Thursday, July 12, 2012

More Encounters With Wildlife

More Encounters With Wildlife- (This time the animal in question is actually a live one!)

Fresh Tracks
Back in June I had an encounter with a suicidal deer, (which I posted about here), and on Independence Day I came across a big 10 pointer in Geo Wyth.

I've also had turkeys flying in my face and sighted a strange, huge black-ish bird that I think is an immature Bald Eagle. Owls, deer, and other critters have been abundant even though everything on the plant side is shriveling up and dying out there. Seriously- it is getting scary out there.

Well, anyway, this story starts- (where else!)- up at the South side of Camp Ingawanis' mountain bike trails. I headed up there for some tire/wheel testing on the Milwaukee Bicycle Company 29"er. It was a really nice day- in the 70's, dappled sunshine, and little wind or humidity. The trails are bone dry, fast, and clear for the most part.

The tires in question are the Michelin Wild Race'R model with a tubeless set up on a WTB Frequency i23 rim laced to American Classic hubs. I had been running slightly higher pressures, but for this run I was at 18psi-20psi.

Really- this bike rides soooo nice!
I don't know why, but everything just clicked on this ride. Sure- I have liked the MBC 29"er well enough all along, the wheels have been....well, wheels. The tires worked really nicely on the slightly narrower Velocity Blunt SL rims when I had those tires on those wheels and mounted on the Fargo Gen II frame.

But something about yesterday was so spot on. One of those rides you wait for ever to have. Smooth, fast, comfortable, legs felt great, and the weather was perfect as were the trails for the most part. I was honking along with seemingly way less effort than before. Either I have gained a big jump forward in my fitness, or the bike, wheels, and tires were just that fast. (Secretly I am hoping the bike, wheels, and tires suck!) No.....I can't say exactly what it was, but this ride was super-fun.

I even crashed big time! I was flying around a left hander with a few trees for good measure, right on the edges of the single track. I actually saw this one coming. The big, wide 3D carbon Answer bar caught a tree right at the end of the Ergon grip. thwok! On the left side, and I wobbled and went down hard into a dry duff of dirt, leaves, and old walnut shells.

I am okay, but I bruised up my left leg in a few spots coming off the bike and scratched up my right shin.Then later on I came across a downed tree. I stopped and I broke it off in bits so the next rider can clean the section without a hike-a-bike. That was some work!

But the best- the weirdest, and funniest part came right near the end of the ride. I was going through some twisty bits when I spied an immature squirrel. It did the usual "can not decide which way to scurry" dance for a moment or two, then it darted like lightning to my left as I came speeding by. I saw a small tree and unconsciously wrote off ever seeing that squirrel again. But.....

Suddenly I see a flying furball coming from my upper left. It is the squirrel! The dang critter hits the back of my right hand and I instinctively flick the crazed critter off with a backhand move and the animal cartwheels through the air to a surmised rough landing.

I didn't stop to see. I gave a hoot and a hearty laugh and figured I was lucky to come out of that without a scratch. Too bad I didn't have a video rolling. That would have made me a You Tube hero for sure, for what that is worth. What a great ending to a fun ride!


B said...

After 3 yrs of living abroad in the good old USofA we miss those little squirrels now back here in oz. Dodging Roos back here is kind of cool though.
Ps: how is the i23 holding up? My i19 I built up is going well although it did/does have a minor factory flaw in the rim.

Guitar Ted said...

@B: The i23's are holding up quite nicely. Very impressed with the rigidity of the rim, and my only nit is that since it is a UST dimension, some tires are a no go on it. For instance, it is very difficult to get tires with non-UST dimensions to air up, and then I worry about blow offs. Geax, Michelin, and WTB TCS tires fit very well though.