Mountain Biking in November!

Going out to the local singletrack in November is just a little crazy most years, in that it's freezing, often snowy, and most moderately sane people have given up mountain biking for the year by then. This weekend, with its 70 degree sunny forecast, made the urge to get at least one last ride in irresistable for myself and some friends.

We headed out to Anderson Park, a nearby short ~5 mile loop of singletrack. It was my first time there; I had thought the closest trail was the longer Burchfield Park trail, so being told there was a closer location was great news. The trail was a good mix of fast and technical - one section had nice burmed curves and fast downhills, one loop a short twisty mix, and the last a longer, up-and-down trail over roots and logs. It was shorter than Burchfield, slower in many sections, and the hills were a tad smaller, but it's a great change of pace.

I brought along the Bridgestone XO-1 instead of my mountain bike to see if it could handle harder offroad adventuring, and it actually performed admirably. I was most concerned about the thin 1.5" tires, road geometry, relatively high 38x24 low end, and moustache handlebars getting in the way, but I shouldn't have worried. The lightweight Bridgestone made it simple to hop over logs and rubble, the handlebars gave me tons of positions for my hands so they didn't get tired, and it was no problem at all accelerating up hill and down dale.

Not that it was perfect. The lower bottom bracket made it difficult getting over the more difficult stunts. The slick tires slipped when I needed traction uphill in the mud, and the narrow tires got sidetracked by roots in the trail at times. Most of this could be fixed by a knobbier set of tires, and altering my riding style a bit. I'm not 100% convinced on losing my mountain bike entirely, especially on the rougher trails like Poto, but riding the XO is a new interesting way to ride these backwoods loops, making me ride a bit more technically instead of going roughshod over each rock and stump.

Also, thanks to Melissa (above) for taking photos. I really need to get a digicam for events like this.