Sunday, October 25, 2009

Real World Hops

I just got back from a ride at Dryer Road Park. I brought a camera but took no pictures or video. The fall leaves look awesome, but it's still hard to stop and deal with a camera.
There are lots of leaves on some trails. Others have none.
There were a lot of mountain bikers there. Trek had a booth set up in the parking lot to show/ride the latest mountain bikes, I guess. I didn't check it out. That may have attracted more bikers today. Plus I went a bit later than last time.
I got a good number of comments from bikers. Most people just comment on how difficult it must be. It IS difficult, but mostly because of the uphills. I wish I could have a super low "granny" gear on my uni. One guy said something like, "Hey you're the guy I saw on the Tryon forums".

There were probably about 10 situations where I needed to hop over a small log or large root. I think I successfully hopped and rode out of about 3! It's my first time ever using hops on a trail, so I'm pretty excited about that.

For the record: First I rode over to where I thought Kaleidoscope should be. But I didn't see any sign, so I moved on. I rode up Kasha as it was supposed to be easier than some other options. The beginning was, but it ends at the upper field with a pretty steep hill. I then rode Ziggy around, and like last time, I like Ziggy. I then went down the Fort Hill trail, and tried Alpha Betty. That was a good trail. I then took Epping Trail and Epping Trail Ext. There was a pretty big hill at the end of Epping Ext.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Fall" Leaves

I went to Whiting Road and the Midnight Trail again today. The leaves are totally covering the trails. It makes it a bit slippery in some places, like climbing hills. But worst of all is not being able to see obstacles like roots and rocks. I ride a little bit more on edge, knowing a hidden obstacle might throw me at any time.

I rode with my low quality uni-cam. Here are two frames of video. The first is just before I hit something and UPD'ed. Then I moved the leaves and found the offending root.

I've gotten to know these trails pretty well over the past few months. I actually remember where some individual roots are, give or take 10 or 20 feet. Especially the ones that are in the middle of an otherwise friendly stretch of trail that have caught me by surprise in the past. With the leaves down, I enter one of these areas but I don't know exactly where the evil root is. So I'm riding even more on edge.

Some areas are worse than others. It just depends on the number and types of trees.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dryer Road Park

This morning I rode at Dryer Road Park, a mountain biking park, in Victor, NY.

The trails have been rated like trails on a ski slope.
Unfortunately, these ratings are for mountain biking, not mountain unicycling. I got some advice from a local forum and by a few riders on the trails. Some advice was better than others.

Long story short, many of the trails are too difficult for me at my current skill level. But there are some that are good, and many that pushed me.
I took video like yesterday, but it's not worth editing. It's all too shaky, but here are a few frames to give an idea of the trails.

I felt like I gained more skill today. I think I climbed hills better than ever. I've read about "getting out of your saddle" and standing while climbing. I think I was doing some of that today, and it help a lot.

There is also a "Skills Park" in development, just next to the parking lot. I might actually be able to ride this when it's open.

Here's a list of trails I rode and my thoughts on them.
[A]A-Train: No good for me. It's just switchbacks and a lot of it is too steep. I think I got some bad advice on this one. A biker I talked to later said that "Kasha" would have been better.
[T]Tree Beard: Parts of this were ok. But I'd estimate about 30% walking. That's a bit high, but I should try it again.
[SW]SSW: 15% walking. It was ok. But it led me to a junction on black diamond trails and other hard trails. Two bikers there suggested none of them were going to be good. So I ended up riding SSW back the way I came.
Fort Hill Trail: I rode this from the uppermost (southern most) of the Upper Fields. It was ok. But there are 3 or 4 buried logs along the way and a few bigger hills. If I get my hops down this might be more fun.
Ziggy: This trail was challenging but fun. There are a good number of ups and downs, manageable obstacles, and close trees. This might be a favorite.
[EF]Epping Forest: I liked this one too. I figure I only had to walk about 10%. And it's pretty long. I got on at the Fort Hill trail, and ended at the junction of a bunch of trails. I talked with a rider there and he suggested trying Moon Valley.
[M]Moon Valley: This is a one way trail, so uphill is the only option. Unfortunately it go too steep. I won't ride this again for a while. Next time I'm at the start of this trail, it might be better to try the Epping Trail Ext to get back to the parking area.
[G]Gully Down: This is a manageable way out. Nothing too crazy.

I think for the most part, any trail on the map that looks like a bunch of switchbacks have steep parts. Trails that look less coiled up might be better.
A plan for next time: Start with Kaleidoscope, loop back and ride Kasha up, cut over the Upper Fields to Ziggy. Then take Ziggy all the way around to the southern part of the Fort Hill Trail. Try the Betty Loop while I'm there. Then ride the Epping Forest, and take the Epping Forest Ext trail back out.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Colder Weather

It's unseasonably cold here lately. ~40°F today and tomorrow.
I rode at the Whiting Rd Nature Preserve and the Midnight Trail again this morning. I was a bit worried about being cold, but it turned out fine.

I wore a long sleeve undershirt made of 50/50 nylon and polyester. A cotton t-shirt and a single layer nylon (I think) jacket. Half way through I was hot, and took off the t-shirt. I know cotton isn't good for this weather because it holds sweat, but that's what I had. I wore my usually nylon shorts and my knee braces too. I plan on riding tomorrow, so the only thing I might change is not even wearing the cotton t-shirt.

I was able to get up a hill I never could before, and on my whole ride at Whiting I had no UPDs, and only dismounted for 4 big hills and a bridge.

I held my camera and made a small video of my ride. Nothing too exciting:

I noticed a "New York State Environmental Conservation Police" truck in the Whiting Road Nature Preserve parking lot. I wonder what his purpose is.

Monday, October 5, 2009

MUNI Sticker

I saw I could buy a European style UNI sticker but I thought a MUNI sticker would be better.
I had one custom made by a guy on eBay for $4 with free shipping. It seems like it's good quality, but who knows how it will hold up to the weather on the back of my car.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hojack Trail once again

I rode the entire Hojack Trail again this morning. Here's the map I made when I first rode it.

I had only a few UPDs, from a few rocks or roots I didn't see. I think I get too comfortable sometimes and stop concentrating on the trail. I also had to dismount a few times for traffic at a few road crossings.

This was my first ride that I wore my new knee braces. I like to think they helped. The middle strap around the back of my knee got a little bit irritating towards the end of the ride.

I came across a small fallen tree that was just the right height for me to hop. I approached it and started hopping closer to it, only to find my CamelBak was bouncing crazily. Maybe if I make the straps tighter next time? I haven't been hopping for weeks for fear of knee problems, so I just decided to move on. I moved the tree off the trail so I wouldn't have to dismount on my way back. And if I didn't move it today, someone else would have soon anyway. I'd actually prefer having an occasional obstacle like this, but people clear the trails pretty thoroughly.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

More Webster Park

After this morning's trail maintenance, I crossed the road to ride some more of Webster Park. This time a brought my map printout so I wouldn't get lost. Now that I'm back, I drew on this map to where I think I actually went: I went to Mohawk Lodge first, because I knew where it was. From there I successfully found Onondaga Lodge. After that... lost! The southeastern line I drew on the map just represents the general direction and area I was in. In actuality I must have zigzagged through that area on half a dozen trails.
There are just so many trails and so few of them are marked. So I just kept riding, assuming I'll stumble upon something on the map like a lodge or road or something. But it took forever to find any landmarks. I just kept coming to another fork in the trail and guessing which way would be a better ride. I ended up popping out of a trail into a nice mowed grass park area. I rode on the street. The whole time I thought I must be on Lake Rd, but now I realize I was on Holt Rd. Anyway, I found a parking lot for the park and some pavilions. The pavilions are named, so I was able to use my map and head in the right direction. I found a trail and finally ended up on a trail I had ridden before. Things started looking familiar and I made my way out.

I think I've had enough of Webster Park for a while. I might go just to the Midnight Trail sometime. But otherwise, it's just too easy to get lost in there and too many rooty hills and unrideable parts. Every couple minutes there's another hill covered in roots that goes down to a stream, with a bridge that is unrideable or has an unrideable approach. Then there's a hill up going back up away from the stream. I can down some of these hills, but then I have to hike up the other side.

The best part of the ride is the trail leading from Whiting Road to the West Loop Trail. That trail has the right amount of roots, rocks, and hills to be challenging and fun.

FWT Trail Maintenance

I went to the Friends of Webster Trails trail maintenance outing this morning at the Whiting Road Nature Preserve. There must have been about 15 people total. The group I was in fixed up a "boardwalk", wood decking the crosses a swampy/muddy area. We just shifted things around to get the boardwalk level. Then we uprooted a small tree that was in the way of a new trail.
It was good to help out.