Monday, November 23, 2009

What a Difference the Dirt Makes

I was looking to hit the trail yesterday and was scheduled for a 3.5 hour ride. I knew I didn't want to spend 3.5 hours at Burchfield, so I reviewed my options. I could make a second try at Poto, but riding Poto by myself after the trouble I had the last time didn't seem like a good idea. I thought about going to Yankee, but that meant doing at least two laps and I really doubted I could make myself ride two laps at Yankee.

Then I remembered the trail I was talking about just a week earlier—Luton Park. I had yet to ride there, and I thought the lure of a previously unexplored trail might just be enough to coax my husband out the door. When I asked him, he agreed right away.

Unfortunately, we got a later start than we wanted to, and ended up in Rockford at about 1 p.m. The trail is in a county park, but if you weren't looking for it, you could easily miss it. The only sign is of the "no motorized vehicles" variety, and there's no parking lot. We drove by and luckily, Chris caught the sign. We then turned around and went to park in the supermarket parking lot, since the park itself has no lot and due to an agreement with the county, riders are prohibited (discouraged) from parking on the side of the road.

In the parking lot, we encountered Mr. Kisscross, Rick Plite and his wife, Cathy. After chatting with them for a few minutes and getting some advice on how to navigate the trail, we took off down the road for a mile before turning on to the dirt.

The trail was longer than I expected, and contained a lot of varied terrain. There were a few muddy spots and one or two sandy sections, but most of the trail was in good shape. There were wooded areas and lots of that piney goodness I love so much, with some log piles and rock piles mixed in. Oddly enough, there were also sections of trail stretching alongside cornfields. I don't know why this struck me as so strange. I guess it was just because I've never ridden my bike next to a cornfield before (except on the road, of course).

Out on the trail, we caught up with Rick again, marking out some reroutes. We stopped for a minute to catch our breath and so Chris could offer his two cents. We headed back soon after. I hadn't ridden anywhere close to 3.5 hours, but we had a good ride and were tired.

I ended up with about 1 hour and 45 minutes, only slightly longer than my ride on Saturday. However, getting outside on another beautiful day, trying out a new trail and experiencing a rare ride with my husband far outweighed my disappointment in my stamina. What was amazing to me was how much more worn out I was after my ride on Sunday than I was on Saturday. What a difference it makes riding on dirt.


Laurie said...

I love riding though the pines, too. :)

Brad said...

I rode Luton this spring during the Midwest MTB Summit. Great trail. Mr. Plite and crew did a phenominal job out there.

I echo the feeling of riding through the pines :)