I haven't been able to get in this many consecutive days of mountain biking in a hell of a long time. I feel retired. I love being off every day, but I am kind of anxious to start my new job. In the mean time I won't complain; I'll ride. Breakfast this morning was a couple big bowls of bran flakes & strawberries. I'm on a berry kick lately... it seems every time I go to the store they're on sale for buy one; get one free. So I'm taking advantage. I straightened the house up a bit, spread some ant killing granules around the perimeter of the house (we have ants at this place – better than cockroaches but still far from cool). Hopefully the little buggers eat hearty and DIE. After that I paid some bills and researched a mechanical issue I thought I had with my Lefty at mtbr.com – turns out; I had no problem with the Lefty. Sweet!
I was getting ready to head back to Hashawha for some more riding around noon when I got a call from Mark at Race Pace. He was letting me know that the Paul chain keeper I ordered yesterday was already in. Dayamn; that was fast! Right on. I popped in to the shop on my way to Hashawha and he let me use the stand to quickly pop that baby in place. It took all of five minutes and I was good to go. I mounted it as low and close to the chain as possible and wasn't getting any rubbing when I ran the chain through the range of 9 cogs in the back. Excellent.
So I pull in to the parking lot at Hashawha and I'm stretching and slowly getting my gear on when a guy gets out of the truck next to mine and starts asking about the trails. I couldn't explain where any of the trails really went because yesterday was my first day at this park, but we were able to describe sections of trails we'd both ridden before. Nice guy. I was going to suggest that we ride together but he said he was waiting for a phone call. Fair enough, I was happy to set out on my own. I wanted to get a better handle on the trail network at this place and wanted to go past where I found the technical new singletrack and see what the hell was out there. Off I went. “Have a good ride man!” I was back 20 seconds later; I forgot my gloves. “See ya dude!” This time... it's for real.
Ten minutes into the ride I stopped and switched the positions of my rear shifter & brake lever on the right side of the bar. Yesterday I had them set lever, shifter, grip (inboard to outboard). But I kept bumping my shifter with the knuckle of my thumb causing a shift at THE most inopportune times. What a difference the switch made. I can still reach my shifter comfortably and also have my lever clamp far enough away from grip that I can just reach lever with my trigger finger. My bike is fully dialed-in now. The chain keeper looks a lot cleaner than the front derailleur I was using and I didn't drop my chain a once.
So I'm cruising out through the open fields, down through some singletrack to the river, over the old broken bridge and up to the new trails. But this time, I go past the new stuff. I keep going. The trail only goes about another 100 yards and ends at a road. Hmmph. But there's a little kiosk with a trail map and so I see that I can take roads all the way around the park if I like. So I did. And the cool thing was that 60% of the roads were old gravel roads. So I was loving it. I locked out the fork and just motored my way back to where I started, and when I got there, I just kept going and headed back into the woods for another few miles of singletrack. I got back to the car with 12.22 miles under my wheels and I felt tired but great. I had packed a ton of strawberries and grapes in a little cooler and so I housed that stuff and headed home for an unhealthy but delicious lunch of hotdogs. Good times.