Friday, November 23, 2012

Seizing The Day

I whacked my left knee here....
It didn't take me long to figure out my schedule for riding when I looked at the weather forecasts early in the week. Warm weather would rule till late Thursday, then we'd be going into the freezer for a bit.

I have a Specialized Camber Comp in for testing on Twenty Nine Inches, so getting some good riding very important. Fortunately I had both Wednesday and Thursday to get some significant trail time in on that rig. Once it gets colder, it seems that getting out and really getting after it on the trails becomes so much more difficult. Not impossible, but with all those layers on, it gets harder.

So I got a great ride in Wednesday, then on Thanksgiving itself, I went up to the Camp and unloaded for a nice afternoon ride. I had two layers on top, and when I felt how warm it was, I shed the one and wore only my short sleeved Twin Six jersey. I can't recall when I have done that on Thanksgiving, or on a Turkey Burn ride before.

Things were going along just peachy until I got to the first steep climb. There was just enough moisture in the soil that it stuck to the Ground Control tires, gumming them up, and subsequently causing my rear tire to slip out at a critical juncture. It was so steep at this point that I tumbled over sideways and backward, and as I came down, I smacked my leg just under the knee. It was at the point where the tibial plateau is, and it was really painful! That part of my tibia met a nice, innocent chunk of limestone embedded into the trail there and of course, was little bothered by the incident. But there is something about smacking bone on rock that creates an intense level of searing pain. Needless to say, I stayed on the ground for a bit.

Specialized Camber Comp
 Visions of Texas circa 2011 circulated through my brain there for a bit, but after some poking and prodding, I came to the conclusion that I had not broken a bone, nor broken the skin either. It just hurt like the dickens.

I got up and walked it off, but not 100%. I was still good to ride, and I figured getting the blood flowing would be a good deal. Gingerly I remounted and trundled onward down the trail. I felt okay, but the greasy mud was making things difficult so that I had to keep the speed in check so as not to go down again.

Further on down the trail I saw a few deer. Not surprising. They like to hang out in these woods. A bit further out and I came across a downed tree. It looked to have been dead for awhile, but obviously had succumbed to decay and wind pressure. In the process of breaking and falling down, it took out another dead tree, sort of like a domino would. It has blocked off an ascent to a ridge and working around it meant I had to go way off the beaten path.

But I got around it and by this time, my leg was feeling fine, which was a good thing. I worked my way over the ridge into the bottoms and got closer to the Cedar River. There I saw a lot of commotion.

Cedar River: There's an eagle's nest in one of the trees here.

First thing I saw was plenty of deer. I started to count as I slowed down to a safe stop. Looked like 12 does, then I saw one coming behind, bigger, cautious. It was the buck, of course.

Then I saw something else. Higher up, and there was no mistaking it- a big, mature Bald Eagle took flight from a tree on my side of the river, then another! I then swung in a bit closer, stopped on the trail, and started walking the 30 yards or so to the river bank. Three immature Bald Eagles all swoop down and up into the blue skies over my head. I stood and watched them making circles. Soaring effortlessly higher and further away until I could no longer see them anymore. Pretty amazing moments there.

Then I remounted and moved along, climbing out of the bottoms, (successfully, I might add), and moving towards the newer bits of trail toward the end of the loop. Those new bits of trail are really loamy right now, and the Ground Control tires were definitely not in control! I was having to walk at a few points, but near the end of the loop I was able to open it up and I ended up with a nice ride on a stellar early afternoon in late November.

As I pulled up to the truck to leave, I noticed the wind had shifted, the air was changing. It was going to get colder really fast. I was right at the edge of the last warm bit we'll likely have in a long time.

Glad I seized that chance to ride and enjoy it.

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