Monday, December 10, 2012


I've been lucky (knock on wood) to not have experienced ride ending mechanicals.  I've broken spokes mid ride, I've nudged my derailleur enough to making shifting annoying, but not impossible... but haven't had any huge snafu that would completely end a ride.  (Ok, the spoke "shortened" the ride)

Well, on Saturday I met up with Sean and a couple other guys for a tour de Lake Norman.  With the new section open, they boast 30 miles of trails.  I wasn't sure what the plan was for the day, but I was up for a fun ride.  As I drove up to Lake Norman the skies looked kinda dubious and I was second guessing if the earlier trail report would hold true.   Things held out and a ride ensued.  Even with two mechanicals - both occurring for the same unfortunate rider, the ride was swell.

We hit up the Laurel trail to start, which now leads to the new section, and it was a blast - sans the mechanicals.  The bummer of the ride was realizing how much mileage I was "losing" with the garmins.  At the end of our first section my garmins read 14 miles whereas a magnet reading computer read 17 miles... at the end of our ride (which unfortunately didn't comprise of ALL the trails - but a thigh saving call to quit indeed) I was short almost 5 miles!  So my "22.something" was actually 27.somthing. F-that.

First thing I'm doing (after a full tune up) is throwing a magnet on the front wheel to try to remedy that nonsense.  Here is what I don't get - why not put it on the front wheel??  I dunno.  In the past I put the magnet on the rear of my HiFi - which never really made sense to me, being it is a fully and stuff moves and whatnot... But my fellow rider (who was on a hardtail) had his magnet on the front - why not?  So yeah, I'll do that, maybe straighten out the chaos all these switchbacks cause on the mileage front.

Either way, 22 or 27 miles, it was a good ride.  Lake Norman is fun.  Some flowy fast stuff out there, and more climbing than you would expect.  The new stuff didn't really feel all that new.  In fact, you couldn't discern a difference between the new trail and the "old" trail.  The new stuff was well broken in - no loose dirt that you might expect with new trail... so that was nice!  That just meant the speed could be maintained and there wasn't as much worry of washing out on corners ( I mean, leaves were still a concern).  But thankfully there were no wipeouts on the ride.

It was interesting riding in a group.  I mainly ride solo, which allows me to push it where I want and recover where I need.  The thing about riding in a group that gets to me is worrying about the rider in front (more so than the rider behind).  If I don't really know the rider in front of me I tend to want to give a good distance as I don't know how they are going to react to the trail and I don't really want to end up, well, up their ass if they slow significantly out of no where.  On the other hand, when you have people behind you it pushes you a bit.  Which can be positive - not allowing you to "wuss" out when you can keep the pace up.  In the end, I appreciated riding with other people.  But, I also recognized that one of the things I cherish about mountain biking is the solitude.  Being able to get out alone, push yourself, and enjoying nature.

Which reminds me, as I was waiting on my fellow riders I discovered why it was I was so off on my ride at BYT last week... but I'll save that for tomorrow.

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