Thursday night ride was on and Nathan Hale was the victim and 5:45 was the ride time, I arrived 5 minutes before the ride and pulled into the lot and saw a huge crowd of bikers I didn't think it was our group but I did notice John so I parked next to the line of cars. I was the last one to be there it seemed, there were already 12-13 people and lots of new faces. Got geared up and got the dog out and waited as one more was expected to arrive. Soon enough we all pedaled into the woods in a long line and Bentley at my side. I was riding smack in the middle of our pack and it didn't take long and I lost Bentley to the rider behind me, he is very good at yielding, perhaps too good. I was constantly waiting up for the big guy as he fell behind no matter what I tried. It was a huge group and it was working the both of us. Normally were with a group of 4 or 5 and I hang in back to keep us organized. It wasn't long and a few people peeled off the group but still leaving us 10 or so deep. Still making it tricky for me and Bentley. we got 90% done and got to the awful rocky trail and I had had enough and set off on a solo mission with just me and my pooch. We got a little crazy on some fire roads and then shot across the street to ride a new trail someone built. It was very very fresh and hard to follow but in no time I am sure it will be buff. I then found my way back to the lot where I met up with the remaining fellas and hung out for a little while. Good ride and still had lots of energy to burn and wanted more but darkness was coming.
Man I sure have been slacking on my trip reports, the new job has really sucked up a lot of my time during the week with the commute and all sorts of other stuff. Luckily I still have been riding a happy minimum 3 days a week which I can live with. This was my 2nd early morning ride this week. A truly dedicated rider, I have yet to come across a biker at West Rock yet, I guess I am the only nut out there. I do however come across fishermen and hikers which is good to know someone else is out there cause this mornings ride was a bit spooky. I arrived at 6:15 promptly and got to it, I decided to do a counter clockwise loop touching some trails I have and some I have not. I headed out on red pedaling fast since it was so smooth and this is where I got creeped out, it was good to spot the sign the sun was rising here and there to help break the ice. I got into the single track section on red and was getting slapped left and right with nice cold wet leaves, it felt great! Another spooky thing was the trees would shake above me for no apparent reason from who knows but it would rain on me which was very strange. I was quick through that section and then finally got climbing, a bit much was walked but some sections I thought not able were conquered. up to the beat up paved road on the ridge and into the mist. This was another cool weather feature I had going on this morning. Out of the mist and hit yellow which I had a feeling wasn't going to lead to anything great which it didn't but it was a great downhill trail. It shot me out on the road where I rode back to red and onto yellow and then hiked up a very difficult purple which was only half ridable, I certainly don't recommend going up purple......back up on the ridge and onto blue then green and then hoped to find a good downhill trail on the south end of the park but I was short on time and took a trail that lead on and off the road. It was ok but I know there is much better. Made my way to red again and around the lake and off to work. These morning rides are tough and lonely but they sure get the job done!
Finally getting to learn my way around this gem of a park. I decided today would be the day that I put together a loop around the park, little did I know how much hike a bike I would be doing on the southern end of red trail but anytime spent on the dirt is a good time for me. I cranked off on another early morning ride and got a start on the trail just after 6am. It was overcast mostly with hints of blue and maybe sun but it never did show. That was fine since the temperature was pleasant after that heat wave from last week. I headed south on the red trail and hit the end of the park and then the red trail literally rocketed into the sky, it was alot of hike a bike but it was working me out and the views were beautiful despite a junky looking hamden CT..... It took awhile but I did reach the stop where a viewing parking lot is located to give you about 180 degree view to the south. This rock is a pretty neat place being that it's a pretty sharp elevated spine rising just a few miles off the coast. It was a different sight to see the ocean but it was cool and was a welcomed change of scenery. Ok enough viewing that stuff I pedaled some pavement and onto blue hesitantly, which I soon ended up walking some of it was ridable so I proceeded to do so. Once that was over I was sent back to the road where I caught the green trail, pretty uneventful and shooting me back onto pavement. This place has lots of pavement between trails if you like to make it up to the top and make a loop but to me it's actually kind of nice. Rode way down to the end of the park and while I rode on the beat up closed paved road, I enjoyed a few glimpses to the East and West from a good elevation. Once I got about to the end I caught blue and descended back onto the red trail for some mellow single track enjoyment back to the car. Fricken sweet ride, getting to learn these trails little by little, there is not a big maze but it still has some exploring to do for sure.
Now for wednesday:)
So I spend a lot of time visiting my parents down in Easton CT, not many times do I plan a ride down there since I am always busy visiting and relaxing. But this time I was down there for the whole weekend and I was desperate for a ride. So after a terrible night sleep the night before and not much of one the night before the ride, I awoke to a painful 6am alarm, walked downstairs got some eggs going and did not want to leave that couch. But I gathered myself as dedicated as I am and headed over to Huntington Park. This is a place where I have been a few time way back when I was beginning my riding. I remember it being pretty rocky and uneventful and absolutely nothing like what I got on this trip. I arrived to the lot with bike and dog and took a guess and headed into the woods. I started rolling on some wide single track that was so nice and smooth and twisty and all sorts of greatness. I quickly had to make direction choices and I decided to head to the north end of the park since I had heard from my buddy craig that his favorite trails were up there. I was riding along having a blast, there was some minimal technical stuff but mostly things were buff and scenic which was a warm welcome. I eventually managed to hit my goal which was to hit the far north of the park and found some loops up there while I was at it. I was having so much fun over there I was losing time that I wanted to be able to cover the whole park. I kept getting having to turn around and backtrack quite a few times as I tried to not ride the same trail twice. I could not believe how much I have been missing out all this time, I don't think these trails were were here 5 years ago since I had been there but I could be wrong, all I knew was I was having a good time. I had so many trail options that I was getting clueless and making guesses. There are a lot of fire roads here that connect each piece of good riding and I hit some really great trails but when I was making my way south I was forced to pass potentially awesome trails it was killing me. I had a scheduled plan for going out on the boat with LuAnn, Mom, Craig and three doggies by the way and that's why I was limited on time. I got south and hit a quick trail off the wide gravel path that brought back some great memories, it's a short piece of trail but can remember some great memories. I got all the way south as planned and headed up a narrow rocky DH trail only but it was too late to turn back as I climbed up and hit another gravel road and then down a popular trail. This is where things got technical and rocky and was a good challenge but it was at the end of the ride where I was feeling less ambitious to try to make it over more stuff without putting my foot down. Onto the paved entrance road and sadly my ride was at an end and I had to part with Huntington but I will be back! Real soon!