I love this time of the year. The crisp morning air, changing of the leaves and cooler temps simply make everything more enjoyable.
The regular cast of characters have been a little scattered lately. Some went to the World's, some have been bird watching or vacationing and a few have found new ways to hurt themselves. Frank got a little busted up on our last foray in Michaux. While nothing was broken, his ribs took a beating and have been slow to heal. This, unfortunately, has kept the good doctor off his bike lately.
Night rides are winding up and I've led a few people around the trails at Schaeffer Farms recently. This is always a good time and is generally followed with beer and food at Dogfish Head. Always a nice way to end an evening. Last week, however, I wanted to ride some rocks with the guys and we coaxed Frank into joining us. Being the gimp, we let him pick the route and his choice was surprising. Iceberg, F2, Viper and Salamander. Lots o rocks on these trails, but, he figured he could simply walk the slower more technical sections almost as fast as we could ride them. This route also kept him close to the road if he needed to bail. Frank put in a strong effort and rode through a lot of pain. In the end, his injury dictated an early departure and he took the road back to the car as Darius and I finished up on Salamander. We enjoyed some beers and jerky at the cars until the cold mountain air hastened our departure. I hope Frank heals up in time for the Griz.
Perfect Autumn weather this weekend meant getting in some boat time before she gets packed away for the winter. David and his boys joined me and the kids for a beautiful day of sailing. 10-15 knot winds were a welcome surprise as we entered the Rhode river. The last couple trips out we were denied wind and had to rely on the kicker. Saturday was different and I didn't want to waste what Mother Natures bounty. Dacron raised we killed the motor and it was pure silent bliss as the water lapped against the hull. The kids were amazed that we could move without a motor and they were fascinated with all the rigging. 20 seconds later the novelty wore off and they were back to being kids and bickering about whose turn it was on the bow. Being the responsibly fathers we are, David and I cracked another beer and hoped no one went over the side. Amazingly enough we sailed around the bay and back to the river without losing a single child. We toast our success with another beer and head back to the marina in the warm glow of an Autumn evening.
Sunday morning we were able to get a few guys together for an amazing ride in the Shed. Tony, DaveG, Darius, David and I met at Sandflats, headed south for a bit before turning back towards the northern trails. Blue to Crystal Clear, Tricky Trail, Enchanted Forest and over to the Drop Trail. Darius, Tony and I snaked down this trail following each others line and it just flowed without a single dab among us. Definitely the best ride I've ever had on that section. We grunted our way up Death March and picked up f2 to find a bunch of baby rattlers on Capitol Hill. A little session on Double Stuff, the swoopy turns and final rock garden dropped us off at Viper. Took that out and across the road to Salamander and finished up on Skink. A little Brew Pub in town to round it all out and mark this day down in the books.
The Iron Cross VII is coming up this weekend. Not much interest from the local crew like last year, but, I love this race and plan to be there. It's hard to beat Michaux in the fall.
Boat photo courtesy of DKEG