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  1. #1
    Account Retired
    Reputation: LakeRaven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Kettlepalooza Preview

    Last Sunday was Mothers Day and promised to be a sunny blue bird day. A buddy of mine from <st1 ="">:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Rockford</st1:city></st1>:place> was plotting a group ride to do the full monty at kettle with his crew. I should clarify that the’full monty’ does not refer to riding naked. The full monty is the route up at kettle that takes in the Blue Loop at Muir….the Connector (both ways) and the Green Loop at Emma Carlin. I decided to tag along and drag my fat carcass out on my first full monty ride since late last fall. I figured this would be a good preview of how I would survive on the kettlepalooza full monty later this month. I pulled out all the stops and fueled up like I was getting ready for the iditi-ride......well an iditi-bike in 80 degree tempertures. Powerbars, extra water, 2.4 Moto up front and a brand spank'n new 2.35 z-max in the rear on the <st1:city w:st="on"><st1 ="">:place w:st="on">chester</st1>:place></st1:city> aired up to 38 lbs apiece. We met at the Muir trailhead and five of us headed out onto the slightly rain moistened kettle blue loop. I felt like I might just survive as I wound my way around the squirrel loop coulees and morraine kettles that the area takes its name from. I got to the bench where the squirrel (blue) loop returns to the green/orange loop and started grazing on my powerfood. The rest of the group minus one caught up and we made our way through the rollercoaster section to broken pelvis and then on through the sandy pine to the connector trail junction. It was here that we sent GBAlien back via the Blue loop and three of us committed to the full monty by heading towards the Emma Carlin Trails via the connector. The connector trail is the real old school trail bed that preceeded the erosion mat and crushed stone treatments that taint both the Muir and Emma Carlin loops. Sand, roots, and plenty of baby heads make the connector the best of what kettle has to offer mountain bikers.......and they just made it better! The local WORBA Chapter has been building new mileage that will eventually make the connector into a unidirectional loop between Muir and Emma Carlin. The section that is just outside of the Emma Loops is finished and they are working on more as I write this. The section that is finished is still pretty fresh and needs to be seasoned a bit, but the rock work is exceptional. New trail is always a bonus and we wound our way through these new sections openly expressing our delight. We got to the overlook at the top of the Emma loops and grazed some more. GoFast wondered if we would be able to refill our water at the Emma Trailhead as we started our green loop. The <st1 ="">:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Emma</st1:placename> <st1:placename w:st="on">Trail</st1:placename></st1>:place> always elicits a tightening of the sphincter for me. Emma Carlin must have been a hard woman. About 5 of the straight fall line ski trail climbs remain with their momemtum stealing waterbars. There are several singletrack bypasses that were built last spring that liberated us from 3 or 4 additional fall line climbs and the trail tread on those bypasses have had a year of steady traffic to season them into fun with a capitol 'F'. Whenever I ride Emma, it brings back old memories from riding back in the late 80's when there were big rock gardens to negotiate on rigid bikes. Of course the water at the Emma Trailhead was not turned on yet, so we sucked it up and banged out the long climb back up to the bench where we previously grazed. So we check our water reserves and embark on our last seven miles with GoFast and I feeling pretty good riding singlespeeds and bykpedlr felling the bonk on his heckler. GoFast and I made it back to the lot at Muir to find GB Alien and the Lynner basking in the generous sunshine. We cleaned up and waited for bykpedlr to return. Just about the time we were gonna go looking for him he rolled in with a story about a flat tire on the last mile of the blue loop. So the two singlespeeds made the monty without any mechanicals and out of the 3 gearies… only one made the full monty and suffered a flat. All that aside……we all had a great day and we all wore big smiles.

    For Kettlepalooza …there should be water available at the Emma Carlin parking lot. I recommend big fat tires to float the sandy sections and one gear, 2:1 ration should serve you well.

    <o ="">:p> </o>:p>

  2. #2
    Hit The Road Cyclery
    Reputation: -Anomie-'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Damn, you're making me homesick . I don't care what anyone says, Kettle is one of the best trail systems in the country. It rivals anything I've ridden in California, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, you name it. I'd LOVE to meet up with you guys for Kettlepalooza, but my trip home to Chicago doesn't start until June 1st and I only have room for one bike (my track bike, a single speed of a different color ).

  3. #3
    CEO Product Failure
    Reputation: bingemtbr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Good job!

    Sounds like a great ride! I've ridden Kettle once -last spring/summer to be exact- and thought it would be an excellent SS ride. The trails just lend themselves to single speeding. At the time, I rode my geared trail bike (dualie) which was a big mistake. Other than the swarm of black fly mosquitos, I found the 1ft to 2ft deep pothole-like-mud-holes preceeding the turns in any fast section to be quite a bother. Seems like some of the hammerhead-newbies like to lock the rear brakes up. I'd be interested to hear if the trail is still in disrepair.

    Thanks for the great ride report!

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