The long shadows of winter have arrived and along with it...days of going to work in the dark and returning home in the dark. The forest is stark and barren and awaiting the arrival of the snow which winter is certain to bring. The winter snow will soon blanket the trails and open up another world of opportunities.I spent several hours on Saturday riding the single speed up in Elm Creek park. The weather was phenomenal and the riding was just as good. After nearly a week and a half off the bike due to illness and lack of motivation it felt wonderful to get back out and work the legs, lungs, and heart.For nearly three hours I literally had the trails to myself with the exception of several hikers. I was astonished that more souls were not out enjoying the weather. Maybe they were on their road bikes. I didn't ride really hard, but steady enough to keep my heart rate at a high enough level to feel as though I was working hard.My mind drifted to thoughts of riding forest roads up on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Where in not for deer hunting season hear in Minnesota I may have found myself up there this past weekend. I'm thankful that even with hunting season in full swing, mtn. bikers still have some safe sanctuaries in which to ride.
Sunday morning found the "Amigos" and myself riding the single track trails up in Elk River. Again...it was another picture perfect day. The trails were in perfect condition and I rode particularly well today. I rode without a lot of the apprehension that I've felt on this trail in the past. I attacked on the open rolling areas, handled the tight stuff better than ever, and even rode through most of the rock gardens and technical downhills. For the life of me I can't believe we didn't ride this gem more often this past summer. I won't make the same mistake next year.My thoughts now turn towards winter, which as we all know will soon be here. Arrowhead 135 is out for this year. The field is full and I've yet to get the Pugsley that I so want, but that is in the works. I'm excited for snow and winter riding, but if this weather pattern continues I will be certain to make the best of it every chance I get.
In the meantime I'll continue to dream about the possibility of Leadville in 2010 and whatever else may lay ahead.