September 29th ride report

As soon as the BBC Century was over, I put the knobbies back on my cyclocross bike and have been having a ton of fun on some shorter all-conditions rides.  I typically ride 2 to 3 mornings per week before work, usually around 12 to 15 miles each ride….basically heading out at 6am while it is still dark and doing some laps around my neighborhood and the adjacent neighborhoods (Village at Highland Lakes and Belvedere) until the sun is up enough for me to safely get to Greystone Farms and/or Stonegate Farms.  Both Greystone Farms and Stonegate farms offer some trail riding opportunities to mix in with the pavement.

Needing some more trail riding time on the CX bike, I set out Sunday for a short ride on top of Double Oak Mountain on the EBSCO property.  This ride always begins with the Cat 4 ascent of Double Oak Way, which can be turned into a Cat 3 if taken all the way to the radio tower on top of the mountain.  I knew my Strava time was not going to be a PR, so I turned off of Double Oak Way before the radio tower, electing instead to get on trail a little sooner.  The first section of trail is made up of some loose, large gravel.  Not the buttery smooth dime-sized gravel or crushed limestone that can be found on most roads, but rather quarter-sized (and bigger) chunks of rock that just really suck to ride on.  It’s not much fun on my 29er mountain bike with 2.2″ tires, and certainly not great on a CX bike with 700×33 thin knobbies.  But luckily it only lasts for a half-mile or so before smoothing out.

Once past the gravel, I was pleasantly surprised to notice that EBSCO has had a crew up there spreading new dirt and leveling out the old dirt on the two doubletrack trails that lead to the power line crossings.  This provided almost perfect terrain for a CX bike to easily climb and descend along the ridgeline.  Actually, a good rain a day or so earlier would have been even better since it might have hardened up the sand, but still it was rather nice.  While not being able to hit the corners as fast as I would on my 29er, it was still a blast to ride up there on something other than a mountain bike.

Hitting the power line crossing on the southern ridge, my plan was to backtrack to where the ridgeline split at the end of the first section of gravel trail, and then take the split to the northern ridge power line crossing.  However, once there I started the long/steep initial climb only to find that the freshly-laid sand was just a little too loose and was causing me to spin out.  Rather than walk it up, I just turned around and started heading home.  In hindsight I probably should have walked through the sandy climb so that I could continue some good riding on the other side of the climb, but that would have also meant walking through the sandy sections on what would be a steep descent on the way back.

After turning around, I took a different trail up to the radio tower, blasted the rollercoaster Strava segment, and worked my way home via Double Oak Way and Hwy 41.  All in all not a long ride by any measure, but a good one.  Strava link can be found here.

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