riding down some hills, doing a couple of small drops.  It was nice to get out and ride a little (and it pointed out how out of shape I am after two months of recuperating) but it just made me want to get out on the trail.

I tried again the next day, going for a quick ride around town with an more of an eye for features.  I did a couple of ride downs, a short stairs, jumped off a 2-1/2' loading dock, rode over some rocks, caught some air off of some buckled pavement in a closed shopping center...   It's amazing how many things can be turned into features if you start looking for them.

And of course I've been wearing my helmet without fail.

I'm not TOTALLY stupid.

I've been working on a map project since I had my accident - a mountain bike guide to the Allegheny National Forest area.  It will include a large (24"x36") map that shows the concentrated singletrack areas and also the gravel forest service roads and the gated oil and timber roads.  Then for each of the singletrack areas there will be a smaller map (either 8-1/2x11 or 11x17) that will show the trails, topo lines, hazards etc.  The goal here is to provide something that will be useful not only for cross country riders who want to find a place to get in a decent loop, but to bikepackers who want to string together a longer trip with singletrack, ATV trails, gravel roads & jeep trails.  There's a lot of work to do, but I've got a really good start.  Makes me wish I could take the bike and GPS over there and start some exploring on my own.

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