Monday, June 16, 2008

Kingdom Trails

As previously mentioned, I really think I need to take a break from training. My frail body cannot handle any more 10 hour weeks on a diet of pure coffee.

The thing that sucks is that after 60 miles, 9000 feet and 8 hours of Vermont singletrack this weekend, I really want to ride more! Maybe a nice drizzly commute with cure me of that desire.

Saturday Linnea and I rode with Rich Blair and Mike and Sara Zocchi for four hours at a smokin' pace. As the guy with the most Kingdom experience, I was leading or near the front calling turns (of which there are many) for the whole ride, and every time I looked back there would be four people right on my wheel. It was a great group, I don't think we had to do a single regrouping stop for the whole ride. Of course the downside to that was that I had to actual exert myself for four hours straight, which is hard.

We ended the ride by going to check out a trail called "Moose Alley" that I had never ridden. It looked wicked fun, several miles of winding singletrack, and I kind of neglected to inspect the contours it crossed.

So that turned out to be a 700 foot climb. At some places that would be a super-gross ride straight up a hill, but the Kingdom pulled through (as always) with an endless and surprisingly fun switchbacking, singletrack climb. We hit the top and the vote was unanimous, turn around and go straight back down.

Day 1: Singletracky!

It poured rain for a couple hours overnight, so Rich and Mike ran for home Sunday morning with the intent of doing a road ride instead. (WTF?!) Linnea and I had invested way too much to bail due to mud, so we went back out of another wicked four hours with Sara. After 2 hours of slick roots and greasy mud (not actually a bad thing...) Sara convinced us to get all Hill Junkie on things and ride up the Burke Mtn. Toll Rd.
Can you find the riders in this picture?

It was super foggy up there so no one was driving around, heck, the road might have been closed for all I could tell. In any case it was a solid 40 minute climb up to 3300 feet, a lot of work even with mountain bike gearing.
A Lincoln Gap-ish pitch
The descent gave me a new appreciation for car brakes, which somehow stop a 2-ton vehicle without bursting into flame. Linnea's front disc brake was set up slightly off-center, which meant one pad was applying more pressure than the other. After 500 feet of 10%+ downhill, one side of her rotor was overheating and visibly warping as it expanded more than the other side. We stopped to try to fix it and I promptly seared a rotor-print into my glove taking off her wheel, that thing was hot. She tried to back out the pads with a torx wrench to balance it out and promptly stripped the heat-softened bolt.
The required riding self shot

She was able to coax her bike the rest of the way down by stopping periodically, but that BB5 caliper is definitely dead. My bike held up a bit better, although it smelled like a barbecue when I stopped.
Proof that we summitted -- the view from the fire tower

Kingdom Trails is one of the few places I have no problem driving 3 hours to just for a ride. Heck, I'd make it a day trip. If you've never been there, start planning a weekend there right now, you won't regret it.


Day 2: Climby!

9 comments:

Cathy 6/16/2008 11:49 AM  

You SO should have ridden Moose Alley... And try coming down the Toll Rd on a tandem with canti brakes...

Colin R 6/16/2008 11:51 AM  

We did ride Moose Alley... up and then down. It rocked.

Hill Junkie 6/16/2008 12:41 PM  

I'm very envious. I contemplated bagging my road race on Sunday so I could hit the Kingdom Trails this past weekend. So did you hit all of the trails with "Moose" in the name? Upper Dead Moose Alley has some pretty techy stuff in it. I would have to say working my way down the Moose trails is my favorite part of Kingdom riding. Toby's and Tap-and-Die on the Darling Hill side is also sweet.

I need to sign up for the Burke Mtn Hillclimb this fall. Sign-up comes with a complementary Kingdom Trails season pass.

Colin R 6/16/2008 1:06 PM  

We didn't make it to upper DMA on Sunday, we had ridden up Camptown (on the other side of the toll road from upper DMA) and we went back down that because we knew it would be good. Some of the trails were pretty muddy and we were trying not to rip things up too much.

We did go down Moose Alley twice, once each day, and that was totally awesome.

Tap 'n Die, Sidewinder, Old Web's.... tons of other good stuff, too many trail names to drop them all :)

One more thing -- Kirby Connector, surprisingly good.

Cathy 6/16/2008 2:47 PM  

We did ride Moose Alley... up and then down. It rocked.

You are hard core - we usually ride up the toll road, and then down the Moose trails... I don't think I've ever ridden those in the upward direction...

gewilli 6/16/2008 3:00 PM  

so you gonna lick those brakes???

those brakes NEVER get that hot...

*chuckle*

Colin R 6/16/2008 3:39 PM  

G: I'll still bet you $20 I can lick a disc rotor after panic stopping from 25 mph without burning my tongue.

Cary 6/18/2008 9:05 AM  

So you claim to be taking a break but you're signed up to race Putney...hmm. Guess we haven't had any drizzly mornings.

Colin R 6/18/2008 9:03 PM  

hey man, i am only riding once or twice in 6 days this week. that counts as a break!

if i feel flat at putney, i promise, i'll stop riding for a bit.

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