Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wet Trails and Twilight Zone

With the snow melted and the sun shining (though 35°F), how could I not go out for a ride? I rode to the Hojack Trail again, but this time I expected to actually be able to ride it.
Instead of taking the road all the way there, I rode to the relatively new Webster Parks and Rec, through a trail that was just made last year. It was very muddy, with lots of standing water, and not much rideable trail.
That trail leads to the Bird Sanctuary trail which has been there for much longer. That still had some muddy spots, was most of it could be ridden.
I then rode some more street to get to the Hojack. The first section of trail into the Hojack was total mud and standing water, as it most always is. The Hojack itself was mostly rideable.
But some parts of the trail were in very bad condition. Some parts were dry, but had bumps, ridges, and holes from heaving, and from bikers and hikers leaving impressions when it was softer. Some parts were very soft, others had lots of mud, and others had standing water. Some still had packed snow. My riding definitely left marks in the mud, but it didn't seem to matter considering the hundreds of boot prints and the trenches from bikers.
It was much harder to ride than when it's dry. It took a lot more energy and my lower back was getting fatigued soon after reaching the farthest point on the Hojack.
On my way back I rode around North Ponds park on the paved path as long as it was right there. Nothing too exciting there. I skipped the Webster Parks and Rec trail since it was so muddy, and took the road instead.

On the Hojack I had planned to use my high gear. It's generally flat so I envisioned some fast riding. But on the way to the far end I convinced myself it was actually a gradual incline. I had never really noticed that in the past. And with the soft ground slowing me down, it didn't seem like a good time to go to high gear. When I was on some of the drier, seemingly inclined areas, I was excited to think of the way back, riding on a slight decline in high gear.
But then on the way back, it looked like a slight incline again! Uphill both ways? Huh? I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. After riding a few minutes, I looked back, and it looked like a slight incline too. Maybe my eyes need adjusting. Despite thinking it was a slight incline I ended up switching into high gear whenever the ground wasn't too wet, and I did get some good chances to ride faster.

For some unknown reason my GPS didn't record my way back on the Hojack properly. It shows me way off the trail. Huh. Maybe I WAS in the Twilight Zone!

My cycle computer says I rode 12.76 miles. Average speed was 6 mph, max was 11 mph.

Hojack, Etc - 2011-03-19

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