Been off work all this week on the usual 7 days off, coming off a big weekend like our trip to Douthat always seems to find me a little down in the dumps. Too much fun & great riding with friends that flew by. Top it off with the fact that we had an amazing summer with multiple trips in the ECO and many and I mean many cool day trips all over western NC and TN. I just realized that summer is officially over and the cooler weather is going to be creeping in at any moment. With Alan back in school and working some what part time I've found myself riding alone again all this week. Earlier this year we were traveling around hitting new trails every other week that other kids were only talking about. Now I'm back to the same old same old, trying to make the trails in my back yard interesting again.
I was actually able to pull this off yesterday with a trip up to Bays Mtn with the Karate Monkey. A flat tire from last weekend finally got me motivated to swap out the aging WTB tire I've been running on the rear wheel since the KM's birth into this world. I replaced it with a Maxxis Ignitor to match the one I have up front, a set of tires I bought off Alan months ago when Maxxis dropped him and he decided they were no longer the best tires out there. I haven't seen him wear that fancy black & orange kit since. What was Maxxis thinking dropping such an out spoken rider as Alan, they're probably still trying to figure out why their sales in East TN have dropped significantly.
Oh yeah back to Bays Mtn., I decided to take the Karate Monkey with me because my legs were a little sore from the previous two days of riding and I figured what a better way to ease the soreness with some serious climbing on my singlespeed. The cool thing about Bay's Mtn is your gonna work hard no matter which route you take. There aren't any slacker days when riding at Bays, you either take the hard route or the really hard route. I took the one in between because I needed some good hard riding but also some fun to lift my spirits. I headed up the Azalea Trail, quite possibly one of the best trails out there if your looking to create a creek bed anytime it rains. Once I arrived at the top I pointed the Monkey left and headed toward the firetower. Once I reached the firetower, (yes I walked the last stretch) I made my way to Indian Pipes in search of the Rake-n-Ride trail a friend of mine created as a trial run for trail building at Bays. Basically the idea was to rake the corridor, ride it and see what happens. The last time I rode Indian Pipes I looked for the R&R trail thinking it was near the bottom but never found it. This time through I was determined to find it and find it I did right near the top less than a half mile in. At first I wasn't sure I had the right trail since it wasn't marked so I made a quick call and confirmed my suspicions. I admit I was a bit skeptical about the idea of a Rake-n-Ride trail thinking that it wouldn't work but once I rode it I was pleasantly surprised. I wish the trail started more near the bottom of Indian Pipes because I passed up a really fun downhill section but riding a new trail is what I came to do.
The R&R dropped me out at the bottom of the Fire Tower road, another Bays Mtn jewel. The Fire Tower road has got to be one of the most dangerous gravel roads I have ever been on. Steep downhill, loose gravel, rutted out as hell and it gets worse every year. I am amazed that the local race continues to use this section as part of the course every year, it's a lawsuit waiting to happen.
I finished off the ride with Bays Mtn's best trail, the Chiquapin Trail built by our local club NTMBA. Everytime I ride this trail a smile crosses my face. There was so much controversy brewing on the forum about how poorly this trail was and how we didn't know what we were doing when building it. Everytime I ride it, it seems to be right after a big rain and that trail drains water better than half the trails we have in the Tri-Cities. Score one for the kids who supposedly don't know a trail tool from a garden hose.
I had better cut this short and get the dogs out for a trail run while the skies are clear, we both need it and Mother Nature is supposed to dump on us soon.