I’m hot natured and suffer like crazy in the summer when temperature routinely top out over 100F locally.  So this is my favorite time of year to ride, when the mornings are cold and the afternoons cool.  Today’s ride is the perfect example of the perfect early winter ride.

The goal was to ride some of the CSRA’s old school trails – ones built by hand back before I was born.  These trails offer a totally different experience than more modern machine cut flow trails.  You have to work harder, and you don’t go as fast.  There’s trees down you either hop or dismount and climb over, and the occasional washed away bridge means you have to get off the bike and scramble down into a ditch and climb out the other side.  They don’t get nearly as much traffic as the easier/faster trails, and this time of year that means the leaves will be thick – hiding roots, rocks, holes, and sometimes the whole trail itself.  The reward for the effort to ride them, however, is an adventure that feels way more remote than riding the most popular trails in town.  Especially on a ride like today where we linked up three of these trails using paved and dirt/gravel roads.  You are almost certain not to run into another group of riders, and you get a pretty far from the car.

We met up at 9am, about 9 of us, and it was cold – about 26F.  Five hours later, when we rolled back into the parking lot, the temperature was up to 60F.  What a day!  42 miles, a few spills, some laughs, and finished on an empty tank.  Great day in the saddle.

Tis the season for bigger knobs on the tires.
Tis the season for bigger knobs on the tires.
The turkeys have torn the trail up in places looking for insects.
The turkeys have torn the trail up in places looking for insects.
Bluebird skies, crisp air, and perfect bench cut singletrack.  What more can you ask for?
Bluebird skies, crisp air, and perfect bench cut singletrack. What more can you ask for?
Good times, good times indeed.
Good times, good times indeed.