More time spent on the rocks with the Jabberwocky confirms my initial impressions: I like the way it handles. I can do what I want; point and shoot and it goes where I want it to and does what I expect. Leaves have been coming off the trees at a rapid rate lately making the rocky climbs extra slick. I've been trying to stay in the saddle on the climbs as much as I can to avoid the dreaded leaf burn out. In the saddle climbing feels good and I'm successful on stuff I was worried about blowing. Maybe it's me, maybe it's the bike or maybe it's just in my head. I'd need to look at the numbers a bit and take some measurements, but it feels like my weight sits back a bit more over the rear wheel. Who knows though, subtle shifts in rider weight can yield a big difference in performance and I tend to run my saddle slammed back on ther rails anyway.
A week or so ago Julie and I took our friend Rich and his buddy Jerry out to Gambrill for the first time. It was a cool time, watching people experience the rocks and technical challenges for their first time is great, irespecially when they clean things they thought they couldn't. Both guys are still fairly new to MTBing but seem to have been bitten by the bug. They were a bit worn by the time we finished up, but they were satisfied and ready to make a return trip ASAP.
As far as my own riding goes, I feel like I've toned things down a bit the past few weeks filling it out with more mellow rides like above, just enjoying the trails as opposed to pushing things week after week. I have no "season" since I don't have any race schedule and I ride year round, but I still feel like there is a season that is winding down for some reason this year. Maybe I've just been following other riders tales and ramblings a bit more and therefore have plugged this idea into my head mentally. Regardless, it's felt good to take a little mental break while still getting the regular riding in. Part of it may be the busy trail work season means I've been digging more in exchange for a little less saddle time.
Last week Ricky d organized a fixed gear Watershed ride where about 8 riders showed up. Four of us were fixed, the rest freewheeling. Switched over to the Qball since that is in permanent fixed mode, plus it's nice to juggle bikes for comparison purposes. It was chilly but conditions were good and we stopped and played games on the rocks. Personally I was having a good day or had a lucky rabbit's foot stuck up my bum as I cleaned the baby Salamander rock pile as well as the Über Salamander rock pile. No one got any pictures, but who cares, I've got witnesses. All in all it was a good time and I rode with a bunch of guys I haven't hit the trails with in a while.
Wednesday night I led 13 other riders on the twice a month Gambrill night ride. Roots, rocks and leaves was the name of the game. Unseasonably warm weather made it extra sweet. The night rides officially started 2 weeks prior, but work conspired against me and I missed that one. We had thrills, we had spills (4 to be exact) and we had a lot of fun and some good post ride beers in town. A big thanks needs to go out to Mike from The Bike Site and Tom from The Bicycle Escape who worked hard with DNR to make these happen again this year. Even though we had things up and running last year and everything was successful and great, it wasn't easy to just re-up for the 2007/2008 season. Things changed, new paperwork needed to be generated, phone calls made, etc. It took about 2 months to finalize it all, so if you are out enjoying this ride make sure to give these guys a big Thank You.
Sunday 18 of us showed up at Patapsco to work on the Thru Trail (see previous post). We loaded 4 BOB trails and dove deep into the woods, 5 miles for the furthest part, and tweaked out some nice new trail. Ripping the leafy singletrack with a trailer full of tools is fun stuff and a nice work out on the single. Props to new guy Charlie who moved to town 2 weeks ago and came out for trail work on stuff he hasn't even ridden. Some of you old timers could take a lesson ;) So, trail love at Patapsco wraps up with something like 566 volunteer hours for the year 2007. The SSO Factory Team has over 200 hours of trail work (so far) logged at Patapsco, Gambrill, the Watershed and elsewhere this year. Yeah, putting shovels to the dirt, I'm proud of our girls and guys.
So, I'm headed up to the Dirt Rag Punk Bike Enduro this weekend, maybe I'll see you there. As of right now there is no snow in the forecast, but I'm praying for it. I'm pretty sure every year I've made it up there it's snowed and that just makes a good time better.