Or maybe it was poor trail maintenance! We hadn't been to Charles Fork Lake at Spencer WV for some time. So my son and I decided to take a day trip there to ride the trails. We chose to ride up the Fire Road and go around the west side of the lake and come back the east side on Charlies Challenge, shoot across Trevors Trail and link back up with Charlies Challenge.

At first it appeared the trails had been maintained since the Tour de Lake in May, because someone had cut the weeds and brush along the trail. However in less than a mile I realized the thorns and briers that had been cut where just left laying in the trail. Just after the first mile I was already fixing a my first flat. Large thorn in the tire. Got it fixed and back on the trail and then we came across the first large fallen tree. Only way through was to drag the bikes under. Didn't think much of that, anyway, just getting into a fun section and had to stop and carry the bikes over another complete treetop, short distance and another, then another. This was gettting little old. My son and I have no problem with log crossings, and fairly large logs, but these were unridable blockages. Then came another section of those monster, cut, thorn bushes in the trail. Sure enough, second flat shortly after. And now I'll mention all the spider webs. I don't mean one here one there. I literally had to stop every few minutes to peal off all the spider webs and brush off a dozen or so spiders. I have ridden all year, two to three times a week, in at least six different counties and have never ran into as many spider webs as I did today in the first two miles of these trails and it continued all the way. My son would laugh so hard I thought he would choke when I had to make an immediate stop to brush one of those big nasty black and yellow suckers off my face.

By the time we had reached the end of Lake Trail and crossed over to pick up Charlies Challenge we had both lost count of all the portages, most of which the trees appeared to have been there for some time. Now maybe I understand why we saw no other riders or fresh sign of riders. We took Tevor's Trail off CC, and where starting to have to fun when sure enough, more trees down, etc., etc.

Several great sections of these trails were blocked. About half way around the east side, we had linked back up with Charlies Challenge when I had the third flat of the day. Another big thorn..... Made for nice breaks I guess and my Son got his kicks by taking pictures of each event. Anyway, back on the trail, finally able to stay on the move, no fallen trees for a bit. I must have been having so much fun that I made a wrong turn and got onto Chadway trail and figured that would top off the day. To my surprise we enjoyed Chadway more than I ever had. No trees down and we were able to enjoy that last short stretch before the dam.

In any case, if you are thinking of riding at Charles Fork any time soon, just be prepared to portage your bike more times than I care to remember, pick up a few thorns and brush off more spiders than you ever thought possible. Guess we did have some good laughs along the way, me with the spiders and flats and my Son with his "Yeee haaawawwohhhh not another tree..". We'll probably ride it again, NOT ! ! ! At least not this year. Think I'll wait till right after the Tour de Lake next May. Surely the trail maintenance will be better immediately following the race. Maybe the racers will pick up most those thorns and knock down a few of those big nasty spiders.