Saturday, March 15, 2008

I'm Back.........Revisited

So, I'm back on the blogging scene. I now have Internet at my house in Greenwood. Well, as the picture shows, I have done my 3rd annual prescibed burn ride. I got off work on Thursday and got my gear together, loaded up the Mercian, and headed to the trails where the forestry commission has done their burn. It always makes for a very interesting ride. On the way I was talking to my girlfriend(yes, I have one of those) about plans later. We work things out for later in the evening and I let her go before I drop the call as signal is spotty on the forestry roads. I roll up to 505/506 and see the A team guys are gathering for their ride. I would usually ride with them, but I have the Mercian and I tend to be a little slower on that bike, a custom fixed gear cyclocross/touring bike with 35mm tires. I chat for a second and Jeff,"Pepe" Ronan makes a derogatory comment about my sanity. I drive on tho the rock to start my ride. I flip the rear wheel around to give me my off-road gearing and take a quick pic before I head out.
The trail is in good shape even though we had gotten some rain. There are a few wet spot in low areas. I pas the plowshare sign ad shortly after I come across a tree in the trail and it's still on fire, another photo op. I continue to ride to the T and enjoy the surreal scenery around me. I decide to take a left to Fell and head out. I hear riders in front of me and overtake Jim, John, and some young rider they have taken under their wing. Jim makes a comment about my bike and John ask if I'm riding fixed or free,"Fixed!", I reply as I break a decent trackstand and ride off into the woods. After the crossing there is no scorched earth as the Forestry department left this section of forest untouched. I soon feel that my stem could stand to be a little higher than what it is, but I don't really want to monkey with it on the trail. I was also having trouble with my cleat on my left shoe, one of the screws had stripped the threading on the plate in the sole. I had to stop and re tighten a few times. I make it to the clay roller coaster section, the place where I heard the coyote howl near me one night months ago. It was still light and I skip skidded my way down. Not long after I was crossing memorial bridge an debating whether or not I should continue. After a brief internal struggle, I pressed on. Shortly after negotiating the tight turns where the shrew discussion of a few seasons ago took place I nearly run into the A-team guys. I manage to pull over to the side and stay clipped in as the pass. Tom was shouting things at my about riding my "girly-man" fixed gear in a Hans and Frans type voice. As quickly as the appeared the where gone. I make it to the next road crossing and determine that I will turn around in five minutes. That thought turns into, until I reach the creek. Once I reach the creek I decide to ride all the way to Fell and have to stop to re-tighten my cleat. I make it to Fell and rest for a moment then turn around. I'm running out of light and begin to worry about that one spot where there is a nice deep muddy patch. It's just big enough to snag your front wheel an though you over the handlebars. I make it to the road crossing an turn on my lights, now very thankful that I brought them. They tip back was a bit of a blur, a somewhat typical night ride, just on a fixed gear. I managed to remember that tricky spot at the last moment an was able to negotiate it without it getting ugly. I reach the last section and in the darkness one can see the hotspots and small fires still burning a week after they were set. The smoke was thick and choking, the air cooling after sunset keeps the smoke close to the ground. I roll up to my car and am startled by a woman sitting on the tailgate of a truck. She is waiting for her young son to return from riding with a group from one of the local cycle shops. We chat for a while about crazy and reckless things we do when we are young and how later in life we thing of the what ifs. What if I die or get hurt doing this? Who will take care of my family? Yes, as one grows up and has to be responsible for another person, priorities change. As we chat her son and the other guys show up. She has brought plenty of food for all and offers me some. I decline as I have a certain red-head waiting on me.