Sunday, December 2, 2012

Darkness is setting in as the Fall fades.

Fall bike riding is by far my favorite activity.  The temp's and the colors all around make it unlike any other season.  Exploring the Owyhees has been on my list of things to do for a while, so with the trails dry and the colors amazing, I was fortunate to experience some of my favorite riding ever.  The Wilson Creek area south of Nampa and just west of the Melba area is accessible and quite rugged.  There is a certain wild-west aspect to it when compared to riding in Boise's relatively tame and over-crowded foothills.

Even the approach to the trails is rugged, at least more so than Boise where your ride often begins with a pass behind the local tennis court and ride through someone's backyard before climbing onto the sandy-sidewalk wide path that takes you further up where the real trails are.  When at Wilson Creek, you pedal out of the parking lot onto a singletrack climb riddled with sand-traps and washouts before taking on some of the rockiest riding one would sanely take on.  You are also more likely to run into a herd of wild horses or even the occasional Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep than another mountain biker.  It makes risk-taking less attractive since the likelihood of someone coming along to help you out is pretty low.  I generally hike-a-bike a bit more than usual even if it is something I'm fairly certain I can ride.  This timidity, however, does not diminish the fun factor, and a more relaxed attitude is sometimes nice.

Just before Thanksgiving, I was able to meet up with a few other riders and show them a loop out in the wilds of Wilson.  We had a great time on our 16 mile ride.  Two of the more roadie-centric riders fell back in love with mountain biking, despite me putting them through a ringer of a ride that highlighted some of the more technical trails in the whole area.  Gary Jenkins and I chatted quite a bit as we primarily rode together and I was quite impressed by his singlespeeding skills and fast descending on a rigid bike.  He's the real deal in terms of die-hard mountain biker.  I felt sheepish with my dual-suspension and 27-gears.  At least he made me feel better by stating that his next bike will probably be a full-squish 29er such as mine.  They at least said they had fun, we'll see if I can actually get them to go back out there again in a few weeks... :)
Gary rocking the rigid SS!

Colors were full still full on.

Gary and Michelle.  Dan joined us, but I didn't come out with a picture that would post online correctly, so he's left out...
The end of Summer was also marked by the sale of my road bike in exchange for a Raleigh Furley single-speed cyclocross bike.  I still don't exactly know why this felt right, and at times I question my thought process, but as a result of down-grading the road bike I've been fortunate to be able invest in some parts for the nearly decade old 29er, my Gary Fisher Sugar-293 courtesy of a great dude name Hal.  Although I was first a bit apprehensive about putting much into the bike, it has shown me that it still has a lot of miles left to give.  This blessing was unexpected and I've certainly been loving the dirt and mountain riding its been providing me.  The sale of the road bike also allowed me to get some quality lights for riding any trail in the pitch black.  I don't really want to endorse them, but they came off of Amazon for a reasonable price but are clearly a Chinese copy of an American brand of lights.  I do have my morals, but when it comes to lights that will allow me to keep riding during these dark mornings, I can't argue with over 1600 lumens for $80.

My old Maglite XL50, 139 lumens.  Runs on 3 AAA's
New light system, one floodlight on the bars and a spot on the helmet.
1600+ lumens with rechargable lithium-ion battery packs.  3 hours of battery life
Night riding has opened up a whole new world of riding, as I no longer have to wait for the day when nothing else is going on so I can make the journey to the hills for a ride.  I can also take on longer pre-work commutes.  These lights are bright!  I highly recommend the investment in some bright lights if your a busy rider with commitments at home and work.  Even though its colder, and the scenery is much different, I am having the most fun on two wheels since the kids arrived and my life changed forever for the better.  It is moments like these below that keep me looking forward to the day my little buddies are ready for their first mountain bike ride.

1 comment:

  1. I've been waiting for a new post...glad to see so many views! Good stuff!