Sunday, May 15, 2011

Training Day ...

I did the Fairmount sampler yesterday as a training ride to prep for next week's Stewart Six Pack. The sampler is just basically a single ride that covers Wissahickon and the Belmont Plateau. I've done this ride a few times, and it's always a nice challenge. I didn't get to do all of Belmont yesterday because of the sky just opened up while I was out near Route 76. I didn't mind the rain at all, but the forecast had called for possible thunderstorms, and I really don't want to be out on the trail when lightning comes. I actually did this ride in a way I've never done before, though -- from the Valley Green in, I rode counter clockwise starting on the Indian side of the park. That meant I rode most of the bigger climbs on the way out. It's no more net climbing than the other way, but it definitely feels like it is. I felt pretty good. Because of the rain, I only ended up with 30 miles in the end, but it was a solid 30. Belmont Plateau was pretty overgrown. I had to bathe my legs completely in poison ivy scrub after the ride -- but what the overgrowth really did was soak me to the bone after the rain hit. It was like being repeatedly slapped in the face with a sponge the whole way back.

A few things about that ride make me appreciate mountain biking in Philly. It's not every city that offers the combination you get in Philly. For example, how many places can this:

exist less than a quarter mile from this:

The riding here is challenging and you can put together 50 miles without too much planning. I really think I would prefer to live in an area where the climate is dryer and warmer year round, but sometimes I'm reminded of why riding in this part of the country is really special.

Quick add-in: here are a few pics of the collapsed section of trail near Kitchen's Lane. I think it's actually eroding even further. The section you can pass through seems to be getting narrower -- maybe it's just my imagination. It would be a long way down though if your tire slid!

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