ride reports – January 4th and January 12th

Been pretty quiet on this blog since I crashed and injured my shoulder and elbow in November, so here goes a quick rundown of two recent rides.

On January 4th I had planned to get up in the early morning and ride in what I would call very cold weather (30s), but the sleepy monster took control and I decided to sleep in.  However, I was able to duck out later in the day for a quick spin on the mountain bike.  I did one of my usual Ebsco routes, where I head up Double Oak Way to enter the Ebsco property and then head to the northeast towards the power line crossings.

I had passed some hunters on the way up there talking on the side of the road, so I knew I had to be careful to not get shot by accident.  After hitting the ridge split and taking a right, I only rode for a short distance before turning around….basically I know where the deer stands are and don’t need to get too close.  After turning around I encountered one of the hunters, who was on his way out to a stand.  Unlike other such encounters I’ve had up there, this one was very friendly.  He pretty much just wanted to make sure I knew to be safe and to keep an eye out for anyone else up there.  Nevertheless, it was still somewhat cold and I was ready to head for home anyway.

Strava ride data can be found here.  Basically just 11 miles with 1200 feet of climbing.  And some of the slowest segment times I have had in two years…..the layoff due to injuries, coupled with the holidays, just really has taken my fitness down a few notches.

brisk day

brisk day

typical trails

typical trails – this one is a steep muddy climb on the bob hood branch trail

more trail

more trail

still some ice on the trail

still some ice on the trail

gate to top of double oak way - luckily i hold a permit

gate to top of double oak way – luckily i hold a permit

getting ready to turn back into mt laurel

getting ready to turn back into mt laurel

yep.  too cold for me.

yep. too cold for me.

 

The following weekend I was able to force myself out for another ride.  My original plan had been to ride on Saturday, but I opted to ride around the neighborhood with the kids instead.  So, with absolutely beautiful weather on Sunday, I decided to……sit on the couch.  For too long.  I had to really force myself to not be so tired (late night at a wedding reception) and get out and do something.  I had sent separate text messages to Brian, Kyle, Travis, Chad, and David to see if anyone wanted to join me….hoping some company would get me motivated.  After reluctantly getting up and putting on my tight-fitting bib and jersey kit, and noticing that I was now 5-1/2 months pregnant, I realized I made the right decision by opting for exercise in lieu of the couch.

Once again I found myself on familiar territory up on the Ebsco property.  This time I climbed all the way to the radio tower, then took a trail back to the main Bob Hood Branch trail.  Instead of going to the right at the ridge split like I had done the previous weekend, I went left.  But, I only went as far as it took to crest the steep hill (probably need to make it a strava segment) and then turned around.  My goal was to get in around 20 miles today, but not all of it on Ebsco’s trails.

Once turned around and taking a photo break on a section of gravel trail, I noticed someone on the pavement up ahead around 1/4 of a mile.  Then another biker quickly followed.  Figuring it was someone I knew, I hopped back on my bike and booked it to the end of the trail and onto the pavement.  By the time I reached the pavement, they were already well on their way up the second leg of the Double Oak rollercoaster.  Somehow I managed to just about catch up to them by the top of the climb and gave a little “hoot hoot” holler to let them know I was on my way up.  Once at the top I discovered I didn’t know these two folks, but they were a really nice father and son who had ridden their road bikes from Vestavia Hills specifically to take on the Double Oak Way climbs.

I let them go ahead while I chugged some water and then followed them back out towards Hwy 41, eventally catching back up to them at the gate.  After trailing them tightly along Hwy 41 for a few miles, they finally proved too fast for me with my mountain bike and off they went on their long way home.

I continued on past Shoal Creek and into Stonegate Farms, where my plan was to ride some singletrack that I had seen during road rides at the very last cul-de-sac (roughly 3 miles into the neighborhood).  However, once I reached the trail I found out that it has since been closed off with chain link fencing.  I might have hopped the fence or found a way around, but some of the residents were talking in the street just a short distance away keeping an eye on me as I rode towards the trail.  So, with no trail time at Stonegate Farms I simply turned around and rode the remaining +/- 6 miles home.  Strava data can be found here.  22 miles with 1800 feet of climbing.

IMG_3258

sun was already drawing low in the sky by the time i hit the top of the ridge

IMG_3260

looking through the trees towards village and highland lakes (houses in front) and greystone (along the ridge)

radio tower at top of double oak way

radio tower at top of double oak way

typical trail - in this case leading from radio tower to bob hood branch trail

typical trail – in this case leading from radio tower to bob hood branch trail

leads back up to radio tower

leads back up to radio tower

leads down to gate #5 on hwy 43

leads down to gate #5 on hwy 43

recent evidence of horses on the trail

recent evidence of horses on the trail

after losing contact with the two road bikers

after losing contact with the two road bikers

full moon peeking out in the late afternoon above stonegate farms

full moon peeking out in the late afternoon above stonegate farms

stonegate farms

stonegate farms

home in time to ride with lissy

home in time to ride with lissy

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