Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Raccoon Mountain, finally

Sorry it took so long to get this post together, I typed it up 2 days ago but for some reason Google is being cranky and won't let me upload my photos so I'm going on without them. Maybe if Google gets it's panties out of a wad I'll post the few photos I took in a day or so, who knows. Maybe I'll just go ahead and create that Flickr account I've been threatening to do. Did you hear that Google? Fix the problem.

I swear the weekend flew by and as I sit here I'm trying to recall all that happened and think of an interesting way to put it into words. No I didn't have too many brews at the festival which was a blast by the way. The only thing that wasn't great about our trip was the campground it was a place to crash and not a campground that I would really want to hang out at. Our site was not really that spectacular, I think if it had rained we would have been flooded but luckily we had dry skies all weekend. There is a difference between a campground and an RV Park. A campground is usually pretty nice with a good amount of space between you and your neighbors with a picnic table maybe some trees. An RV park is a strip of grass and a driveway for your RV. If you pay the big bucks you get a wooden pole with a 50 amp electrical outlet, Cable TV, water hookups and a sewer port next to it. We went the semi cheap route which got us electric and water, no need for cable. Our little Eco trailer is nice especially in the hot summer days and the cold fall nights but we didn't buy it because we're too old for tent camping the real reason we bought it was so the dogs would have some where to stay while we ride all day and not get into trouble. A tent is a bad idea in the middle of July for 2 large dogs in more ways than one. Two nice things about the campground were the pool and it's short drive to the trailhead. Normally most places we ride have campgrounds at the trailhead but Raccoon Mountain is on TVA property so there is no camping. I really didn't hear too many complaints from Melinda once we got settled in but I think that was because we really only slept there, most of our time was spent at the trails or nearby downtown.
Raccoon Mountain trails were awesome, we had a blast riding and even though there weren't really any new updated maps available we didn't get lost. A majority of the trail system was a big loop that circled the lake with good signs at the intersections. There was even a Freeride course separate from the rest of the trails that was clearly marked and gated so those of us with only 80mm of travel and open faced helmets did not take any wrong turns. The trails were fast flowing and well maintained. We rode just a little over 17 miles and my legs still felt a little bit sluggish Monday on my run.
This trip we had sunny skies the whole ride, well there was one really small storm the blew over us right as we entered one of the large fields that contained all of the equipment the converts the power of the water flow into electricity, I don't know the correct name for it but it was kinda spooky riding past all that electricity with a T- storm over head.
Probably one of the coolest trails out there was the Mega-watt which was labeled a black diamond. It contained the slate rock trail that traverses the side of the dam I'm sure everyone has seen but it was a bit shorter than expected and I'm sorry to say I didn't snap a picture of it. There were several sections of slick rock which I was surprised to see, similar to the trails at Dupont. Almost every trail had some sort of cool rock obstacle to ride. A definete return trip will be in the works for next year. Day trip or camping? not sure.

Yesterday I ventured out to my local trails for a ride on the magical Karate Monkey. Every time I swing my leg over that shiny black steed a smile comes over my face. Something about the way that steel frame feels just couldn't be better. I mixed it up a bit skipping around through the different trails in no particular order, something a little different than the usual routine of a clockwise lap. I was skipping a trail here and there coming back around doing different sections on each lap. My second lap I decided to hit Rock City, a trail I tend to skip when I'm by myself but in effort to keep an old trail fresh I decided to go for it. I felt good and cleaned every sections only having a bit of trouble when I accidentally took a reroute that some wuss rider made thinking it would be easier to ride around the rock garden than through them. I quickly realized my error and made a mental note not to do that again. I rode around Whitetail loop and decided to head back down for another sweep of Rock City, this time to ride the trail correctly. As I picked my way through the gardens I think I started feeling a little over confident and stopped paying close attention to my line. I was making a hard left turn up a switchback when a rock suddenly jumped out and grabbed my front tire. I was immediately thrown onto a larger rock unable to unclip from my pedals. My forearm and knee took the brunt of the impact but other than a few cuts and bruises I think will be fine. The worst part of it was 2 fingers one on each hand got jammed up in the crevices of the rock in my attempt to catch myself and at first I swear I thought I broke one. After I picked myself up and did a body check I came to the conclusion that there was nothing broken, well except my ego. The Monkey survived as well with the exception of a small scratch on the headtube but as usual it will be another story for the grandkids. After I shook it off I hopped back on and made an attempt to ride on but my knee said otherwise, it wasn't quite ready to push the singlespeed drivetrain up the hill. I decided to walk it out to the clearing for some level ground and loosen everything back up. After a short spin I felt better and finished out the remaining trails and called it a good day.

This morning I woke up feeling a little stiff and a little more sore with my thumb swollen up like a fat kid. I hope I can still make it to short track tonight, I had planned on going down early to practice cleaning the jump but I don't know if I'll be able to grip the handlebars enough. Maybe with enough ice and ibuprofen I'll lose the fat kid thumb.


Anonymous said...

That "electrical field" is called "The Switchyard" and my favorite trail is near there, and used to be called the "Small Intestine", cuz if you look at the map....well that's what it looks like.

Riding with dogs said...

Yes I remember the Small Intestine, really fun trail. Can't wait to go back!