Night Ride at Wakefield Park

November 18, 2004

This is yet another one of those rides where I lure some innocent, unsuspecting mountain bikers into the woods and photograph them in compromising situations. Sounds interesting, right? Well it isn't that interesting. The mountain bikers were not *that* innocent and it took almost no luring on my part to get them to do strange things in front of my camera.

First lets talk about the ride.

I got there early tonight. I really wanted to catch a ride on the new trails in Accotink before the sun went down and it was illegal. No such luck. I got into Accotink and rode the switchback before the sun dipped behind the horizon and I had to rush back to get out before "dark". I rode for another hour or more in Wakefield before the main ride started. I could have ridden a lot more except I didn't have confidence in my lights lasting a lot more. That was a joke. My handlebar light was still going on the low setting 45 minutes after I got home. What an odd light. I got more than 4 hours out of it and it is only supposed to run for 2.5. Agreed I had it on the lowest setting all night and I turned it off at most stops, but it still got better performance than I was expecting. This is the battery that I thought was completely dead. It wouldn't hold a charge at all. It sat and rested for about 18 months. I put it on for a charge just on a whim when my other battery died. It ran for over 3 hours on my desk last night. I let the battery cool, then stuck it on the charger last night and got even more run time tonight. At this rate, I'll have a great light for the whole night time portion of a 24 hour race. ;)

The group was fun tonight. Jason had a hectic day and wanted to keep to himself. He had his IPOD plugged in for most of the ride. I could see him rocking out when we stopped for the others to catch up.

Wayne was recovering from a few hard falls last Tuesday. He's sore, bruised and battered, but rode like a trooper. He said that had he fallen hard once tonight that he would have limped back to the truck and headed home. He did great... even with the slightly sadistic loop that I picked tonight.

Barbara had just returned from a trip to Vegas to study a nuclear test site. I really felt a lot like riding and not so much like talking tonight. I hope she forgives me for not wanting to stop and talk like we normally do. I'll have to hear the plutonium antics another night. It was great having her back in the group though. Too bad the rest of her worshippers were not there tonight. I'm sure she would have been asked to squeeze a tire or two, or at least answer the questions, "Who are those people? Where did they come from?".

Tonight's loop started with a pretty good warmup. Jason and I zoomed through the creek trail and waited a few times for the others. It was nice to spin my legs out and let them fly a little. The new chain tensioner is a little louder, but much more elegant than the old one. Once on the climb, I could tell that it was going to be an interesting night. Though I wasn't very fast at all, my legs were just eating up the climbs. At the top of the race course, we did three different cloverleaf loops... each starting with a downhill and finishing with a pretty steady, but too short, climb. I asked Jason if he thought I was overdoing it on the climbing, he said, "It'll do 'em good to work a little." So blame Jason for the last climb up the race course. ;)

We cut back across the park and towards the bowls. The one creek crossing at the base of the race course is getting really good. Its got a little drop on it that will soon need to be wheelie dropped in order to prevent it from sucking my front wheel into it. The suspension folks have a while before it will do that to them, but another week or two of riding on this and it will be tougher on the rigid SS.

The bowls were great. We did a long twisty loop through and only repeated one section of trails. The large log on the far side of the creek crossings is still there.

There were 22 people on the MORE rides tonight. We met another 16 at one point or another on the trails. That is how you can tell it was a warm night. 38 is a lot for a night ride this time of year.

ON with the photos!!!!

The "new" section of trail bordering the parking lot. You can see the lights from the parking lot around the trail.

Same section of trail but the guys were moving the other direction

My lens is dirty. First trip through the dip.

Dipping the other way

Many thanks to Ricky, JoeP and Jason for doing the riding portions of this photoshoot. I hope to get my time exposures a little better with time. There are some things I'd like to mess with to get them a little cleaner.

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