Friday, August 12, 2011

Sprague Ride With Tom

In an online unicyclist forum, I posted about the upcoming Singletrack Stampede II mountain bike race in Sprague Brook Park, south of Buffalo. I don't know of any muni riders particularly close to that area, but I was hoping I might get a bite. A rider, Tom, from Berkeley, California responded. He couldn't make the race, but he would be visiting family just over the Canadian border. So we planned to meet up at Sprague Brook and ride together, a few weeks before the actual race.

Despite the threat of rain, we met up today. It rained quite hard just as I entered the town of Glenwood, where Sprague Brook is located. Tom was running a bit late. About 10 minutes after I arrived, it stopped raining. I rode my uni around the park roads until Tom arrived about 15 minutes later. After the introductions, we prepared to ride. Tom's wife Nancy would be hiking along with us.

Just before we set off, I realize I had locked my CamelBak in my car, and my key was in it!! Ugh. Thankfully I had a spare key hidden under my bumper. Unfortunately, the screw and wing-nut holding it on had rusted and were not cooperating. The wing-nut broke off, but the corrosion on the screw kept up a fight. It took Tom and me nearly 30 minutes to get the key off, but we finally did. Tom and Nancy were both very patient about the whole thing and said it added to the adventure. They're really great people.

Despite the rain, the trails weren't all that bad. The many roots were more slippery in some places, but it was all totally doable. There were puddles here and there, but nothing much longer than a few feet. Most of those puddles were benign, but a few of them had a hidden root that were an unpleasant surprise.

Tom and I would stop riding occasionally to rest and chat. We also tried hill climbs and difficult trail sections multiple times until we succeeded or had enough. During those delays, Nancy would catch up and sometimes pass us. On several passes she brought us raspberries or blackberries she had collected. "Nature's Cliff-Shots!"

Into the ride a breeze picked up and kept us cooler. But at one point the breeze tried to kill Tom! We had stopped to rest and Tom's unicycle was on the ground. All the sudden we heard a cracking sound from above and a 3" diameter tree branch fell, landing right across his uni! The odds of that happening were certainly slim. We joked about it, but then Tom grabbed his uni and rode over the offending branch, breaking it. I think it learned its lesson.

Tom was a strong rider, having started 10 years ago. He rode a 29" guni, and I of course rode my 24" guni. We used our high gears in only a few short places.

Tom and Nancy took some pictures. Thanks!! Here they are:

After our ride, we drove to a pizza shop called The Pizza Glen for pizza, wings, and beer. Good times.

Here's the GPS record of our ride. You can tell where Tom and I stopped to rest or retry some features.

Muni at Sprague Brook Park- 2011-08-10

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