Well I finally did a bona fide MTB ride after all this rain. It's been waaay too long. I'm determined to make this year a singlespeed adventure so I'm going to try to do almost all of my riding on the 1x1, or die trying. I figure I'll either be an MTB god or a sniveling heap of flesh left somewhere on the side of the trail.

I went out and did some reconnaissance in Cheseboro Cyn yesterday. Right from the get-go, I knew things were going to be pretty bad. During the drive in on Cheseboro Rd, the gully to the left is now a nice sized 6-8 foot wide river. I really got nervous when I reached the lower parking lot. It was covered in dried mud. Hoo-boy, was I in for it.

I pulled the bike off the rack and threw on my camelback. Rummaged around in the back of the Tahoe and AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! I forgot my shoes. On any other day I would have just rode in my tennis. But today I would be on my hardtail singlespeed grinding up hills on nothing but a small 959 pedal. Loaded back up, sped home, grabbed the shoes, raced back, and I was back in business. I didn't realize it at the time, but the 30 minutes I lost wouldn't mean a whole lot once I got on the trail.

I did some quick spinning up to the trailhead to get in a decent warmup before the suffer-fest would begin. I opted not to do the two tight 180 degree s-turns through the wooden gates since I hadn't done any nose-pivots in awhile, and there were too many hikers around to witness my expected crash to mother earth.

I pedaled an easy cadence past the outhouses, up the road for a couple hundred yards to the first descent. Holy crap! It looked like the Gendarmerie royale du Canada (Canadian Mounties for us US folks) had just marched through on parade. The trail is destroyed. The equestrians must have ridden everyday since the rain started. Huge potholes the size of Clydesdale hooves covered every square inch of the now dry fireroad.

Luckily there was a small ribbon of singletrack through the pock-marked path trodden down by hikers and bikers. It wasn't very smooth, but at least it was passable. I powered along with my one geared wonder. It was a wonder that I could keep any forward momentum. If that wasn't enough, the fact I was on a hardtail made it necessary for me to stand virtually the whole ride.

I didn't even take the left fork in the road for Sulfur Springs. I knew there would be a ton of hike-a-bike until some trail maintenance could be done. I steered my steel steed up Cheseboro fireroad to the top of Pumphill. I turned right up Cheseboro Ridge and continued my assault on the horse trodden trail. About 50 yds up, my lungs finally said no mas. I stumbled off the bike and rested my forehead on my saddle while gasping for air.

After a few moments I clipped back in and charged to the top of the hill. It eventually leveled off enough for me to stay seated while climbing. As the grade increased, the constant barrage of equine erosion finally got the best of me. I had to dismount again. This time I kept moving, though, pushing my bike at an even pace. After I caught my breath, I finished off the climb with lots of grunting, lurching and lunging.

On the way out of the park I opted to try the 180 degree s-turns. As I approached the gate, I saw that a small rut that crosses in front of it was now a nice deep crevace. With plenty of onlookers, I wasn't about to dismount or turn around. I gently lifted both wheels over the gorge, pulled a nice nose pivot to line up for the entry, slipped into the wooden pathway, pulled another nose pivot followed by a rear wheel pivot to line up the exit, carefully pedaled through and then started breathing again. WHEW!

As I loaded up the bike my legs and shoulders reminded me how hard the trail was. Yeah, this was one heck of a way to start the season.

All told, I barely got in 45 minutes of riding but my lungs and legs told me it was more like 2 hours. When I got home I went straight to the jacuzzi. AAH- now that's a hell of a way to start the season.