Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sweet Ride

There's a place down here on the Cape called "Trail of Tears". It's conservation land in the town of Barnstable, which is where I live. It's basicly an enormous mountain bike park full of single track that is just perfect.

Today was the first day in months that I can remember actually not having to wake up for anything specific, and I was greatful to be able to actually sleep until 8 am....thats not easy!

I was tinkering around with bike stuff, when Jamie and I planned to ride mountain bikes in the afternoon when the gloom was scheduled to burn off. The cape has pretty sandy soil everywhere so the trails at Otis and Trail of Tears drain really well.

We hit it at 1 o'clock and planned for 3 hours. Thats a pretty tall order on the mountain bikes. It's not super technical, although there are a few spots. With that kind of teraine, it tends to be a fitness workout, even though it's a hell of a lot more athletic than a road ride. In other words, it's perfect training without Cape Cod Summer traffic to contend with.

Jamie is pretty much a beast on the mountain bike, especially at TOT. He's been riding there as long as anyone and knows every pebble. We went into Sandwich first which is just sort of an extension of TOT, and it's hilly as hell! Next time you hear someone say the Cape doesn't have any hills, send them down for this ride and they'll never say that again!

The grip was good, not dry, because we had rain all day Friday and Friday night, but not greasy or muddy either. It was just right in the corners and a bit tougher than usual on the climbs. The ride was pretty crisp and by the time we hit the Barnstable side we were at almost 2 hours. Barnstable is a lot more worn in and a little easier on the climbs.

I've been having some ongoing tire issues, and that continued, but I didn't let it discourage me. I just did the usual big loop on the Barnstable side and somewhere aong the way I realized I felt really good. I think my fitness jumped a level after recovering from the CT Stage Race. It's a nice feeling to have really good road legs in the woods. You can ride everything the way you always visualize it. Power helps everything on the mountain bike and if you have some pep on the tougher sections then everything just rolls well. Before you know it you're done with big sections that usually seem to take much longer.

Anyway, the sad part is that I didn't see one other mountain biker out there in 3-1/2 hours. I guess it's nice to have the place to yourself, but I feel like all the people I see at mountain bike races would LOVE this place. So consider that an invite. I'd love to experience somebody's reactions to their first ride here. I live close by, and ride right from my house. Theres plenty of room at my place for visitors, and overnighters. The deck in my back yard is a good place to eat and drink and talk about bike stuff. There should be another free weekend some time in the next couple years!

Oh ya, almost forgot why I decided to blog about a training ride. As I was riding the last little section of single track, before I go across cranberry bogs to my house, I saw this litte guy. I couldn't believe it! OK now you know I'm a birdwatching dork, but there's worse things to be. First time in my life I actually saw a Scarlet Tanager. They make a Cardinal look dull in color!
A sweet ride indeed!


JMH said...

Been riding the Otis trails a lot lately, but have yet to make the "journey" east to TOT. Will have to do so soon.

Hill Junkie said...

ToT and Otis both totally rock. I managed to completely avoid the indoor trainer this past winter in NH. A perfect weekend consisted of skate skiing at Waterville Valley for 3+ hours on Saturday, then hitting ToT for 3+ hours on Sunday. It's the best of both worlds - ski trails on snow, ride trails on dirt. ToT is only about 100 minutes from my house, Waterville 90 minutes. This past winter, the Cape did hold a little snow, but I still got some fantastic dirt rides in. The winter before I don't think snow ever stuck around on ToT or Otis. I am familiar with the Sandwich extension too. Looks like maybe the throttle twister set made those trails. Very steep up and down with high reward/fun factor. I've never seen anybody on that side.

Jonny Bold said...

That sounds like a perfect weekend for sure! We skiied Waterville 1 day this winter, but it was my favorite ski day of the year. I'm new to the skate skiing, but picked it up pretty well and I just love it. Don't be afraid to contact me for a ride. The winter really is sweet down here for mountain biking! Things freeze up and you can ride EVERYTHING. I also love to ride in a few inches of snow. The throttle twisters basicly made all the trails down here, we owe them a big thanks. Lots of mountain bikers don't understand that, and they curse when they're out there. But the way I see it is.... that it's an awesome sport. Why should we be upset with someone who's out doing a sport they love? Anyway.....see ya on the trails......and roads. JB

Big Bikes said...

I rode TOT for the first time last year and Otis for the first time this spring, thought they were both excellent. More like west coast stuff than anything around these parts. I was kicking myself for not getting down there sooner. This coming winter I believe I'll be making quite a few trips to Otis and TOT to break up the monotony.

Moto guys do make the best trails, all high-speed and flowing. Way better than riding on twitchy hiking trails any day.