I managed to talk my way out of the office yesterday afternoon right after lunch. A quick thunderrun home, load the bike in ol’ Blue, and its off to ride. I started out at Brillhart Station with the intent of either going to New Freedom and back or possibly the Maryland line. My legs were still sore from Monday, but I figured I had it in me if I took it steady. I also had to get back home in time to get my son to his first baseball practice of the season. So maybe I could get in 30-35 miles.
The temps were nice, although it did seem as if a stiff breeze would blow up now and then. The trail itself has got a bit rough over the winter from the snow melt, but for the most part was fine. There were stretches where it was soft enough to sense the resistance against even my 35m tires, and there were one or two patches where it was muddy enough to get a rise out of a CX racer. I had the dirt flying out from underneath my fenders and the bike was fishtailing a little, but all for fun.
The scenery on the trail is really different this time of year. Without any foliage, you can see a lot of things that would other wise be hidden. The Howard Tunnel comes up fast and is a good example. Normally the rock outcropping can’t be seen. This was also the only place where I felt I had to get off the bike and walk because that snow pile at the opening leaves only about a 4″ gap between the trail and the railroad track.
I probably saw about half a dozen bikers the whole trip. At this time of day they are usually “older” riders on their comfort bikes out getting some fresh air and exercise. (mmm… sounds familiar) But when I passed this little restaurant that caters to the trail crowd (Serenity Junction in Seven Valleys) I noticed a “pack” of 20-somethings sitting around their mountain bikes.
Here is a shot of the trail a mile or two above Glen Rock. It’s pretty level here and you don’t really notice the uphill grade until you get south of the town and start climbing towards New Freedom.
Normally the trail would be cleaner. I did pass a county crew trimming trees and branches, and I tend to think that they’ll have some sort of rake and roller mechanism to smooth things out come April or May.
I started looking at my watch and estimating my progress around Glen Rock, thinking that I might be cutting it too close if I try to go all the way to the state line, plus I’m starting to feel a little fatigued from doing so many hills on Monday. Probably halfway between Glen Rock and New Freedom I come around a turn and find an old guy on his mixte standing in the middle of the trail, looking at this:
It’s a stretch about a half mile long that is covered by a canopy of pines on both sides. It’s really neat in the summer, but since it get’s so little sun that the ice has not melted yet. Ironically, just to the right of my bike is one of the educational markers showing an old picture of the railroad removing snow from this spot.
So with my decision made for me, I turned around and headed back. At that point, its easy to notice the grade because the ride becomes a few mph quicker. ‘back to the parking lot, load up the bike, and head for home. Here’s a shot of ‘ol Blue, who is most likely living it’s last winter as evidenced by the piles of rust in my driveway:
Total miles: 24.6 Avg. Speed: 12.5 Also got a little bit of a tan!