Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall Is The New Black

Kids Gettin' Rad
Wednesday Is Test Ride Day, and I grabbed the Diamondback Sortie Black 29 full suspension rig for my first ride of the day. Where to go though....

I'd read on Facebook that the CVAST guys, (or a rogue splinter group thereof), had been tinkering around with Ullrich Park's trails. That's a good thing, I thought.

Ullrich was an empty area with one path through the woods that went straight back to a feeder creek for the Cedar River which flowed not far to the north of the park entrance. It was on our radar back in the late 90's as a place that maybe, just maybe , could make for some good mountain bike trail riding. No one had any reason to go out that way back then though, and it was all just speculation based on looking at a city map.

I sent a guy out, a scout, if you will, to find out where the one main trail went. He reported back that it didn't go anywhere, but there were deer paths and a foot path or two out there that would make a good start. However; about that time I was forced out of the bicycle business and nothing came of it.

Carbon: It's the new aluminum
Then, round about the time I came back out of the car repair business and was getting back into mountain biking, I met a fella, T.J., and his pal that said they were tinkering around in Ullrich park, trying to set up a trail. Well, the fire was stoked.

I asked Jeff Kerkove, who worked with me back in those days, if he wanted to check it out. He did, and before long, we had helped carve out the first trails on the north side of the tracks. Clay, who also worked with me at the shop, also did some work over there as well, and before long we were ripping around the park, happy to have something that actually had elevation. 

Unfortunately, in all of our exuberance to put in trails in a new place, we "newbs" made quite a few blunders. I mean, going right down fall lines, and misusing the space badly. I can see it to this day when I go out there. In fact, I was so depressed about the state of affairs there that I swore off making suggestions or helping out with CVAST because I felt really bad about it, and I was too wrapped up into other things anyway to devote any real, meaningful time over there. 

So it was with some trepidation that I went over there for "Ride #1" on the Sortie. What would I find? They had done some new things, I had read, so I was hopeful that they had made some radical changes there.

Find The Bug!
Well, let's just say that they "modified" what was there originally. Hmmm....... I shouldn't really comment any further since I didn't help, so I won't.

I had fun though, and the Sortie proved to be very capable at "woods plunking". That sussed out, I went back to the shed and pulled out the next tool for "Ride #2", which was the Raleigh Talus 29 Pro carbon rig.

I needed to find out some specific things in regard to the Talus' handling, so I hit the Green Belt. It was fun. Slickery, but fun. We had plenty of rain earlier in the week, and the trails had been really dry, so they soaked a lot of the moisture up already, but there was just enough "grease" on top to make things interesting.

One thing about Fall that I think is so special, to me anyway, is the changing colors. Spring is great because things come back to life, and the monochromatic landscape becomes a brilliant green punctuated by small spring flowers. Then Summer just makes it greener, and greener. You'd better like green around here if you ride in the woods in summer, that's all I can say! Then, when Fall finally cranks up, we get another, welcomed dose of color.

The Raleigh was awesome and the colors were coming on strong. The sumac, red as hell-fire, the maples turning gold and orange, and even the squirrels were sporting fringes of gold, orange, and red in the ends of the hairs of their tails. I like it.


Redg! said...

I'm happy that you went to visit your old stomping grounds. There were some awesome CVAST members that put words into action and started the process of recovering the Ulrich Park trails. As you mentioned, those trails have not been maintained for many years, and it will take some time to get them ready. The invitation has always been there for you to help us build the trails, and share your multiple ideas and knowledge with CVAST.


Gall said...

I don't think anyone said anything about re-routing yet. They simply are trying to keep it open for hiking, biking, and running until CVAST can put forth an organized effort to help re-create/correct Ulrich. Until then, I'm stoked that it's at least mowed so I can have another off-road alternative this fall. How much did they get mowed?

RANTWICK said...

Hey man, if you see any outstanding individual trees on these colourful Fall rides, take a pic and send it to me.

I'll enter it in the "Second Annual Rantwick Autumn Tree Smackdown". You could win some of the best maple syrup on the planet...

I haven't hit a trail in way too long. All street commuting, not the same.

Guitar Ted said...

@Redg! Thanks.

@Gall: Not much of the south side yet, most of the north side has been.

I understand they were to be working it today, Friday, and Saturday as well.

TheMutt said...

I'm really excited about the new Sortie 29er. Since I am a full-time big wheel rider, my little "old" Sortie 3 is collecting dust.