Monday, August 26, 2013

Shindagin Shindig 2013

This weekend the family and I camped at Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca. We wanted to go camping and it just so happened there was a mountain biking festival at the nearby Shindagin Hollow State Forest.  I had wanted to ride muni at Shindagin for over a year, so this seemed like a great opportunity.
I had sent a request out to the closest muni riders to join me.  Dustin was in, and Robi and Liz from Albany were too.  We all camped at Buttermilk in adjacent sites and on Saturday we rode at Shindagin.

We weren't sure what trails to ride and we were directed to the nearest trail head.  The place is huge so we only rode a small percentage of the trails.  The ones we rode were rooty, rocky, and hilly.  I enjoyed the challenge. Weather and trail conditions were ideal.  Robi and I tended to lead and Dustin and Liz were never too far behind. We rode for over 3.5 hours, but we only covered about 7 miles.  We stopped and played around on a good number of log obstacles, and as with any group ride, we tended to stop a socialize from time to time.

I saw some mountain bikers I knew from Park Ave Bike, Tryon Bike, and GROC.  
Dustin won the award for most improved.  I could see him getting better along the ride.  He attempted and accomplished many obstacles.  Nice!

It was great to see Robi and Liz again.  I hope the trip was worth it for them!  Hopefully there will be another Albany event this fall and we'll all ride again.

I would like to ride Shindagin Hollow again and check out more of the trails.

On Sunday we all went and played some disc golf in the town on Danby.  Dustin recently got me and a few other coworkers into it, and we've played a few times.  Robi and Liz have played some too, so it worked out great.

The family and I visited a nature center and beach on Sunday, and a science center on Monday before heading home.  It was a good weekend.

Muni at Shindagin Shindig - 2013-08-24 at EveryTrail

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rode The Patio

I rode at Bay Park West this afternoon, especially to check out The Patio.  It is definitely a nice improvement.  It's still a good workout to climb that trail but the erosion issues at this steepest section are gone, and I was able to climb it for the first time in a long while.

I saw one mountain biker who stopped and asked a few questions about muni.

Later I was charged by four small dogs that were barking their heads off.  I had to dismount to avoid running them over, and found myself surrounded.  They had collars so I assumed they had an owner, but it took a long moment before he appeared from further down the trail.  We both laughed and he moved on with his dogs, but it honestly made me rather anxious.  Little dogs still have teeth and when four of them are inches from me barking like mad, and reacting all skittish to every move I make, it feels like they're gonna pounce without warning.  The trouble is, it would be viewed as inappropriate for me to scare them away or kick them out of the way because they're owned by someone.  If these were wild animals getting in my space this would be more acceptable.  As I rode away a fifth dog ran out from the brush heading toward the owner.  That's a lot of dogs.  It's dogs like these that need to be on a leash.  Most dogs I see are not on leashes, but are awesome and behave well, so I'm fine with them.

Muni at Bay Park West - 2013-08-21 at EveryTrail

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The BPW Patio

There's a section of trail at Bay Park West that had some erosion issues.  The GROC trail crew made the decision to armor it using some concrete rubble .  This material is abundantly available from an old dump site not far from the Homewood Lane trail head.  On a previous work day a significant length of this work was done.  This morning a group went out to finish the job.  I joined in.

There we're five of us.  The main work area was small, so a few worked there and a few did support work, like hauling stone and gravel.  We also did some other minor fixes in the area for drainage and such.

Here's a collage of the previous work showing before, during, and after:

 Here is the small section that was added today.  Since it's only a slight incline and won't be too slippery, we left some gravel on the surface that will work itself into the joints over time.
 Generally we're not in the business of paving the trails, but in areas such as this, where erosion is inevitable, it makes sense.  This section has been informally labeled "The Patio" for obvious reasons.  All it needs is a table and chairs!

I'm looking forward to my next ride at BPW to give The Patio a muni test.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Another Ride

I rode at Webster Park and Whiting this morning.  It was nothing too exciting, but good exercise.

I saw an old high school friend and his family.  I'm sure they think I'm weird.  I guess they'd be right.

Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2013-08-17 at EveryTrail

Sunday, August 11, 2013

2013 Suicide 6

I decided to muni at the Suicide 6 mountain bike race this year.  It's a little more than an hour away at Harriet Hollister Spencer park in Canadice.

It felt a lot like when I did it two years ago.  I came to the conclusion that the first half of the lap is awesome.  It's challenging for muni with a combination of roots, rocks, climbs, and descents.  The second half of the course is much wetter, loamier, and hillier.  The change happens right when the course crosses the park road.  On my first lap when I hit this section I was sure it was freshly cleared trail.  It's not really a cut trail, just the kind of quick trail clearing that removes vegetation and debris but leaves the dark organic soil.  Not only is it top soil, but the surface has awkward little ups and downs.  This kind of trail is my nemesis and causes my lower back to work extra.  As I rode it I realized this trail was not a new trail but the same trail I rode two years ago.  I guess as far as muni is concerned, clearing a trail like this is not ideal.  Last year my lower back got very fatigued from this area and the same happened this year.

Before I finished my first lap I questioned how I could possibly do another.  My hope had been to try for three laps this year.  Now I knew that would be impossible.

After finishing my first lap I went back to my car to rest and refuel.  About 20 minutes later I was feeling like I should just get out there and do another lap.  Again, the first half wasn't so bad and I was glad my lower back was not screaming at me, though I was getting sloppy and was clearly fatigued.   And again the second half was really hard and I found myself shamefully pushing my uni up quite a few inclines.  I was glad to finish and finally be done.

The mountain bikers were all great and gave me more praise than I wanted.  The fact is, I saw so many of them powering up hills that I complain about.  I really need to try a mountain bike to see if it's so much easier, or if these guys are just super strong.

The course was really well marked with arrows, tape, mile marker signs and paint on the trail.  Nice work Park Ave Bike Shop!

Suicide 6 - 2013-08-11 at EveryTrail

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bay Park Wednesday

Just like last Wednesday, I took a few hours off from work to ride at Bay Park West.  My ride was good though I had a few more UPDs than typical.  Maybe I can blame it on the humidity or my lack of sleep.  One step-off caused me to pull a calf muscle a bit.  UPDs happen suddenly and I think sometimes a muscle reacts reflexively and too strongly, straining itself.  About an hour and a half into my ride I was near my car but decided I should push myself and ride some more.  In the first 20 feet of the first hill climb my calf cramped bad and I decided it best to be done.

I especially wanted to push myself because the Suicide 6 race is Sunday and I'm considering it.  It's a mountain bike race at Harriet Hollister Spencer Park in which you ride as many laps as you can in six hours.  I rode this race two years ago.  I'm glad I have this blog to look back and read what it was like.  It was tough on my lower back and quads and I managed only two laps, and headed home well before the event was over.  Maybe I should ride this year and try to do three?  It's nice to think I'm strong and better than two years ago, and I bet I am, but by how much?

Muni at Bay Park West - 2013-08-07 at EveryTrail

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Give Me a Sign!

I rode at Webster Park and Whiting today.  I especially avoided riding anywhere too difficult.  My last ride at Bay Park West made my quads so sore it's been painful to walk for the last few days.  I could use a few more days before I do that again.

I had a good ride and pushed to ride a bit farther, ending up with 10.5 miles.

I think it was toward the end of last year that I saw some 4x4 posts at many trail intersections in Webster Park.  Sometime in the last week the signs were put up on these posts.  I have been waiting to see how the county would label the trails.  It's always been confusing in Webster Park and I thought they might come up with a better system.  It turns out the new signs don't change how the trails are labelled, but rather point the way to points of interest.  This will probably help a lot of people find their way around the park, but it still kind of makes it hard to reference many trails.

Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2013-08-04 at EveryTrail