So, this past week has been really great for me. Tuesday, I took my first real ride on rough terrain with some fairly steep downhill sections. The ride started down a short, steep section of a path leading down a mountain. The downward part of the trail was steep enough that if you stopped your wheels from spinning, gravity would make you slide. You really had no choice but to keep going down. Although I was a little timid on the steeper sections and ended up walking
(and sliding down) some of the downhill parts out of fear, I had a lot of fun.

On Thursday, right after a heavy rainstorm, we took another trail that took you much further down the mountain. The trail was steep and the ground was soaked, and riding it was so much fun that I can't stop thinking about doing it again. Around every turn, you'd encounter new obstacles from mud pits to gardens of rock jutting out of the ground to gardens of rocks jutting out of mud pits and giant puddles of water. The rocks were mostly large enough to smack against your pedals if you didn't position them right (my pedals hit the rocks so hard a few times I was sure I was going to break something), and the steepness of the trail and the way the obstacles jumped out at you meant there was no hope of slowing down or avoidance. You could do nothing but hit the obstacles at full speed and hope for the best, but you'd be past it in a flash and practically on the next set of obstacles before you were even aware you past the previous. All in all, for this newby Clyde, it was more fun and a greater thrill than any roller coaster I've ever ridden on (including those that shoot you from 0 - 100 mph in 2 or 3 seconds). This trail had so much action I can't even begin to count the number of times I was ready to crap my pants, thinking there was no way I'd make it over a rock or through a mud pit without crashing hard. The climb back up afterwards was a major pain, and I ended up walking much of it (the person I rode with had muscle spasms after riding all the way back up). But I guess that's a good thing -- hopefully the ride up will get me in shape.

I think it's safe to say that the Schwinn Rocket Pro (with the Marz All Mountain 1 110-130mm fork and a new headset) is definitely Clyde worthy. The only damage this last ride did was to put a small kink in the chain (probably from all the mud splashing up against it, but I'll have to investigate later, but hopefully a little oil will fix it). Pedal bob is non-existent, making this a great choice for all mountain riding even if you're a Clyde like me (at 6ft 185 pounds, I'm firmly in Clyde territory unlike these 220 pound wannabees ).

Well, that about does it. I think I have a new addiction. I was completely unable to focus on my job on Friday, and I hope that does not become a problem for me. In fact, I wish I were riding down the trail right now instead of typing this.....

Oh, and if you live in Central PA or Western MD, I would highly recommend checking out Buchanan State Forrest. It sits between Chambersburg and Fort Louden (sp?) right off interstate 81, and there is a lot of unexplored potential out there. Let me know if you're interested in going for a ride sometime......