Monday, June 2, 2008
Memorial Weekend was a bike riding bust. I took the fixie down to the beach hoping to get two rides in, but alas, it was not meant to be. I should have know better, my brother was working on a rental property he is planning to sell and the boat was in need of some TLC. The fair weather meant a great opportunity to get the 'ol Hurricane ready for the summer, but first I needed to get some new bottom paint on the hull. "Easy enough" I thought as we had done a great job cleaning and prepping the boat for winter storage. However, as I started sanding, I noticed some large areas where paint had flaked off creating numerous voids in the existing paint. Most boat yards would simply leave it alone and let the next guy to come alone worry about it. Well, I guess I was "the next guy". I decided on a total down-to-the-gelcoat stripping of the old paint. Messy and more labor intensive to be sure, but, the results were amazing. The bottom now looks like the day it was first painted. Smooth and silky. No more performance robbing pock marks to deal with and that's a good thing when gas at the marina costs 6 bucks a gallon. Too bad I can't wake board behind the sailboat.
We got in some fun family time as well taking the kids to the beach on Sunday and the pool on Saturday. Jackie took a nice dip in a small pool that formed next to the ocean. She slipped and went under three times before getting her balance back. Daddy was on the move, up to my knees when she surfaced the third time with a look of surprise and horror that quickly subsided in my arms. Nerve wracking to be sure! Jonathan and Jenna were having a great time collecting shells on the beach. The cold water and high winds prevented all but the most determined from venturing into the water. Still, with a sweatshirt on, the sunny weather was a welcome change to several of the previous Memorial holiday weekends.
This past Saturday we were invited to "the Bruce's" house for a little BBQ and some slip-n-slide fun. The parents stuck with the BBQ while the wee one's help themselves to the water park.....between thunder heads. The weather forecast was ominous for much of the day, however, the nasty stuff gave us a number of reprieves that the kiddies used to their advantage. Inside and on the deck the parents were able to kick back, relax and periodically yell at their child to "wait their turn" for the slide. Ah, parenting.....what a joy!
Sunday, David and I took a trip up to Frederick, grabbed Darius and made our way to Michaux PA. It was my second time to the area but my first time on the sweet single track the park is known for. My first visit was during the 2007 Iron Cross and that whet my appetite to try some of the better trails on my fat tire bike. We meet Steve and Martin in the mountain bikers p-lot and they promptly gave us grief for our tardiness. Suited up, we started with a nasty climb straight out of the lot. Steep, rocky and a little wet from the previous days thunderstorms made for some tough climbing with tight legs. This was the yellow trail in the Caldonia area of the park....I think. Our rapid warm-up got us to the top of the climb and some loose, rock strewn single track and some fine riding. I was amazed that a trail that looked so established would have as many fist-sized rocks that it did. Normally they would have been ejected to the sides long ago, but, I guess that was the entire make-up of the bed rock. The next piece of trail was called "Stinger" and it was more of the same twisty, rock strewn single track that wove through the woods and ended with a nice technical decent onto a fireroad. Darius had to fix an issue with his front brake so DKEG and Steve pressed on and were to met us at the top of lollipop. Well, the brake job took a bit longer than we estimated and upon our arrival at the summit, David and Steve were no where to be found. Darius decides we should take the downhill portion of the trail and seek them out. This was another fast, fun, rocky trail that took us down to the middle of the road climb. We took the fire-road back to the top of lollipop and just as we were about to send out SAR we hear Davids whistle. Those things really work! With our little group reunited we set out on the "camp trail" working our way around Darius' loop. The camp trail put us onto another fireroad and it was at this time I informed our fearless leader that I was on something of a time constraint. He quickly modified our loop and we made our way directly to Abigail. Now Abigail ranks up there as one of the finest pieces of trail I have ever ridden. Unfortunately my legs were pretty toasted at this point and it was a challenge to hammer some of the short, steep climbs she throws at you initially. I pressed on, knowing that what goes up must come down and she did not disappoint. Rock gardens, slabs, drops and more, this is a superior section of trail and is not to be missed. As Abigail descended back into the valley we took a sharp left onto the connector trail that has been tentatively re-named "Stout", after it's builders favorite beverage. Stout, a fairly young trail, was full of log-overs, rock-overs, narrow off-camber bench that dropped into the valley below. The trail meandered down into and around the valley floor, hugging the swollen streams that would be a welcome sight during a hot summer ride. It popped out onto a road where Steve peeled off from our group and we quickly dove back into the woods and this stream valley trail. There were a couple narrow bridges that you really had to pay attention on. One slip would send you several feet down into a tributary of the larger streams. After a few more minutes of stream trail we had to portage over a fallen tree that was equipped with 2"x2" toe bars to keep your feet on the slippery timber. From the crossing it was more tight twisty single track that over-looked a reservoir, down into the valley one last time and a stream crossing that was actually quite deep. The refreshing mountain water breathed life into my aching legs and was an incredible way to end an epic ride in Michaux. A Smutty Nose Robust Porter in the p-lot topped off the day. Next time I have been instructed to enlist a babysitter so we might enjoy a little post ride BBQ near Ski Liberty. Next time for sure!