Yesterday I drove all the way out to Schaeffer Farms, an hour away, to ride the blingle-speed on the lucious singletrack I've missed so much these past five years. Oh how I've longed for those zippy trails. And so it was with a smile on my face, a red bull in my lap, and coordinates punched into the GPS, that I backed out of the driveway and sped off to Germantown, MD. The whole way there I recounted excellent times had at this park. I remembered each loop and it's little nuggets of goodness (the evergreen sections, the half-pipe section, the cornfield perimeters... I remembered large group rides, changing in the parking lot, and waiting for the guy who was ALWAYS 20 minutes late. One thing I didn't remember was MORE's arguably over protective control over the park. I forgot that if it rains even remotely hard within a few days of when you plan on riding there, the park will most likely be closed to mountain bikers. And so when I pulled into that long familiar gravel entrance to the park, pleasantly surprised that “groove is in the heart” was just beginning to play on the radio, I was greeted by a locked gate which seemed to shout: “You shall not PASS!”
I sat in the truck for a full 5 minutes weighing the options. I could go to the Watershed in Frederick, but I brought my rigid singlespeed and I'd be miserable. I could just go home and take the road bike out, but I had an appetite for dirt today. Hmmm. I decided I'd head back to Baltimore and ride at Patapsco Park (Excellent singletrack). So I backed out of the entrance, popped the truck in drive and was on my way to my alternative riding spot. Until...
Above left: Dogfish Head Alehouse. Above right: A hut at Patapsco Park.
I passed a Dogfish Head Ale House. That's right. I'd never seen one before. So I pulled a U-ey and doubled back. It was lunch time anyway and I thought I'd finally be able to try out that 120 Minute IPA I've been reading about. And so I sat down at the bar, ordered a 120 minute IPA and the Ahi Tuna sandwich. I was talked out of the 120 after the bartender suggested I try a sample first. I tried it- it was sickeningly sweet and intensely strong at 18%. Yowza. So I ordered a 60 minute IPA. I was back on the road 30 minutes later and eager to hit the trails.
Above Left: Spring time in the forest. Above Right: The Singlespeed resting against an old oil tanker car.
When I pulled up to Patapsco and parked off of Rolling rd, I saw a bunch of riders leaving their cars and entering the woods. Awesome. I was stoked. I popped the 1X1 together and dove into the swooping decent that takes you down, down, down to a small creak which you crisscross a few times before being dumped out in a parking lot area. I shot across the parking lot, through a tunnel and into another zippy-fast trail that meandered along the Patapaso River. I searched out a familiar climb that was chock-full o' waterbars. I was huffin' & puffin' by the time I reached the top and though I was going to have a heart attach. I'm waaaaay out of shape! After recovering, I was really lovin' the purple trail. It was extremely fast and ideal for a singlespeed bike like mine. I did two small loops before I had to head back home. Excellent ride. Can't wait to get back in shape!
Above: An old oil tanker car beaten from it's roll down the train track embankment and several years of flood waters beating it to death, rests along the side of the Patapsco River.