September 9, 2013
I got up early Sunday to run some errands.
Early to rise, early to bed.
My goal for the day was simple: Chill in my chair.
I had no other plans. Nor designs.
But I made a huge mistake when I finished my errands. I didn’t close the back hatch on my SUV.
As I settled into my chair, my wife walked in with disturbing news.
“You know Ridgely is in the truck,” she said.
Dang that dog.
If we are ready to embark on an adventure, she goes nuts. Like a caffeine addict at a Starbucks Grand Opening.
The only solution is to open the hatch, and let her in. She’ll sit there for hours if she has to. Her message is clear: You ain’t leaving without me!
Only this time, I wasn’t planning to leave. Period.
I tried to ignore her. I really did. I wanted to rest and relax. It’s been a long month.
No such luck. So after cursing her under my breath, I folded my Aerospoke Llama and put it in the back of the truck.
Suffice to say, Ridgely was pleased.
We headed out near Oakridge to ride the Middle Fork Trail.
It has been ages since I rode the Middle Fork Trail. It’s a mountain bike trail, but extremely well groomed.
I’ll tell anyone who listens that you probably wouldn’t want to ride a Llama on a real technical mountain bike trail. On well-groomed trails, well, it’s a blast. Kinda like BMXing with real mountain bike gears.
The last time I rode the Middle Fork was on my regular Llama. The big difference on this ride would be the disc brakes.
I haven’t spent a huge amount of time on disc brakes. And fewer miles off-road with them. The question is what impact they have.
Since I haven’t been mountain biking in a long time, at least not serious, push the limits mountain biking, it took a while to get adjusted.
The disc brakes take a little adjusting, too. They stop you in a hurry.
Once I got the feel for the brakes, they were super.
In and out of water crossings, the brakes were there, ready to respond, the same way they did the first time.
Not hearing a little grinding of sand and dirt mixed with creek water on my rims helped showcase the value of the disc brakes.
Wet or dusty, they stopped me the same. Everytime.
Maybe it’s just me, but on a very steep descent, I felt like I had much more control over the braking.
This particular descent usually turns into a no brake let’s walk, or drag the back tire affair.
Instead, with the discs, it was a sweet, slow, controlled event.
And listen, control and mountain biking aren’t two things that often come together for me. I’m average at best.
As Ridgely took a couple of dips into the Willamette River to cool down and hydrate, I snapped a couple of photos.
It struck me that it has been a really, really long time since we’ve ridden this trail.
And I LOVE this trail.
So I started searching my memory. When was the last time we rode this.
Oh, yeah, the LAST TIME!
It was an early spring ride. Since I wasn’t sure how folks would handle it, I never published the photo of why we turned around.
We came up a hill and, whoa, check it out!
[The photo appears at the bottom for those of you who would prefer not to look.]
A half-eaten Bull Elk was down in the middle of the trail.
Suffice to say we turned around at that point, and headed home.
This time? No Elk. No worries.
We’ll be back. Sooner than later.
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