Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Strobe Effect

Sawyer In George Wyth
Friday I got the shop work done early. So, I left an hour earlier than usual, and went over to see how George Wyth State Park was doing.

The trails there are now under the watchful eye of CVAST, and they are mown and cleared for the most part. They do a good job with what they have to work with.  And let's be honest, Geo Wyth is essentially low-land, backwaters of the Cedar River flood plain. Flat. Silty. When it gets wet, it is the worst slickery, snotty, greasy mud you'll ever run across. was more wet than not. 

At any rate, there I was, slogging through the mud pits, and having to gingerly pilot the Sawyer through the single track due to the slick trails and packed up tires. Oh yeah, did I mention that this mud sticks to everything?

The Sawyer, being as stable as it is, was a perfect sled for these conditions. Even though the tires were a terrible choice! I wished plenty of times that I had the Mud X on there yet. I don't mean to complain. It isn't like I haven't seen this before out there. In fact, it was what I would cal "typical Geo Wyth" conditions.
It was still lots of fun, and beat working an extra hour hands down. It was good to get over there, see the old place, and reminisce about the old days when I was just learning the ropes and these trails were all new, and very different.

One thing that hadn't changed, and that was the "strobe effect" you get when speeding through the single track under the canopy of foliage with the sunlight trying to pierce through every now and then. This dappled sunlight can play tricks on your mind, and if you aren't careful, you can wreck. The on again, off again light makes it hard to see just when you really need to at times!

On the way back home, I went around  East Lake, which has water up over the trail in three spots. I motored right through hub deep water on the single speed, much to the amazement of a couple of young fishermen at one spot.

It was a good ride, but I won't be back that way for awhile now. A little bit of the Geo Wyth goes a long way for me. We've got history, me and that park!


Jon BALER said...

Any concern that riding in mud damages the trails? Here on the east coast, we typically frown on riding on muddy trails. It digs them up, and widens them out.

Herringbone said...

Nice story. Interesting take on light. That frame looks sweet. Kinda cruiserish. Dig the color. I searched to see if you had other thoughts on it.

Guitar Ted said...

@Jon BALER: Good question. I suppose "river bottom trail" has no meaning for many folks in other parts of the world. I should explain....

Essentially, the trails run next to, (and in many cases through), water drainage that goes directly into a river that runs next to the park. When we experience big rains, or flooding, these fill up with water. Also, flooding occurs yearly, and often multiple times per year.

What this means is that the power of water trumps trail damage caused by anything else, (including bikes), and riding in the mud isn't as frowned upon here as it is in other parts of the world. In fact, the trails constantly change due to water erosion whether we ride them or not.

It becomes a matter then of whether or not you want to clean an extremely muddy bike and person.

Finally, even the slightest amount of rain activates the soil into the "greasy" state I described, and besides a few places with standing water, these trails were in typically "normal" conditions for us.

Hope that helps explain why it is okay, but not smart for other reasons, to ride mud here. (And they weren't quite totally muddy when I rode them, by the way.)

Guitar Ted said...

@Herringbone: Check out Twenty Nine Inches, my site where that bike is getting reviewed:

There are other posts on it there as well.

john said...

Mark - After church tomorrow we are heading up to the Camp for some great fun. Be there. 1:30 at cup of joe.

Steve Fuller said...

We have sections of what I consider river bottom trails around here (Denman's Woods between Walnut Creek and the Raccoon River). Might not be down quite as low as George Wyth, but we're definitely in an area that floods at least once if not twice a year. CITA's take is if you are leaving ruts, then you shouldn't be riding there.