Thursday, August 29

Dog Days Catcher

I used to be the king of the mountain bike commute (aka the prairie bike commute), but these days I’m mastering a new type of ride: lunch meeting mountain biking.
 
My personal recreational philosophy (refer to the Chainring Personal Manifesto Section 2 A.) is one of opportunism.  If I see even a small window of opportunity for getting in a little fun and games at unconventional times I dive right through.  So when work carries me within striking distance of one of the four Bluegrass area mountain bike trail networks I tuck The One away in the belly of my Armored Cyclo-personnel Transport (ACT) and head off all respectable-like for whatever meeting I’m responsible for attending.  But when said meeting has ended…well, let’s just say lunch time turns into recess.
 
As I pedaled into Skullbuster recently I pondered the possibility of actually having a mountain bike meeting.  Will I ever be able to suggest to some public official or consultant that we should meet at a local trailhead for an hour of rutting up the trails and talking business?  It’s remotely possible.  It was probably more possible in Colorado, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility even here in the Bluegrass state.
 
Pa said never trust a hog waller.
 
My second visit to Skullbuster (aka Knucklebuster) was faster.  It felt faster.  I felt stronger and more adept on the trails.  Strava told me I was faster too.  I only had trouble with one narrow passage.  I believe it was early on the Green Trail.  There’s a spot where there are two trees nary a handlebar-width apart and between them is a raised gnarl of roots and rocks.  I unclipped sketching a little and stalled on the roots.  On the way back I did the same thing.
 
The second such obstacle I intentionally stayed clipped in but still stalled and had to grab tree.  After that, except for the exit sketching, I rode everything smooth and solid.  It was a much, much cleaner ride than my first time there back in May.  Being able to ride the entire trailsystem except for one spot—and to do so with a good deal of FLOW—makes for a truly enjoyable experience.  I have to recognize that it’s taken me most of this past year to be as comfortable riding trails like Skullbuster as I am.  The first time it felt almost onerous to me. When I finished the back loop and started out I was done.  I wanted to be off the trail and off the bike long before I came out of the woods.  Today I could have stayed for hours.  If I’d had hours…
 
Oddly, reading back on my previous write-up, it seems I use a lot of the same language to describe the trails in Scott County.  I had a similar experience a few months ago.  I’ve got to say, of all the Kentucky singletrack I’d ridden, I think The Cracker of Crowns is filtering to the top of my list-o-faves.  
 
Welcome to Logville
 
For whatever reason, the rooty goodness and the rocky badness of the trails at Skullbuster appeal to me in a deeply personal way.  I truly do enter a state of FLOW and begin to experience a sort of trance-like mountain biking state.  It’s similar to how I felt when riding North Table Mountain in Golden.  Or the Dirty Bismarck.
 
It was warm today but not too warm.  Once I was under the canopy of the trees I noticed quite a bit of fallen leaves on the trail.  Despite the heat it seems summer is on its way out.  Fall is kicking in the door.  I can’t wait!  Fall in Kentucky is my absolute favorite geographic/seasonal combination.  Being outside in the fall is heaven for me.
 
Speaking of being outside…I’ve been running a lot lately.  A lot.  A.  Lot.
 
This week Mandy and I have both felt a bit worn down from our half marathon training.  That’s why I decided today I needed to abstain from the asphalt impacts of road running and enjoy a little low-impact mountain biking (of the lunch meeting variety).  Skullbuster was just the medicine I needed.  Of course my left knee still hurts when I walk down stairs.  Where is good cartilage when you need it?  Or do you need it?  I need to find out before Saturday when I will be running 8 miles.  I’m pretty sure (retch!) that will be the farthest I’ve ever ran in one push.
 
Anyway, focusing on running has allowed me to step back from cycling.  And I’m not sure I like it.  I want to run.  I especially want to run long distances on trails.  But then I want to ride my bike long distances on trails too.  I’m so torn.  Do they make an ellipti-mountain bike?  Someone should.
 
You could ride it here...
 

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