It’s the season to spice up your ride with a bunch of fall color and some crisp fall air. Thursday evening I usually join the Adirondack Women’s Mountain Bike Ride for a cruise around the woods. If you’re a woman and love to ride your bike, come out and join us! Each week is a different location and this week's ride took place on the Hardy Road Trails here in Wilmington.
There’s something about fall riding that offers a different experience on the same trails you have been riding all summer. The air is cooler, the leaves are changing, and its getting darker out sooner!
I usually meet up with everyone at the designated trail head around 6:30 P.M. This week came with a surprise though. We all got to sport some very fashionable tutus for some kicks and giggles. One of the girls showed up with a bunch and we all threw them on over our mountain bike gear. It was pretty funny. I guess you can say we have a little fun and take some pride in riding with each other, as well as encouraging each other to ride with the confidence that we may lack when riding with - or should I say catching up with - the boys.
It was still light out when we hit the trails. With the leaves just starting to change, there were surprisingly already a few fallen onto the single track though there weren't enough yet to blanket the trail. I know sometimes riding in the fall it's a fun challenge just to stay on the trail when you can't see it under all the fallen leaves!
For this ride, the temperature was just about perfect. It’s been a very hot summer so it’s nice to finally have a cool enough evening where we weren't going to sweat to death. The trails weren’t too bad either, nice and tacky, not too dry or slippery.
We ended up taking Make Believe first. This is a slow and steady climb, but if you keep going you’ll join up with Twisted Pine — what goes up, must go down. Twisted Pine is always a fun start to a ride. I'm a sucker for some speed and adrenaline so I like the downhill portions. Twisted Pine winds its way down and around some nice berms.
Later we connected up to Double Time that lead us over to the trail Safe Bet. This gets a little more technical than the trails we started on. There’s a lot more rocks and roots. There's one larger rock that we stopped at to contemplate the best line to ride over it. We call this feature a "roll-over" because even though it looks massive and doesn't appear at first to be an obstacle you can ride without jumping off it, you can actually just roll over it. You just have to make sure you keep your balance and stick to your line. I did this for the first time earlier this previous spring and now it’s quite simple. Now that I know what to expect I can ignore the mind games.
By this point in the evening we had pretty much all turned on our lights. Some of us had head lamps, others had actual bike lights hooked to their helmet or handlebars. I recommend getting the bike light and nixing the head lamp approach. The bike lights are a lot brighter allowing you to see more of the trail where as the head lamp isn’t as stable and doesn't light up the trail well — especially when you consider you're traveling at much higher speeds through the woods than a hiker. I have to say I unfortunately still have a headlamp. It’s definitely a challenge. I’d be riding and the light would bounce one way but the trail would go in the other direction so I’d be riding into the unknown and off the trail constantly while having to readjust the light. Don’t get me wrong, riding in the night by light is very exciting. I’ve been riding these same trails all summer in the day ight. However, when you ride at night, the trail becomes unrecognizable. In many ways it's like riding a new trail for the first time! I love looking back and seeing a whole trail of lights gliding through the forest.
We don’t normally go back to the trailhead, but on this night we decided to retrace our ride and ride up Twisited Pine, back over to Make Believe, and then down to the parking lot. Riding it backwards and in the dark really made for a new trail riding experience. We had a lot of fun. Before the end of our ride we did a hot lap on Coniferous. This is a very easy, smooth, but very winding trail.
We usually all bring some food for the end of the ride where we just talk and catch up with each other, but we decided to change it up a bit this time. We ended up heading over to R.F. McDougalls Pub right under the Hungry Trout, by the Flume Trails in Wilmington. I had only been to the Hungry Trout Restaurant upstairs. I really liked R.F. McDougall’s. It was jam-packed when we got there but they were soon able to find a table large enough for our group and a few others that caught up with us. The food was excellent.I don't usually eat my entire meal but after a great mountain bike ride, I certainly devoured my burger.
Ready to hit the trails? The Whiteface Region is a great place to get close to all the Adirondacks has to offer!
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