Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Come on out Coon!

You don't ride your bike for a month and it leaves you for someone else!

Got out with the guys this week for a road trip to Chattanooga to hit Raccoon Mtn. I have a had a love/hate relationship with this trail for years. Ridden it about 3-4 times and never really enjoyed the entire trail. 2 of those trips were on my old Ventana full suspension bike and I distinctly remember having major shifting troubles both rides. I actually think my last ever ride on a geared bike was at Raccoon Mtn. I somehow lost 1 of the 2 bolts that held on my derailleur hanger and had to limp around the trail converting my burly 4" travel full suspension bike to a singlespeed. When I got back to Nashville I swore off that bike and put it up for sale that week.

Well this trip was 100% different. Cory led us around the trail in the opposite direction I'd previously ridden it. This makes the first 8 miles or so feel like a roller coaster with no real climbs and tons and tons of flow!! We were all grins ear to ear, even though we kept hearing about the "hills" we were gonna hit later. There were 8 of us total so there was a fair amount of stopping to regroup which was pleasant to me since I've been off the bike for so long. Some of the guys were getting antsy with all the stops so we split into 2 groups from the "hills" section. There are a couple good gut busters and a few really technical sections but nothing ridiculous. I feel like Monty Bell has more steep climbs but it doesn't have the flow this trail has. One big hill I ended up just walking. No shame here. I was pretty spent when I rolled up to it and I was starting to feel the start of a calf cramp so I just hoofed it up. It's a steep climb even walking though, but doable as I know Cory, Adam and Keith all made it. Of course they have all been riding a ton lately and are in great shape.

After finishing one full lap which ended up at 17 miles, we rested for a while then headed back in to play on the rocks and boulders. Even with a group almost solely on singlespeeds, we managed to enjoy ourselves on the rocks and even get some air under the bikes on some of the jumps. I played photographer so there are no photos of me riding, which is fine as out of shape as I am. There are so many lines through this rock garden section that it's really fun to just pedal around and see what you can get up.

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