My Pugsley is my only mountain bike, if you don’t count the 1988 Specialized Rockhopper Comp that I use as my Xtracycle. Just as the mountain bike craze was taking off in the early 90’s I suffered a repetitive motion injury in my elbows. It was so bad there was a time when I thought I’d never be able to ride a bike again. When I did get back on a bike I didn’t have the hand strength needed for off road riding. I still suffer flare-ups and have to take it easy on the arms at times. Now that I know how to handle the injury I can do some off road riding, as long as it’s in moderation.
There is a drive to make our city a mountain biking destination with plans for over 100 miles of single track trails within the city. I’ve been trying to take advantage of these trails. Two years ago the system reached my neighborhood. I’ve been riding the trails in the winter. And this summer I’ve been out a few times. For now it’s a nice alternative to the other types of riding I do. A way to ride without having to worry about other road users.
The biggest eye opener for me getting out on these trails in the summer is how bad my mountain biking skills are. The geography of the area makes building trails a challenge. The trails end up rock and root filled. When riding I have to put a foot down all the time. I often have to dismount and push my bike up the smallest obstacles once I’ve failed to clean it. It can be down right embarrassing if other riders are around. I totally avoid busy times. Yesterday I didn’t have to work. A Tuesday at midday is a great time to have the trails to myself and avoid any embarrassing situations. I rode for a couple of hours and only saw three other riders. My pace would be agonizingly slow for experienced mountain bikers. You can see my route and slow times here. At one point I had to detour down the ridge to Skyline Parkway in the middle of one loop. This was due to new trail construction. The rate of new trail construction is staggering. I took a part of a new section not open yet to get down the ridge. There must have been 30 banked switchbacks on this section alone. Impressive trail construction to say the least.
The best part is this is right out my back door and in the next year or two a connector trail will be built down to my neighborhood about 200 yards from my house. This will take me through a new city park tentatively called Quarry Park. This will eliminate the 1.25 mile road ride to the nearest trail head.
I plan to do much more of this. How can I not take advantage of these riding opportunities?