Remember a few entries ago I was lamenting the Wednesday rides and their ability to attract rain? Well, it happened yet again. We rolled into the trail this week and less than a mile into the ride it opened up on us. We soldiered on, things passed and the rain stopped in relative short time. With the brief, heavy burst it poured down, the trail stayed rock solid underneath but had a wet slime on top that acted like grease. Combine that with the wet roots and rocks and traction was tricky to say the least. The thunderstorms were so patchy thought that much of the trails we hit didn't get a lick of rain, so all and all the ride turned out pretty good.
On another note, spoke with the Trossinator last night. He's back in town from his major journey. Flew out to the Midwest to do RAGBRAI, then pedaled back here to MD solo. I think he said it was somewhere between 1700 and 1800 miles total, but I'll have to check. He's about to turn 52 years old here shortly. Inspiration man, inspiration. And he's a dedicated SS MTBer. You rock Bill! Keep turning those cranks.
A Few More Shots //
Thursday - August 19, 2004
A couple more pictures from this weekend.
Students at the MORE boot camp doing slow speed circles to practice control and balance.
Mark tasting some of the Virginia singletrack.
Learnin' and Burnin' //
Wednesday - August 18, 2004
Saturday saw me help put on a beginners mountain bike boot camp at one of the local trails. We had 14 people in the class, pretty evenly split between women and men. All four instructors showed up on single speeds which was kind of funny since one of the things we were supposed to be teaching was shifting! No matter, as the students had gears.
Rain had been predicted all day the previous day and some for Saturday, but for the most part we got spared and were able to move forward. We worked on basic skills like getting over obstacles, balance, tight turning, and controlled descents. It was great to watch everyone progress throughout the day. As with anything, some people were stronger in certain areas than others and you could see this as the lessons changed. Overall, everyone did really well and other than a few cuts and bruises they all came out unharmed.
Most of the lessons took place in the parking lot or a grassy field. After several hours of this we took the students out for a 5 mile trail ride so they could put all they learned to the test. While we were out we gave them the heads up on trail rules and etiquette and a quick lesson in changing flats. Everyone seemed to have a smile on their face when we were done for the day. Afterwards a bunch of us hit Ellicott Mills Brewing Company for some post-ride recovery beverages.
In some ways I think I learned as much as the students. This was my first time helping out with something like this, but we had the benefit of two long time MORE members who had taught the classes before. I've been riding bikes for so long that I sometimes forget some of the most basic skills are ones that actually have to be learned and practiced. It opened my eyes to this and also helped me get a good picture of what things are good to teach new riders.
Sunday was the complete opposite, as I lead a group on the extremely technical trails of Elizabeth Furnace in Virginia. Three of them had never been there before, so it's always fun to take someone there for the first time. Brutal climbs, more rocks than you could ever imagine - at one point there is a two mile rock garden - and, when all the pain is done, several miles of descending on some of the sweetest singletrack your tires have ever met. Took the GPS out that hasn't seen much use and got stats of 20 miles/3794 ft. of climbing. The trails were in beautiful condition and the temperature was in the low 80's without much humidity. Unbelievable for August in this part of the country. A fine, fine day for burning down the mountain at high speed.