Sunday, March 18, 2012

Last Round-up

Chihuahuan desert goodness
I had time for one more ride, and I had a single speed, and I didn't want to walk more than I rode. This presented a problem with the Franklin Mountain State Park's west unit which, as I have often said, is a really tough ride.

I had also been looking at doing some other trails in the El Paso area. This pretty much meant going to the east side of the mountains I usually ride on. The State Park lands actually reach over to this area, and there are some other grounds which riders can go on. I looked up some quick directions on the inner-web-o-sphere and kitted up.

I found the place easily enough and much to my surprise, there was only one spot open in the lot to park in. Cyclists were everywhere. Weird. I never see anyone on the western slopes. What's more, everyone I met was kind and helpful if I needed it. 

A bit friendlier look on this side.
In fact a man in a Toyota truck was nice enough to reinforce my chosen route by describing it for me. He was very encouraging. I hit the trails but I was really nerved up and excited. This typically happens when I ride something for the first time and it sends my heart rate into a tizzy. I had to stop a few times on the initial climb just to try and settle my nerves.

Once I got myself calmed down, it was great. I found the trails to have far less of the chunder and bed rock that the west side has. In fact, the trails were nicely burned in over here. I headed up the Tin Mine Road Trail first and that was a steady climb back towards the mountains ahead. I would be looking for a right hander to take me north and then back eastward to make a loop out of the ride.

Crossroads in the Arroyo
That's not to say this loop was easy. Oh no! There were some deep, gravelly spots, chunky rock sections, and loose rock to negotiate. Of course, any miscues would be paid for in blood and bruises here as well. The landscape is still as unforgiving on the east side as it is on the west side, just more flowy and less technical.

I was liking this style of trail a lot more though, and it suited the single speed to a "T". The Milwaukee Bike 29"er was dialed for this sort of trail system, and the new wheel set consisting of WTB Frequency rims and American Classic hubs was light years better than the other bike's wheel set. Far stiffer and tracking was super predictable. The big surprise was the Bronson TCS tires which gripped like wolverines out there. (Wait a minute! WTB has a tire named Wolverine, right? Oh well....) Anyway, I was expecting the Bronson tires to really be squishy and snap and pop on off cambers with those bendy side knobs, but the grip was outstanding. The pea gravel washes and deeper gravel showed a tendency for the Bronsons to float up on top instead of cutting in, so you had to be ready to "surf" a bit, but it is better than washing out too. That's where all that snow riding came in handy there!

Well, it was a ton of fun but too short lived. I had to get back so my wife and daughter could do some planned shopping time together. Part of vacation with the family, ya know. But I'll be back over on this side again next time I am back for sure.

Okay folks, short and sweet posts are ahead as I will be coming back this coming week and will have a few days in Iowa to kick back and enjoy before going back to the grindstone.

1 comment:

SS:Mntbiker\Olskoolrodder said...

AWESOME pics,my friend!