Wednesday, March 30, 2011

CSI: State Forest

My ride on Saturday was... a mix of sweet singletrack, puzzling scenes, and anoyances Mother Nature likes to throw at us.  This was the second time I've ridden Willowdale, the first time was last year in early March.  Last year the doubletrack/fire roads were in horrible condition with mud/snow/ice still littering the trails, but I remember the singletrack was magnificent.  That ride was cut short as I was bombing down a short downhill and a stick jumped up and snapped a spoke or two in my rear wheel - luckily leaving my derailleur untouched.  I had to cut that ride short, but vowed to be back....

A year later, ROUND TWO!  As I started the ride I jumped right into the singletrack and things were looking good.  Even better, things were feeling good.  My legs were feeling good (could spin class already be proving to be beneficial??) and my bike was outstanding.  As I tore through the trails I was already recognizing the route from the previous year and boy how the HiFi was just tearing it up out there!!  Short rooty inclines that I remembered as being a bastard on my hardtail weren't a second thought (except for "wasn't that an annoying section last time I rode it?").  Once again the HiFi proved to be an absolute billy goat on any climb I charged.  So happy with this bike!!  Over all the ride was eh.  The first half rocked, there was some sweet singletrack blazed with blue that was an absolute blast.  But as I got to the western side of the park I was greeted by snow.  And not just patches of snow here and there but firm, hard, not even close to being gone snow.  I came across stretches of snow that were basically telling me "come back after April vacation and maybe we'll clear out by then."  It was deep, firm snow that could handle the weight of me walking through without much sinking in.  Well, you know what snow??  I will come back after April vacation because during April vacation I will be railing smooth hard packed trails down in NC.  So how do you like me now???

The other week Big Bikes mentioned the inherent dangers of ravenous coyotes.  Which led me to make mention of coyotes here.  At the time I thought his was the ramblings of a mad man, and even pitied the rag tag life coyotes live (as evidenced by my comment expressing my hopes the coyotes had a success) but maybe Thom P knows more than he lets on??
I'm not sure about you, but I've come across evidence of animal on animal hatred on trails.  It's kinda curious and I often wonder who was involved and what the outcome was... was it just a scrap?  a courting gone wrong?  a straight up "get in my belly" murder?  Well, on this ride there wasn't just fur tossed around the trail, it went off into the woods.  So, me being me, I jumped off the bike and followed.  As I neared a clearing I saw a "chunk of fur" that I could not identify.  Was it a hurt animal?  A napping killer?  I grabbed the sturdiest stick I could find (first rule of horror movies - grab a damn weapon!!) and approached.  I had found the kill zone and it appeared relatively fresh.  What I had found was a chunk of the victims hide and nearby I found the spin/hips/leg bones.  Footprints were abound in the snow and it looked like possibly a coyote(s) had taken down a deer?  - check out 7/8 for visual evidence

To follow - a pictorial guide of my ride.

This is certainly not 100% accurate, but my best guess as the route I took on marked and unmarked trails.  
1 - nice fast trails
1 - nice fast trails, roots here and there

2 - crazy little bridge

2 - with crazy buff trails
3 - always fun to park in the woods
4 - some awesome ridge riding

4 - ridge riding

4 - and the gully cross down the backside

5 - an example of a switchback on the sweet blue blazed trails

5 - launch pad
5 - from the scars on the boulder it doesn't
look like everyone gets a clean take off

5 - trail takes a sharp turn after that rock...

5 - tight landing... not sure how you'd make that turn

6 - flooding from nearby pond.  came across another rider from the opposite direction with a little basset hound... no hesitation on the part of the rider (I had been considering turning back, but he proved it wasn't too deep to cruise through) but the poor dog did NOT want to cross the water.  It was a bit cold!!
7 - came across a "crime scene" right in the
middle of the trail
7 - followed the "evidence" to the kill zone

8 - saw this from a distance as I approached the scene
of the "crime" so I grabbed a weapon stick

8 - the "victim"

8 - looked kinda fresh... which worried me

8 - coyote on deer action?

9 - and then the snow came

9 - with blow down

9 - plenty of blow down - had to trek through the woods to get around

10 - and more trail flooding

11 - seriously?? another crime scene?

11 - cause no one would voluntarily give
up some sweet running shoes in the middle of the woods

12 - another jump - log version

12 - HiFi looking like a champ!

No comments:

Post a Comment