While the ladies were out on the trail Saturday for "Ride Like A Girl", Ricky d and I hit up some fixed gear road spinning. Looking at the weather right before departure time, things were scheduled to be clear all day until some late night rain was due to move in. Of course, that's not the way it went and as soon as we were ready to pedal a light, steady rain started. Luckily I had grabbed the lightweight wool long-sleeve to ward off the crisp morning temperatures. One of my goals was to work out a new route. I was using a map I printed from my computer and after repeated exposure to the rain it became one big blob of runny ink on a quickly deteriorating piece of paper. This was right in the middle of our ride when we still could have used it, but we soon came to familiar territory and it all worked out. We rolled back to meet the girls who had pulled the plug on their ride early once conditions started to turn south and a bunch of us head our for some cheap Jamaican food. Mmmm, mmmm good.
Saturday saw a dozen riders come out for a little ride I dubbed the "Dirt Track Date" (reference to SCOTS in case you were wondering). It was a skinny tire, fixed gear psycho-cross event that consisted of rocky singletrack and rutted, bumpy dirt forest roads. Bring a large bottle of beer, first one to complete 2 laps of the 11 mile course plus the 2 mile prologue takes half of the stash. The other half went to a randomly drawn rider. Between the equipment requirements (fixed gear, no tires larger than 38s) and the terrain (a few miles of rocky stuff and 1100+ ft of climbing per lap), turn out was about 1/3 of what I usually get to come out and play. Only the hard corpse took up the challenge.
The start was a slight uphill forest road to spread riders out before negotiating a metal gate/rock obstacle that had them continuing uphill to shortly enter the singletrack. First bite of the narrow stuff was the rockiest section of the day before getting into tight and twisty dirty which then transformed into tight and twisty rocky dirt. After a mile, a small gravel connector followed that led to a couple of more miles of trail before a 50 yard section of pavement, the only piece to be seen all day. From here the descent of several miles on gnarly forest road started that had legs flailing like egg beaters and had a deep water crossing before turning to continue descending for a good long time. A U-turn (that a couple of riders missed) was the beginning of payback time that started a 5 mile stair step climb that gained 1100 ft. in elevation. Luckily it was not a scorcher with the sun roasting riders on the long grind. At the top it was rinse and repeat as the riders re-entered the singletrack.
In the end it didn't surprise to many people that Dom emerged first across the finish. He's known as one of the more skilled fixed gear off-roaders in the area. He's usually IDed by his Vulture 29er with drop bars but his weapon of choice this time was a Cross-check. Ricky d didn't let him get away easy though as he put up a fierce fight on the last climb. Jim's 3rd place finish will be forever marked with an asterisk as he neglected to carefully read the requirements and ran illegal tires.
There were plenty of flats as negotiating the terrain on skinny tires takes a certain amount of skill and finesse. A few riders got off course (some significantly) but eventually found there way back. All in all in was a fine fall day to turn the cranks on the dirt.
I managed to take a few photos you can check out over here.