My hair is getting kinda long.
Sunday, rideBikes contributor Graham made the trek out from Atlanta to get his off road initiation. I set him up on the ‘Goose, and I rode Ye Ol Talera, high rise stem and all. We started things off at Gainesville College Trail. True to my suspicions, he was great on the small GCT climbs, and never went out of the middle ring. This was his first time on an off road bike in a zillion years, and his first time ever on full suspension. On our second loop, he took the one steep downhill (the scene of my legendary crash into the swamp) that I was using as a gauge to see if he could handle Chicopee or not. Since he had no trouble on the section, I decided he was ready for some more challenging terrain and we loaded up the bikes to make the xfer to the other trails. I’d like to note here that some trail babe who rides a Yeti was giving us a terrific view as we loaded up the bikes, since she was doing her post ride clothing change and bent all the way over doing something to her shoes. This resulted in like a 4 minute shot of her butt that we couldn’t ignore. We’ll we could have, but WHY? It was awesome. Thanks for the show Yeti-girl!
We wasted no time getting right into it at Chicopee. Before the first 2 miles were up we got to hit a new section that looks to have just been added as a reroute before the first creek crossing on Outer Loop. There are a bunch of new signs that seem to have renamed all the trails also, but the old signs were also still in place. Graham nailed the first creek crossing, which was another place I had noted as a benchmark for his initiation, and things just got better from there on out. Once we were in the second section, it was typical chutes and ladders…grinding climbs making way to full on bonzo downhill action. I eventually did have to walk a two sections…the gear selection on the Talera not being quite as forgiving as the ‘Goose…but Graham just ate up the climbs. He did pretty good on the fast downhills, and eventually we got to the 2 final tests.
First up…Champain Hill. This is why I love Chicopee…you get everything in this section.Bone jarring roots, screaming descents, quick technical turns, some off camber stuff, and a few places where you had better have yourself in a lower gear BEFORE you get to the climb or you are going to suffer. Graham pulled off the whole section clean, maybe had a few dabs I don’t remember…but he never fell and never chickened out on any of the sections. Good job man!
We decided not to try the second creek crossing. We’ll save that for another time.
Next up was the sick climb up from the creek. By the end of last summer I was not only pulling this section off every time, but I wasn’t even in the full granny while doing it. Not the case today though…I ended up doing the walk of shame after about halfway, and Graham actually stopped at a certain point also. No worries though…we DID do GCT before we een got to Chicopee, so of course we were tired by this point. Once I caught up with Graham on foot, we settled back in for the grind the rest of the way to the top. I have never been so happy to get to the final section.
The last section is always a welcome breather after that hellish climb, and this time around I had nothing left, so I just took it slow and pedaled out. No end of the ride roosting or big finish style antics.
Overall it was a GREAT ride and it was awesome to have someone to ride with for a change. Graham earned his full on mountain biker status as far as I’m concerned. Can’t wait to do some more trail riding and hopefully log sopme new spots this summer.
Stats for the full day:
Time moving: 2hr 5min 49sec
Distance: 14.61 mile
Avg Speed: 6.9 mph (blame me for crawling all day)
Max Speed: 19.1 mph