EBSCO trails ride report – March 9th 2013

On Saturday I was able to do what has lately become the unthinkable: get on my mountain bike for the second straight day.  I was not feeling too great, and definitely beginning to come down with the crud, plus I had to leave for a fundraiser by 5:30.  But the stars aligned and I was able to almost spontaneously get on my bike at 2:00 when Leslie and our good friend Sarah were talking in the front yard…just the distraction I needed for Leslie to not mind.

I’ve said it numerous times before, but having a system of trails (albeit mostly jeep roads/doubletrack) accessible within half a mile from my house is a true blessing.  I immediately took the hike-a-bike route straight to the top of Double Oak Mountain, then headed east-northeast along the ridge.  From there, I dropped down the backside of the mountain and exited at Highway 43.  I crossed 43 and re-entered EBSCO property at the nearest gate (#1 or #2 I believe).  After a short venture on that side of the property, I hopped on Highway 43 and then re-entered the EBSCO trail system at gate #5.

Gate #5 used to be a fairly regular part of my EBSCO training rides, and is essentially a nonstop uphill jeep road that takes you to the top of the ridgeline.  From this jeep road there are several different spurs you can take that lead in a variety of directions.  And somehow I managed to get myself all kinds of turned around and lost in the woods.  I was having fun, but time was starting to really get away from me.  I had hoped to be home by 3:30 in order to take a shower, get dressed, and have the kids eating by the time our babysitter arrived at 5:15.  But I was finding myself completely without my directional bearings at 3:15.  I had considered calling home to warn Leslie that I would be late, but figured I would give myself a little more time to figure out exactly where I was first.

I finally committed myself to one road in particular, with the thought that at least if I stayed on one road it should either drop me back to Highway 43 (which means I would have to call Leslie to come get me due to the time crunch) or take me up and over the mountain to familiar grounds.  Luckily by around 3:45 I was dumped down a crazy steep downhill and back within sight of the paved Double Oak Way not far from the cell tower.  A quick spin along the paved ridgeline and then back to Mt Laurel….all by 4:00 and with absolutely no complaints from the wife (who was really awesome all weekend by the way).

A few things stuck out about this ride.  1) The climb up from gate #5 really sucks on a singlespeed geared at 32:16.  I have cleared this entire climb before so I didn’t think it would be an issue…until I remembered that I used to always ride it with a 3×9 geared bike.  This day called for lots of walking.  2) While it jarred me pretty good on the rocky trail descents, my fully rigid steel hardtail feels super plush while descending on pavement.  I hit 47.8 miles per hour on the Double Oak Way descent; and felt super stable and confident while doing so.  3) My legs held up better than expected.  With hardly any nutritional fuel in my system (i.e. just a salad for lunch) and only one bottle of watered-down Gatorade mix, I was able to never come close to cramping and felt strong the entire time.  4) I love that I live where I do.  This sort of ride would not have been possible had I lived most anywhere else in town.

typical jeep road

typical jeep road

creek crossing

creek crossing

all smiles...at least before gate #5

all smiles…at least before gate #5

Lucky for me I am one of the few permit holders.

Lucky for me I am one of the few permit holders.

view across a small forest valley

view across a small forest valley

yep, it got steep

yep, it got steep

and then steeper

and then steeper

ride map 03-09-13 1

my leg injury from early january has healed nicely

my leg injury from early january has healed nicely

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4 Responses to “EBSCO trails ride report – March 9th 2013”

  1. how did you get a permit for this area? Ive always seen the mountain from 280, thought about how great the view would be, so I went on google maps, did a little searching and then I learn its private. looks awesome though!

    • I guess I just knew the right people to ask for a permit. I live in Mt Laurel and also do some contract work with the landowner (EBSCO), so I was able to be one of the lucky few to get to use the land (I think there are around 5 of us that have permits to ride bikes up there, though really only two of us take advantage of it).
      The views are definitely great, and there is a ton of unexplored land up there. There are a few, but not many, singletrack trails. Most is old jeep roads and some overgrown doubletrack.

  2. William Lockridge Says:

    I’d be interested in riding this with you some time.

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