Thursday, September 11, 2008

My golden rule of rain riding ALWAYS pays off!!!

Many years ago, I learned a valuable lesson about mountain biking. It's an outdoor sport, which means you have to go outside to do it. No way around it. If you take the time to plan a ride and it rains, you better go ride!

I told my wife several years ago that if it's pouring rain on the way to the trail, it's guaranteed to either sprinkle or not rain at all at the trail! Every time I test my theory, it pays off. Yesterday was no different. It had rained off and on all day lightly.

Sure enough, come 5pm it started pouring outside my office. I kept my head high and aimed for Bent Creek. On the drive, the parkway was empty. Bent Creek Road was vacant. The parking lot of Hard Times had 1 other car. This at 5:30 on a weekday and says alot about how ahrd it was raining. But sure enough, I got out of the car and the only water was on on the trees. The trails were packed hard & no standing water anywhere.

After a few fun routes down low I went up Side Hill to check out the FS logging at 5 points. No logging yet, but still the signs. 10 minutes later I hit Greens Lick. Dust free and packed like pavement!! It was a great ride in utter silence and I saw but one set of tire tracks that looked to be from early in the day.

I did smell a bear or hawk scent lingering near the powerline trail. When I've caught that scent before in that area, twice I've got off my bike to listen & watch. Both times I spotted a beautiful Coopers Hawk, once with a small pheasant/grouse in it's claws watching me from a limb 15 feet away in the underbrush. This time, it was a bear. I couldn't find it, but it was there and staying very close to the trail the whole time.

To this day, I have not once in 16 years of MTB, seen a single bear in the woods!!!

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