Last week I posted about some of my non-outdoor adventures. While it’s true that I’ve been having more non-outdoor adventures lately, I still try to make getting outside and active a priority.
A little while ago, I wrote about mountain biking at Chicopee Woods with Dad. Since then, I’ve been biking with Dad a few other times. We rode at Chicopee Woods again, Tribble Mill, and Blanket’s Creek.
The second time at Chicopee Woods, we mixed up our route. We started on Tortoise, took the new Village Trail, rode Red Tail, and the first half of White Tail to Confusion Corner. Normally, we take White Tail to the intersection with Flying Squirrell, ride all of Flying Squirrell before jumping back on White Tail, ending at the dreaded gravel Granny climb.
This time, rather than riding the back half of White Tail which is pretty rough, rutted, and rooty, we rode Flying Squirrel all the way around to Confusion Corner. Then we rode back on the same section of White Tail. We climbed out on Village Trail. The beginning of Village Trail had a few steep spots, but other than that the climb was fine. This route let us effectively skip the Granny Climb. It felt funny though. Dad claimed that he just didn’t feel like he had ridden Chicopee without climbing the Granny Climb. It’s odd, but I think I agree with him.
The next time I rode with Dad, we had some time constraints, so we stayed more local. It was almost a year ago that I last wrote about biking at Tribble Mill with Dad. We rode our usual route. Tribble Mill has many, many intersections and all of them are unmarked. I can’t quite remember all the turns, but I got most of them right this time around. Everything looked different though with the trails covered in a thick layer of leaves. Not very good conditions for picking the best line. I more or less tried to keep my speed up so I could bounce over the unseen roots and rocks.
Tribble Mill always seems like a challenge to me despite not having a ton of elevation gain. The beginning is tough because it’s a rather long, somewhat steep uphill before my legs have really warmed up. After that, the set of the trail just makes it difficult to really build up momentum. I tend to think, “Oh, let’s go to Tribble Mill; my legs are a bit tired.” But then when I get there, I remember that Tribble Mill is never feels as easy as I think it should!
Last weekend, Dad and I rode at Blanket’s Creek. While Blanket’s Creek isn’t any farther from my home than the other places I ride, it is quite far from my Dad, so we don’t ride there very often. In fact, I think this was only the third time I’ve ridden at Blanket’s Creek. It was nice to ride somewhere different. First we rode Dwelling loop, which is the easiest of the three loops if you don’t include the Mosquito Trails (Mosquito Flats and Mosquito Bite are flat, beginner friendly trails).
Next up, we conquered Van Michael, which I think is my favorite trail at Blanket’s Creek. It is challenging in that there is a lot of elevation gain, with some steep sections that I struggle, and sometimes fail, to get up. Sections that require power or speed are certainly not my forte. I like that I can work on the power aspect on this trail, without the technical features that almost certainly would cause me to fail. Most of the turns on Van Michael are banked, so riding downhill is nice, smooth and flowy. Van Michael is a challenge with incentive!
Lastly, we rode the South Loop, which is much more technical than Van Michael. Most of the technical features I was able to ride no problem. There were a few places where I hopped off and opted not try. There was one particular spot where there is a rock in the middle of the trail. Any old rock is not a problem, but this one spanned the whole (narrow) trail and require a good bit of speed to get up on top. As I approached, I knew I didn’t have the speed. The penalty for failure here was falling down a rather steep slope to the lake below. Thus, I decided to pass on trying that particular feature.
During the first half of the South loop, I was thinking “I feel pretty good. Maybe we will ride Dwelling again after this,” but I quickly changed my tune. On the back half of South Loop, we started climbing and pretty much didn’t stop until we reached the trail head. Every time we would dip down just a bit, I thought “Oh no, now I have to go back up.” My legs were very tired at this point. My lack of doing any strenuous activities during the week and only exercising on the weekend was very apparent. Finally we reached the top! I told Dad my legs were toast. He chuckled and told me “I can tell.”
And that’s all the things.