Thursday, July 24, 2014

Skeeters And Flowers

Just about succumbed to a Skeeter attack here!
Last chance for gas with the Borealis before it has to go back to Colorado, so off to Ingawanis Woods I went. It was a gloriously cool, drier day compared to Tuesday which was a typically beastly, humid, hot Summer day. I was really happy that Wednesday was much better.

When I reached the last road to the woods, I spied a 40 acre field of wild flowers and prairie grasses that I thought might make for a good image or two. Filed away in the back of my mind for later, I drove the last stretch to park and get ready for a quick lap on the carbon fiber 29+ rocket.

Surprisingly, I found that there were few mosquitoes in the air in the grassy lot where I traditionally park there. Not like the last time, when brown whizzing clouds of the blood sucking insects wouldn't leave me alone. This was a good sign, and I planned to take many images and enjoy myself on the loop. I rolled off on the bone dry, rock hard dirt and scooted around the first few corners.

I decided to stop and take an image of the rooty, broken rock infested climb near the counter-clockwise start, and I found out that this was a very bad idea. If anything, this was the worst the skeeters had been in years. Just awful! Okay then, pack it up quickly, remount, spin off, and forget about stopping.

Nothing but flowers and bees out here!
This made for a single stop running of the loop, which is pretty unusual for me, only because I usually feel the need to document a bike, component, or a beautiful scene with the camera when the mood hits me. I am not all about the "fastest time" or "training", for that matter, so I typically don't care about speeding through Ingawanis without enjoying the sights and sounds.

However; the beastly skeeters put a different spin on this ride and I found myself grooving on cutting corners as fast as I could, or in not using my brakes as much. It made for the fastest times in many sections that I have ever had. The mood and techniques were one thing, but the bike played right into that as well. Big, 29+ meats, set up tubeless, were the meal ticket to eating up single track at an alarming rate. Whomever said 29"ers could not zap around tight corners never rode such a rig as this, that much I do know. I was flying through the tight twisties faster than ever, and conditions were not primo for traction either.

29+, (really, they are 31"ers), are so good at gaining traction, that speed in areas you typically have to scrub off speed in, or be careful with pushing too hard for fear of breaking away, are non issues. I was even cruising right past the sandy patches in the apexes of corners like they were pure, tacky dirt. Braking traction was insane, when you needed to brake, and whoa-ing up the Echo was no problem at all. I'll be adding a 29+ or a B+ bike to the stable for sure based upon this experience with the Borealis.

And that flowery prairie? I decided to stroll on over on the Echo and visit for a while. It was a great, relaxing way to cap off a frenetic ride through Ingawanis Woods escaping the dreaded skeeter attacks.

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