Monday, October 17, 2011

More from the Forest

This weekend I rented an Epic FS 29er, then went to play in the forest. Another opportunity to try out a different mtn. bike.
Homestead trail head
 Look what a short person does to a perfectly respectable bike...turns it into a clown bike with big goofy wheels on a teeny, little frame. As if that's not silly looking enough they had to find a shorter seat post to drop the seat way down for me. The sexy little FS XC racer must be feeling a little sheepish looking like this.
But I don't want to ride up that!
 McDonald Forest doesn't have stunning scenery, but it is pretty in a subtle, woodsy way, with snippets of pretty scenery. The sun will manage to dapple the trail a few times, and there is just a hint of fall color to come.
Top of Extendo
Our first destination, Extendo. It defeated me last time, so it needed to be rode again. It's just the way it is.
I get a few butterflies in my tummy at the trailhead, but I'm ready to go....I think. Extendo isn't so bad on the Epic. The big wheels and full suspension do their job smoothing out the trail and handling the roots with aplomb. Before the end I'm choosing to go over some roots and rocks rather than ride around. That's always a good sign. I'm glad I rode Extendo again. Now I know I can learn to enjoy the trail and not just fear it.

Some thoughts from the trail:
I was able to get up to a reasonable speed, which gave me the momentum and stability to get through the rougher stuff. Hit a root quick and roll on over, and if I do slip...it goes fast and I get traction again, that much faster. Much better than moving slowly. In my head I know this to be true, but it's hard to get past the fear.

The bigness of the bike and limited standover was not a problem on the trail. Going from a small 26er to a 29er feels strange (and big) at first, even on smooth bike path. I was worried it would feel big and awkward on the trail, but it was a non-issue. This bike feels so much more stable and solid than my little Rockhopper. I have noticed when I walk the 29er, it's big. Like a bull in a China shop, it seems to bump into everything, but when riding it's all smooth and graceful.

Calloway  & Bonzai
While on Extendo we got a call from Wally and Linda who can join us in an hour for a ride. We agree to meet at Peavy Arboretum for a ride on Calloway trail. Many of these trails will be closed to Mtn. bikes for the winter, so it's a good time to get in one last ride for the year.

We ride up Calloway to Cronemiller Lake, taking the short route. I manage to ride to the top without stopping. I don't think I've done that before. Definitely out of breath, but I made it. I can't decide if it's a little easier to climb with the big wheels, but I think maybe it is.
Ron, Linda and Wally
From the Lake we head on up to the intersection of Patterson and Davies Road. I must be feeling more confident (or foolhardy), I agree to ride down Bonzai.
Road to Bonzai. Not sure why I didn't get a picture of the trail.
Photo opp at the cap house. This is the same scene as my avatar. The avatar was taken sometime in 2009 I believe, probably in autumn.
Cap house
I survived the ride down Bonzai! I even kept up (more or less) with everyone. Yeah the guys did roll out a little faster, but they weren't that far ahead. I even had fun on the whoop-de-doos. Our return route was back to Cronemiller lake, then down Calloway trail, taking the longer route. A perfect autumn day ride!

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