Saturday, October 1, 2011

Kurt Gowdy State Park, Wyoming

This state park is between Cheyenne and Laramie.   This was my first mountain bike ride of the trip, and a most excellent one.  I wanted so bad to repeat the ride and expand it but it poured right after I got back so I had to stop.  I love this park.   It's designed by mountain bikers for mountain bikers.  The hikers love it too and are grateful to have the new trails.  There are other nice mountain biking spots in the area (see this and this post), but this is my favorite.  However, I could spend a week here and do them all!

According to my GPS watch, the ride was a mere 3.89 miles, starting altitude was 7307 feet, highest was 7708 feet, so 400 ft climb.  Total ascent was 762 feet (not sure how much I trust this since I'm not sure how the GPS accounts for errors in altitude).

Here I am starting up the trail

 nice single-track:

lots of rocks to climb over.  some I had to walk.

a couple of "play areas" to practice climbing over rocks:

nice scenery

just the right amount of challenge:

pretty trees

more pretty scenery

I wanted to do it again, but then came the rain and thunder.  oh well, I was lucky, because I started just after a rain storm and got back before the next.  The first rain was not that heavy so the trail was not muddy.
This was an awesome ride.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mountain biking out west

I took my bike on my vacation trip and have had some outstanding rides in Wyoming and Utah, with California and Moab still to go.    I will post about the individual rides as soon as I have some time.  I am having so much fun mountain biking!   We started taking pictures of the bike in various places.  Here it is in Yosemite--no mountain biking here as national parks don't like us so much, so the bike stays on the car.  poor bike.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dorked Out

I've broken an elbow and kneecap in the last 5 years and I don't want to break anything ever again.  I don't want to hurt anything either.  So obviously I shouldn't be mountain biking but I can't help myself.  So I finally bought some fancy elbow pads and kneepads.  I am the only one who wears them!  I feel like a dork!   But...I want to keep riding.  Here I am, dorked out and ready to ride at my two favorite (local) places:   Camrock,

Badger Trail

Here's Marilyn on the Badger Trail, which we rode for the first time a few weeks ago.  This hooks up to the Capital City trail, or you can catch it at MarketPlace just off Seminole highway.  The trail is asphalt for about 5 miles and then turns into gravel.  The gravel was pretty coarse and Marilyn didn't like it so we just stayed on the asphalt.  It was a beautiful day.  This trail is great, much needed because riding on Seminole highway and roads south is not fun to me.  There is no shoulder and lots of traffic.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mountain Biking Kansas City area

I visited my family last weekend and rode a pretty good mountain biking trail.  I would definitely do it again.  This was the Smithville Lake trail.  One reason to do it is that my sister and brother-in-law like to take their fishing boat there so I can ride while they fish, which is what we did.  Actually it was kind of humorous:  we went for a ride in the boat, then realized the mountain biking trails were in another place, so we put the bike in the boat and went to a dock close to the trails (sailboat cove).  Here's a link to the biking map:
I rode most of it except for lakeside speedway which was closed because it was too wet.  One irritating thing that I suppose you could say was amusing in retrospect was that I was the first one on some of the trails in a 2 days probably because of the big rains they had (2 days previous), and I got "attacked" by spider webs.  oh my god, it was awful.  giant spider webs.  Obviously I ran into them but it felt like an attack.   Then this guy passed me and I said, "oh good, you get to eat the spider webs now!" and sure enough, my attacks ceased, for a little while anyway, then he must have veared onto another path.

We also drove to Stocksdale park in Liberty, which I would like to try next time.  It is not too far from my parents or my sister's house.  
Here is a link to the trails in the area:

Levis/Trow Mound Recreation Area

This is a great mountain biking area, but it's a 2.5 hour drive from home, so I think I'd just go here once a year.  Here's a description of the area:
with a link to the map.
I took snodgrass, lower glen, yellow jacket, out to trow mound, then the sidewinder and upper hermosa which were the most fun and technical.  Followed lower hermosa back, got on to lower glen, intended to take upper glen to do part of levis mound but missed the turn and ended up back on snodgrass to return.  Next time I think I'll start out the same, but come back on dead turkey after lower hermosa, and get on some of the technical trails on levis mound.

This is supposed to be some of the finest mountain biking in the midwest.  I thought it was great but not a heck of a lot better than my favorites close to home:  camrock, and john muir.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

camrock and john muir

I've been riding my favorite trails every weekend:  That is camrock area #3 and the John Muir trails at Kettle Moraine.  Last weekend I took the 12-mile blue route at John Muir, which is the hardest one.  What fun.  I even passed two gals.  I was catching up to them on the technical downhill and then passed them on a long steep climb.   This shows my three strengths in mountain biking.  I'm better than average technically compared to other women, and I have endurance and can handle the heat, thanks to my healthy diet.   Of course, I have many weaknesses, the main one being that I have much less strength than EVERYONE ELSE and I always get beat on the easy level and easy uphill stuff.

Today I experienced more challenges at camrock.  I tried to go over a steeper set of logs than I had done before.  It was a good time to try it but I did just what the mountain bike book said you will do if you do it wrong:  I didn't counter the back wheel bouncing up which caused it to flip over.  I didn't flip all the way over and handled the fall pretty well but I landed on my left arm and leg, like I usually do because I'm left-handed.  The problem with that is that I broke my left elbow in January and I'm trying to be cautious and avoid hurting it anymore.  um, you might say I shouldn't be mountain biking but I'll ignore that comment.  I just ordered some elbow pads and kneepads.   I also fell at a spot that I've fallen at twice already.  This is just dumb maneuvering.  I'm doing something that's natural on a roadbike and all wrong on a mountain bike, which is taking turns on the inside.  If anything, you need to take turns on the outside so the rear wheel will follow in the tracks better.  At this particular spot I am in a rut, my front wheel catches in the left bank and I fly off, fortunately in a cozy soft bed of tall grass.  It's almost fun, but irritating because it's dumb.  So next time I ride I will concentrate on going over logs properly--today I concentrated on the first step, but next time I'll concentrate on the more important last step--and following the "line" of the trail better.

I'm still commuting on weekdays, typically 14 miles with a stop at the grocery store.  My partner and I share 3 good things about our day as a nightly ritual and my bike ride often makes the list.  We aren't strict about it sometimes going on to 5 or 6 things which usually guarantees that the bike ride makes the list.  Last week I discovered mulberries along the bike path.  All these years I've ridden that path and never realized what a treasure they were.  Now I know.