Friday, October 30, 2015

winding up, we hope

I went back east to see family for a week after our southern Utah sojourn.  I got back Saturday evening and when Sunday morning rolled around, we thought a MTB ride would be good to shake the cross-country travel cobwebs out.  We waited a while for it to warm up a bit in Park City; while the sun never broke through the high clouds, it ended up being a comfortable temperature to ride.  I wore my arm warmers and my long-fingered gloves while H took his arm warmers with him but never put them on.  We warmed up nicely on the climbs and only got slightly chilled when we paused  in the wind at the top of hills.

It's definitely fall here now, despite the slightly warmer than usual temperatures, with most of the leaves off the trees and the wind being stronger than it's been all summer.  It's also definitely fall in that there are very few people out on the trails, either on foot or on two wheels.  Personally, I like riding this time of year: it's cooler and with fewer leaves on the scrub oaks, it's easier to see if anyone is coming at you on the trails.  Trail work has also stepped up a bit, including a re-routing of our regular ride.  The climb that we called "My Nemesis" has been closed for re-vegetation and a new trail has been installed in its place.  It still takes you to the top of the same hill that My Nemesis did but instead of a straight slog up, there are several switchbacks, making the climbing easier but longer.

At the bottom of what used
to be My Nemesis

I was not riding my best for some reason, feeling very wobbly on the rockier spots and whenever I was going very slowly.  I even tipped over into a sagebrush bush on an uphill switchback to the right on the Nouvelle Loop, one that I've ridden dozens of times, simply because I was going just too slowly.  At other times I did pretty well, however, climbing the Sweet Sixteen switchbacks just less than two minutes slower than H, and climbing the Staircase as well as I ever have.  My legs were well-rested, at least, and my lungs weren't suffering from a week at sea level.

Updated Round Valley route map

We are actually hopeful that this will have been the last MTB of the season: it's practically November and in theory the weather will turn too cold and wet and snowy for any more rides.  It's been a good MTB season.  Now it's time to turn to something else.  Fingers crossed!

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