Monday, March 10, 2008

Route Finding

Early Saturday morning I awoke to darkness and the sound of wind and rain howling all around the house, I promptly fell back asleep and figured trail riding was out of the question for now.

Some people and animals have an innate sense of direction and can navigate routes through the harshest of environments without giving it a second thought. However, first a mental map of any given region must be formed in the brain so navigation is possible.

The second time I awoke, there was a faint glow of light coming through the bedroom window, the rain had stopped but the cabin still creaked from the wind. I was worried the trails at Issaqueena would be too wet to ride so I suited up and hit the SRT to Furman, Paris and back. I thought I would have some roadie carrots to chase up the mountain but didn’t see a soul all the way up the backside of Altamont. When I reached the King of the Mountain spot I was still on the sheltered side of the mountain and the wind coming over the top had the energy of a 400 car freight train with no brakes. I had to take a look so I rode the SCDOT access road to the very top of the mountain and was astonished. Just as I crested the top of the mountain, downtown Greenville was haloed in a circle of sunlight while the rest of the region was clouded over with fast moving clouds.

As I turned to head back the way I had came, two riders came rolling up. Being proper, I commented on the weather and one guy said “nice bike.” Then when I rolled back to the KOM spot, the shop roadies were lurking. I revealed in the sweet bliss of beating all the roadies to the top of the mountain as I freewheeled my way back to the bottom.

Kristin and I headed out to watch the downhill race at Clemson, but since I forgot my phone and any sort of directions to the venue, I was at a loss. I have definitely not formed a proper mental map of Issaqueena. Darwinian Theory could have bested me on this day.

In terms of making the best of the situation, Kristin got to ride her bike and Buddy got to run so we were a happy family. Kristin impresses me rolling her five speed Favorit Rapido down gravel/dirt roads without a second thought. Some day we will have to get her a proper dirt bike so she can enjoy fat tire bliss.

Sunday called for me to meet up with Royalty. I had agreed to give my thoughts on what might be a good loop at Dupont for PAS’ Save The Trails ride challenge. I was limited slightly due to logistic problems but in the end I think this route incorporates the best riding Dupont has to offer.


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